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Pentax on Wednesday announced two digital compact cameras including the 8-megapixel Optio Z10 with a 7X optical zoom lens and the small, stylish 10.0 megapixels Optio S10 (pictured at right). The Pentax Optio Z10 offers a 7X optical zoom lens, the highest magnification among current Pentax compact digital camera models. The camera is designed with a refraction lens system so the lens never protrudes from the camera while zooming; it covers a broad range, from wide-angle to telephoto zoom, and offers an ultra high-magnification of up to approximately 35.7X when combined with digital zoom. Delivering 8.0 megapixel resolution, the Optio Z10 also features high speed detection time Face Recognition for improved portraits and digital Shake Reduction that allows ISO to 3200 to capture sharper images in low light settings. The sleek, stylish Pentax Optio Z10 body design also features a sliding lens cover for extra protection that also operates the on/off camera setting.
Panasonic on Wednesday announced that it had begun shipping its LIFI HDTV sets, becoming one of the few direct competitors to Sony's SXRD line. The LIFI system at the heart of the new rear projectors' names is meant to overcome the longevity and performance problems of past sets, the company says: by switching to an electrode-free lamp, the screens avoid premature lamp replacements and supplies a wider range of warmer colors, including reds and greens. Startup time is also cut dramatically from a full minute to just 15 seconds.
Intel plans to release a full 11 new Penryn processors in 2008, according to reports. Five of them will ship in the first quarter, with core speeds between 2.1 and 2.8GHz; chips rated at 2.5GHz and up will get a 6MB L2 cache, while the remainder will have 3MB caches.
The second quarter should see three more processors, coinciding with the new Montevina platform. These units will also have 6MB L2s, but with speeds between 2.53 and 3.06GHz, and a faster bus rated at 1.066GHz. Power consumption should be a relatively moderate 35W.
HTC's angled-keyboard TyTN II handset may arrive in Canada at the same time as its American counterpart the AT&T Tilt, Rogers Wireless has inadvertently revealed. The northern carrier has inadvertently posted a reference to the smartphone's original HTC Kaiser codename in its mobile games section, confirming the provider's intent to carry the phone on its network without a custom codename. Rogers currently offers the original TyTN without any special changes.
Images and specifications have filtered out for Dell's next-generation XPS system, representing the peak performance of the builder's lineup. Key to the XPS 420 is the unusual addition of the Xcelerator, a dedicated transcoding processor that converts to MPEG-4. It is claimed that when encoding a two-hour HD movie, the Xcelerator halves the amount of time required, and also utilizes less CPU power.
Options for the processor include Core 2 Duo, Extreme and Quad chipsets, with an L2 cache as large as 8MB. The motherboard is an X38 Express with up to 8GB of DDR2 800 RAM, and ports available include eSATA, front and rear FireWire connections, and 10 USB ports split between front, rear and inside. SATA II architecture supports RAID 0 and 1 configurations.
Nokia's just-announced 6555 clamshell has been planned for an AT&T launch from the outset, according to a pair of FCC filings. One recent entry shows the device with clear AT&T branding on the shell, indicating plans to bring the 2-megapixel phone to the rebranded carrier. An update to a April filing has also revealed official product shots with the previous Cingular logo, however, revealing that the American carrier has intended to carry the phone for months in advance. Both filings appear to confirm beliefs that the 6555's HSDPA Internet access would be useful in the US, a rarity for most Nokia phones in the country.
Sony Europe today revealed two additions to its PlayStation consoles that transform them into general-purpose devices. The PlayTV (pictured) is the first official TV tuner for the PS3 and incorporates dual DVB-T tuners that can either record digital Freeview broadcasts of two shows or play one and record the other; the system supports the full performance of the PS3 and will record and output in 1080p if the show and the TV support them, Sony says. A software update for PlayTV brings a 7-day programming guide to streamline the process, and owners who also have a PSP can play or queue shows from the Internet and transfer downscaled versions of shows to a Memory Stick over USB.
