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Digital Foci will introduce a new version of its Image Moments 8 digital photo album frame at the Decor Expo, held September 7-9, 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. The device lets users display photos on a number of interchangeable picture frames by inserting any digital camera memory card into the Image Moments frame or copying photos to the device's internal memory. It sports an 8-inch digital LCD screen with an 800 x 600 resolution and a 500:1 contrast ratio. Included is a proprietary Adapter Ring design that allows switching of frames and the use of custom frames. There is 256MB of internal memory, allowing storage of up to 1500 photos, and all popular memory cards - CompactFlash, MicroDrive, SD/HC card, MMC, Memory Stick, MS PRO, xD-Picture Card, and MS Duo/MS PRO Duo -- are supported. Image Moments 8 also has a USB slot to support computer connection.
Best Buy's Insignia brand is gaining two new media players, the first from Best Buy with proper names. The Pilot is a 4 to 8GB player, which like the NS-DVxG, features a Bluetooth transmitter for links with various devices. It can play WMV and MPEG-4 video at 30fps, and supports a variety of audio formats, spread between Audible, MP3, OGG, WMA and WAV. Owners can also tune into FM radio, and expand their storage through an SD slot. Battery life is said to reach 25 hours for music playback.
Toshiba today announced two new models in its 1.8-inch HDD line destined for portable media players and ultraportable PCs. The 160GB MK1626GCB matches the Samsung SpinPoint N2 for the highest density in a microdrive and stores its information across just two platters 0.3 inches thick. It also becomes Toshiba's first to run on the new Consumer Electronics ATA (CE-ATA) interface and should be optimized for the disk performance and battery use of handhelds. In practice, the 160GB disk consumes a third less power than the 100GB disk it replaces, the company touts. Data outputs as quickly as 52MB per second.
Following through on threats from late August, Gateway -- which was recently acquired by Acer -- has agreed to sell off its Professional division to MPC Corporation. The deal is hoped to be officially sealed by the end of 2007, and is estimated to be worth $90 million, based on a closing price from September 4th. The Professional division was used to target schools, businesses and government agencies, arranging for special deals and hardware options, such as workstations.
LG's upcoming VX8800 and VX10000 phones may be Verizon's direct answers to the iPhone, according to leaked photos that confirm many more details of the devices. Although not all details are available, the VX8800 (pictured) will be considered a sequel to the new Chocolate slider with a complete touchscreen interface replacing the wheel and touch-sensitive buttons of the earlier model. In many cases, users would be able to place calls, take messages, and play music without ever using the physical numberpad.
A Swedish site has obtained photos and information on five new HP iPAQ handhelds. The focus of the group is the 914 smartphone (right), which has 7.2Mbps HSDPA, along with other highlights such as 802.11b/g, a three-megapixel camera and preloaded copies of Windows Mobile and Google Maps. A 2.5-inch touchscreen is complemented by a QWERTY keyboard. The phone should be released in November for approximately $798 (without a carrier).
The 614 drops the QWERTY layout, but retains essentially everything else, and in fact introduces a built-in GPS receiver. It should be ready in October for the same price as the 914.
Apple today surprised the audience at its "The Beat Goes On" event with a dramatic reduction in price for the iPhone. Effective today, the 8GB model that was previously on sale for $599 will now sell for $399; no word has yet been received about the 4GB model, which is now expected to be phased out in favor of the 8GB version alone. The company did not explain how the company could justify the drop but noted that the cut was intended to be a companion to the iPod touch, which includes most of the same features at $399.
At its special event in San Francisco, Apple today launched its third generation in as many years of the iPod nano. True to an early photo leak, the new model features a larger, 2-inch screen with a 320x240 resolution that supports video playback as well as the high-quality games that first shipped with the fifth-generation iPod; Sudoku, Vortex, and one other game are included out of the box, according to Apple. The design completely eliminates the use of plastic end caps while becoming even thinner than before at 0.25 inches.
Sony today may have unintentionally provided the majority of details about a new high-end model in its Alpha digital SLR series. The A700 would produce 12.24-megapixel shots aided by normal ISO sensitivity up to 3200; a special "expanded" mode will boost ISO up to 6400 in especially dark scenes. Previews on the LCD are also better than most any camera in the class with a 3-inch, 921,000-pixel display that gets closer to the actual image, Sony says. A further unique touch will involve separate CompactFlash and Memory Stick slots, allowing users to either use the industry standard or Sony's own format without blocking either slot.
Showing at the CEDIA 2007 expo, Soundcast Systems has unveiled two new wireless audio products (not pictured), both aimed at custom audio setups. The Universal AudioCast Transmitter is primarily meant to connect to Windows PCs via USB, turning a computer into a music server; in tandem with the appropriate 2.4GHz receiver, users can stream music up to 350 feet away, and control basic functions such as play, pause and track skip. Compatible software includes iTunes, Windows Media Player and more. For non-computer use, the UAT also has an RCA input and an external power supply. A latency switch can direct audio to rear-channel speakers.
