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Sony tonight confirmed the launch of its first two mainstream touchscreen Cyber-shot cameras as well as a new, high-zoom camera for dedicated amateurs. The T70 and T200 share an 8-megapixel sensor as well as the completely touch-driven interface of the premium G1 that controls everything from camera settings to drawing over existing photos. The point-and-shoots also mark the first Sony cameras to include a Smile Shutter feature that not only detects faces but waits for a genuine grin before capturing the shot. Each of the widescreen cameras can themselves output a widescreen image to an HDTV through either a component AV cable or Sony's Cyber-shot Station dock.
Microsoft's recently cheapened Xbox 360 Core will also receive its first feature boost since the console was launched in November of 2005, say multiple reports from Europe and those close to Microsoft's Xbox marketing. A new product sheet indicates that the new system would be rechristened the Xbox 360 Arcade and would be pitched to casual gamers looking for games from the Xbox Live Arcade: a 256MB memory card would accompany the bundle preloaded with five popular games from the service, including Pac-Man Championship Edition and Uno. A wireless controller would also replace the wired pack-in model from the current version.
A limited beta has launched for Vlingo, software which enables voice input on mobile phones. When a Vlingo-ready text box appears, users can then select it and speak the text they want out loud, instead of typing it in via a keypad. The software further integrates with existing phone applications, allowing users to do things like compose their text messages via speech, or search for businesses with commands like "pizza restaurants in Boston, Massachusetts."
Vlingo is currently free, but the beta is limited to the latter "FIND" service, which additionally provides maps and contact details. The software is also restricted to select Sprint phones at the moment, but all major American carriers should eventually be supported.
Three regional carriers have just signed exclusive contracts for the iPhone, according to sources speaking with the Financial Times' German paper. The trade publication has reportedly confirmed T-Mobile's own leaks and indicates that T-Mobile has agreed to be the sole provider for the iPhone in Germany; the report also appears to validate earlier claims that Orange and O2 will be responsible for hosting the phone in France and the UK respectively. Terms are purportedly very similar to those signed with AT&T and would have all three carriers share some of their subscription revenues with Apple. This would be a first for Europe as it was for the US, the Times says.
Google's planned shutdown of all purchased and rented videos on its Google Video site has been delayed, the company has announced on its official blog. Though the company had originally planned for access to the videos to be shut down on the 15th and had initially issued refunds only through its own Checkout service, an extension will now let viewers keep access to clips for another six months and should issue a refund directly to their credit cards, allowing them to spend the money elsewhere.
An upcoming lawsuit, scheduled for hearing in September, may already be threatening the basis for the RIAA's case against illegal file sharing. Ray Beckerman, the defendant attorney in Warner v. Cassin, has filed to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the RIAA can no longer use its "making available" argument. The group's view has been that simply by making music visible in peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing programs, a person is guilty of "continuous" copyright infringement, as files can then be downloaded by virtually anyone.
Iomega this afternoon upgraded its mobile storage options with two new external hard drives. Focusing on capacity, the 250GB Silver Series and a similar 200GB model take advantage of recent gains to store as much as a quarter terabyte of data while still keeping up with a host Mac or PC at 5,400RPM. The metallic body is half an inch thick but still ruggedized against minor drops and automatically parks the drive head in the event of a fall, the company says. Iomega bundles either drive with versions of EMC Retrospect Express backup tools for both supported operating systems at a price of $180 for the 200GB disk and $230 for the 250GB version.
Alltel today launched its version of WHERE, a service for hunting down local points of interest. Similar to most dedicated GPS units, a supporting phone with assisted GPS can pinpoint important destinations such as gas stations and hospitals that are within range of the phone. The software can also add customized news feeds to the phone for headlines, weather, and other constantly changing information that displays alongside the location-finding tools.
Relatively young electronics maker Venzero has just unveiled the FREQ, a new spin on its recent designs with an integrated FM transmitter. The addition lets the device beam its audio to a car stereo without using a line-in jack or a special cable. The device also supports FM reception and the company's signature MUSICMARKER feature that records part of a radio stream or a microphone recording to identify a song and allow a direct paid download of the track to a computer when available.
It's now possible to unlock the iPhone for use on other carriers through hardware, according to an online group searching for access controls on the iPhone. While previous method have required the combination of a special SIM card as well as software, the new and currently secretive method allegedly functions by soldering circuit board connections within the iPhone itself. The technique is said to be risky and maintains a "high probability" of rendering the phone inert but allows any SIM card from a GSM-based carrier beyond AT&T to send and receive calls without modifications and while still using the iPhone's original software.
An extremely high-end Bravia SXRD projector is set to release soon from Sony Japan. A successor to the VW50, the VPL-VW60 supports the full range of HD resolutions, including the 24, 50 and 60 framerates of 1080p. It also boasts twin HDMI inputs, and crucially, a massive 35,000:1 contrast ratio -- well in excess of most projectors in the same range. The VW50 can only achieve 15,000:1.
Display maker Planar has released three new widescreen monitors in its PX series generally aimed at professionals. Leading the range is the PX2611W, a 26-inch LCD capable of resolutions up to 1920x1200 and a quick pixel response time of 5ms. It also boasts a DVI-D connection with HDCP support for encrypted movie sources and can integrates a four-port USB 2.0 hub. The stand features 2.2 inches of height motion and a 340-degree swivel.