As promised, Intel has raised the ceiling for its mobile Core 2 Extreme processors, announcing widespread availability of the X7900 (not pictured). The processor was actually first sold several weeks ago to Apple, which has since been installing the CPU in high-end versions of its new iMac.
The 7900 has a 4MB L2 cache, and uses an 800MHz front-side bus, an upgrade originally seen in Intel's Santa Rosa platform. Like the X7800 though, the thermal design power of the new chipset is rated at 44W, which may require special cooling. Intel is now selling trays to builders at a cost of $851 per chip. [via TG Daily]
Google's sub-brand YouTube today revealed that it has begun testing ads accompanying its videos, marking the first time since YouTube's founding that the company has relied on video advertising rather than static images or content deals to pay for its costs. Rather than embed the ads themselves into users' clips, the new technique overlays a small Flash ad at the bottom of the segment. Users can either click and momentarily interrupt the intended video to view the ad or let the overlay disappear completely within 10 seconds.
Kensington has unveiled a new FM transmitter (site not updated) designed to make driving while listening to music a little safer. The company's Auto Kit holds an iPod in a mount that attaches to a window or the dashboard, allowing drivers to select tracks without taking their eyes off the road. The accessory allows iPod owners to play their favorite tracks directly from the portable media player in the car through the existing stereo by broadcasting the audio a short distance to the vehicle's antenna. Music is transmitted over any available FM frequency as the Auto Kit charges an iPod via the vehicle's cigarette lighter. Kensington's Auto Kit is available for $120, and works with any dockable iPod model.
A "world record" Wi-Fi link has been established off the coast of Italy, two groups claim. Ubiquity Networks, a wireless electronics company, and the Italian Center for Radio Activities (CISAR) say they have established a 5GHz link between Sardinia Island and central Italy, for a total distance of 188.89 miles. Achieving the connection required a combination of Ubiquity radio modules and 35dBi parabolic dish antennas, producing a maximum bandwidth of 5Mbps.
Samsung today launched its highest-contrast LCD TVs to date through its new F81 series sets. While based on the same wineglass-shaped Bordeaux design as most of the firm's 2007 sets, the new 40- and 46-inch LCDs boost the dynamic contrast ratio to as high as 25,000:1 and can display truly dark scenes without significantly dulling the brighter portions or generating noise. Both of the TVs bring with them native 1080p24 playback to reduce judder in movies and a System Link option that connects to the Internet for online information.
Toshiba has announced the development of three new SDHC cards, due in the next several months. Most prominent is what the company calls the world's first 32GB card, finally achieving the maximum capacity of the format. SDHC sizes have typically been limited to 4 or 8GB. A lesser, 16GB card is also in the works, and users of mobile phones will be able to get an 8GB microSDHC card. Crucially, Toshiba has chosen to make the cards Class 4 (4MB/s) models, unlike many first-wave cards which have defaulted to Class 2. The 16GB Toshiba card should ship worldwide in October, with the 32GB and 8GB cards arriving in January 2008.
Sharp today sought to prove that LCD TV technology could still rival future OLED displays by revealing a prototype AQUOS set that would overcome many of the setbacks of today's screens. Despite a 52-inch panel, the TV's advanced backlighting and panel chipset would slim the display to just 1.1 inches at its thickest point at a weight of 55 pounds -- letting buyers set the TV flush against a wall or counter where it would be impossible today. Color accuracy in the future screen will also increase, Sharp says: the screen would cover 150% of NTSC television's color gamut and would provide a 100,000:1 contrast ratio far better than any existing TV set. Even so, power consumption would actually decrease to 140 kilowatt-hours, Sharp claims.