Micronet today announced its new SP916GK Wireless Broadband Router, the company's latest generation of wireless router for small business and home office users. The Micronet SP916GK enables multiple users to share the internet through a single ADSL or cable modem, and features an embedded DHCP server as well as simplified IP address management functionality. The router incorporates a NAT/firewall to shield an entire LAN from external attacks, and utilizes IEEE 802.11g wireless networking for up to 54Mbps data transfers. The router includes four built-in 10/100Mbps RJ45 ports, provides an easy-to-use URL filter, and offers advanced firewall features to guard against unauthorized access. Micronet's new router operates within a frequency band of 2.400GHz to 2.3835GHz and features ALG for FTP, NetMeeting, VPN pass-through, DDNS, DNS relay, and UPnP. The router is already available (pricing was unavailable).
SMC today began shipping its new series of adapters and routers that meet the draft 2.0 spec for 802.11n wireless, allowing the routers to match the final criteria of the format when it goes live next year. The Barricade WGBR14-N (shown) is reportedly optimized for games, peer-to-peer downloading, and other features that demand high throughput; stream optimization tricks combined with a multiple-antenna MIMO setup ensure low latency even on the wireless network, SMC says. The 802.11n link peaks at 300Mbps and is supplemented by four gigabit Ethernet jacks for even faster connections. SMC adds a hardware firewall with stateful packet inspection. The new Barricade can be administered by any computer with a modern web browser and ships now for $175.
Wal-Mart today opened its MP3 music downloads, giving customers the option of unprotected songs playable on any device rather than the protected Windows Media files that have been the staple of the retailer's website. The initial catalog includes both music from EMI as well as the recently promised Universal music library, which gives customers the option of artists such as 50 Cent and Bon Jovi. Tracks typically sell at nearly the same price as protected versions with individual songs offered for 94 cents each and most albums available for about $9.22.
Lexmark today introduced three new wireless all-in-one printers (site not updated) for small office and home office users that combine wireless connectivity with automatic two-sided printing with easy installation. The Lexmark X6570, Lexmark X7550, and Lexmark X4850 allow users to print wirelessly from anywhere within range of hte network, and allow multiple systems to share the same printer to scan, fax, and access media card slots. Each of the new devices supports automatic two-sided printing, a color LCD for simple stand-alone usage, pigmented Lexmark "evercolor2 ink" that is resistant to water as well as smudging, and a simple guided wireless installation. The LexMark X6570 is priced at $150, while the Lexmark X7550 is available for $200. The all-in-one devices are slated for shipment in September.
LG Mobile on Tuesday has at last formally revealed the KU990, the company's spiritual successor to the Prada. Like the Italian-designed phone, the KU990 is almost entirely driven by a touchscreen with a Flash-based interface. New to the platform, however is a much stronger 5.1-megapixel camera with image stabilization, flash, and a Schneider-Kreuznach lens; the processing hardware is also powerful enough to record video at 120 frames per second, allowing slow-motion capture and reducing blur. A ring around the lens serves as a jog dial that quickly scrubs through video clips.
Toshiba today set a new record for mobile storage with the MK3253GSX, the world's first 2.5-inch drive to reach the 320GB mark. An improved read head and refined magnetic storage allows the drive to spread the storage across just two platters, fitting into a 9.5mm tall casing slim enough for thinner notebooks. In contrast to the previous record 300GB drive from Fujitsu, the 320GB Toshiba model spins at a faster 5,400RPM and is guaranteed to output 759MB per second. The drive also supports sudden drop protection and includes an 8MB memory cache.
Nokia on Tuesday morning launched the 6555. The Finnish company's new clamshell is one of the few designs with a recessed hinge that creates a near-perfect seam between the top and bottom shells when the device is open. This not only adds to the sleek look but is more comfortable to hold than most other phones, Nokia says. The display is also said to be attractive with a full 16 million color, 240x320 LCD that provides a truer picture when watching video stored on microSD cards or capturing images with the built-in (but currently unspecified) camera.
Logitech this morning introduced the Alto Cordless, the latest in its succession of notebook stands. The notebook maker's new model revamps the original Alto by replacing the fixed keyboard with an RF cordless model and a receiver built into the hub. Using the new setup lets users sit the notebook independently from the keyboard for a more comfortable angle without consuming extra ports, Logitech says. A built-in, three-port USB hub also helps keep USB mice, keyboards, and other peripherals attached while only having to plug in a single cable.
Looking to reel in a chunk of the burgeoning but not-yet independently lucrative digital music download business, RealNetworks and Viacom's MTV division are teaming to deliver an online music sales venture that the companies hope will rival Apple's dominant iTunes store. Heralding the end of MTV's "Urge" digital music service, which was launched in tandem with Microsoft, the new store will be promoted heavily on MTV's television channels and apparently carry the same Rhapsody moniker that has been promulgated by RealNetworks. Rhapsody currently charges users a monthly fee starting at $13 to listen to an unlimited number of songs. Like other subscription services, when users stop paying their membership fee for Rhapsody, they can no longer to its stocked music.
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