Bexy has unveiled its iMirror wireless remote control docking station that displays, controls, and plays iPod music as well as video while connected to entertainment systems. The iMirror is designed to serve as the center for a music and video home entertainment system, allowing users to remotely navigate and control all iPod music/video via the iMirror's wireless remote control and LCD display. The device automatically loads all iPod title information into the wireless remote upon initial docking in a few seconds, and provides real-time status from up to 150-feet from the base, according to Bexy. iMirror's docking station charges most dockable iPod models, and comes with a set of cable connections for playing an iPod through a big screen TV as well as a stereo. The device features S-Video, RCA stereo audio/video, and line audio mini-stereo connectivity as well as earphone output. A mini USB port also allows users to sync with iTunes on a PC. The iMirror BR100 is available for $150, and will hit store shelves across the U.S. in September.
In advance of next week's IFA expo in Berlin, Samsung today provided a glimpse of the VP-HMX10. The camcorder is the first compact HD model from Samsung and is only slightly larger than the barrel that holds the 10X optical zoom lens. The company also seeks to break away from the trend towards interlaced 1080 shooting by offering 720p recording in its place, eliminating visual artifacts and the need for de-interlacing in a video editor. The camera records in the efficient AVCHD (H.264) format that provides ample recording time on 4GB of internal flash memory rather than requiring a larger hard drive; an SDHC slot provides room for at least an extra 8GB of storage.
A single photo today surfaced of what is rumored to be the third-generation iPod nano. The allgeded image appears to show a major revision of the flash-based player that widens but also shortens the device, allowing for a larger screen better suited to movies without boosting the overall size. The rumored unit would share the same miniature click wheel as the current iPod nano but would have tapered sides similar to the fifth-generation iPod. Aluminum would likely make up at least the front face of each device, with Apple switching to more muted colors such as pale green and wine red.
Sprint today became the first carrier in North America to ship the RAZR2 V9m, carrying the phone through its online store. As revealed in the provider's initial announcement, the uniquely blue-tinted phone shares the 2-megapixel camera, external touch display, and EVDO broadband of the reference model but taps into Sprint's music store Internet streaming radio and TV, and the ability to serve as a modem over Bluetooth or USB. Sprint offers its RAZR2 with a 256MB microSD card for $250 with a two-year contract or $400 without any obligation.
Epson has introduced a new intermediate step to its photo scanners, the V500. The major difference is the addition of the company's new ReadyScan LED technology, which is said to completely eliminate warm-up delays both when turning the unit on, and when switching between film and reflective modes. The LED also switches between white and blue colors for positive and negative film, and turns off completely when the scanner enters standby mode.
Microsoft this morning resurrected its SideWinder line of gaming peripherals with the advent of the simply-titled SideWinder Mouse. Hoping to take back share from its rival Logitech, the Redmond-based company's mouse inculdes similar sensitivity switching between 400 and 2000 DPI, adjustable weights, and five customizable button macros. The SideWinder, however, adds the first ever LCD on a mouse and provides both the exact DPI setting and macro recording images to reduce on-screen clutter. A Quick Launch button at the back of the mouse also triggers the Games Explorer pane for Windows Vista users, letting them start playing sooner.
iRobot on Wednesday revealed the Roomba 500 series, a major overhaul of the company's core line of vacuuming robots. Upgrades to the vacuum system itself have effectively doubled its performance and reduce the likelihood that the Roomba will need to cover a surface a second time. The chassis is also sturdier and can more easily handle thick carpets and tangled cords. Every model can get started earlier courtesy of a one-button start, holds more waste, and has the option of several faceplates that help the Roomba fit into the decor of a given room.
Logitech on Wednesday launched its G51 surround sound audio system for computers. The 155-watt system is inspired by the needs of gamers and fills all 5 satellites plus the 5-inch subwoofer with sound regardless of the source. Special matrix modes for games and music turn any stereo signal into 5.1-channel audio; Logitech's custom FDD technology also produces an even sound stage that avoids the bias of some systems. Appearances are just as distinctive through a custom skinning method that lets users wrap the satellites with their own artwork.
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