Continuing a string of announcements headlining the start of the CEDIA home theater show, Sanyo today released two new portable additions to its LCD projector range. The WXU10 and WXU30 both output at a 1280x800 resolution good for both notebooks and 720p widescreen HD footage, but are light enough at 8 pounds or less to be carried from home to the office. The WXU30 is also one of the first mainstream projectors from Sanyo to make networking an everyday feature with an 802.11g wireless adapter that gives PCs the option of remotely controlling the projector or checking its status, even with WEP wireless encryption in place.
Jerry Shen, the president of ASUS' AOOP Business Group, has revealed some of its plans for the company's Eee ultra-mobile PCs. The first models are scheduled to ship to unidentified markets in the latter half of September, but will initially come with just a 4GB solid-state drive, in contrast to suggestions of storage up to 16GB. System RAM should be capped at 512MB. Any memory upgrades may have to wait until April of next year, when ASUS intends to release a second-generation Eee with several enhancements.
Intel today began shipping its Xeon 7300 series processors, a new class of workstation and server processor designed to cut down on memory lag and improve performance for large tasks, especially with systems that use four or more discrete CPUs. The core design bundles as much as 8MB of L2 cache as the Xeon 5300 series but includes four separate 1,066MHz connections four every complete processor; the change helps each processor communicate quickly between each other and to the main system RAM. Changing this feature dramatically improves performance in the right conditions: managing a database runs 92 percent faster than on a similar Xeon 5300, Intel says.
Mitsubishi today stepped up the quality of its HC projectors through the HC6000, the replacement for its top-end HC5000. The new 3LCD model improves contrast even further to achieve a 13,000:1 ratio -- the same as many better direct-view sets and enough for classic films and space scenes, according to Mitsubishi's claims. Dual HDMI inputs are equally rare and let the projector hook up to more than one 1080p source. The HC6000 uses the latest version of the Hollywood Quality Video chipset to help de-interlace video and upscale lower-resolution content up to a full HD resolution.
Following its initial announcement earlier in the year, Lenovo today provided final details of its ThinkPad Reserve notebook for globetrotting professionals. The ultraportable notebook still comes in a French leather protective shell but is now set to include three years of Executive Support service; a dedicated agent not only guides the customer through the initial setup but is responsible for the notebook's well-being for the life of the system. On-site support is also promised within four hours when the user travels to 20 countries. Systems can be replaced for free overnight in the event of a complete failure, Lenovo says. Distance support is provided 24x7 over the phone, and online through tapping a dedicated button on the notebook.
InFocus today gave word of its new Work Big IN38 projector built with notebook-based presentations in mind. The DLP-based unit is portable enough to be carried in its own case but casts a much brighter image than most projectors, producing 3,500 lumens versus the 2,000 of most models, and reaching a high 2,000:1 contrast ratio. Presenters also have the choice of several high-resolution inputs: adapters for the specialized M1 port can attach a DVI-based computer or an extra component link, while native component and VGA inputs handle most other sources. The display tops out at 1024x768 but accepts up to 1280x1024 from computers and 1080i from TV feeds with adjustments for widescreen pictures.
LG on Wednesday kicked off the advent of the CEDIA entertainment show with the BH200, the second generation of its Super Blu Player that plays both Blu-Ray and HD DVD movies from the same device. The overhaul gives the player a much-needed upgrade to feature support for either disc standard: HD DVD now picks up the missing HDi interactive features, while the Blu-Ray half of the player adds the support for just-introduced interactive features that use Java, such as live storyboards. The Ethernet connection onboard the BH200 is also usable by HD DVD right away for Internet features and will be used by Blu-Ray once BD-Live titles reach shops, LG says.
Microsoft has Tuesday released Silverlight 1.0, its cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering rich user experiences on the Web. Designed to compete with the nearly ubiquitous Adobe Flash, the platform leverages Windows Media Technologies to provide rich Web audio and video streaming and playback. In addition, Microsoft also promised to work with Novell Inc. to deliver Silverlight support for Linux and rolled out a host of partner initiatives -- ranging from content delivery networks to design agencies to complete solution providers -- to help grow the adoption of the fledgling technology. Microsoft said that the Silverlight Partner Initiative has already signed up more than 35 companies to support Silverlight and take advantage of marketing and technical benefits offered by the software-giant.
NEC on Wednesday revamped its PlasmaSync Residential line of TVs for those building specialized home theater setups. The 42XC10, 50XC10, and 60XC10 bring 42-, 50-, and 60-inch screens with higher (though unlisted) contrast ratios that generate deeper blacks as well as a new, brushed-metal bezel which is thin enough to fit in many in-wall installations and can swap to black panels to match certain rooms. Pro TV calibrators can both tune the normal daytime picture and set up a separate image setting for the night.
Sony today launched a major update to its LocationFree TV sharing hubs: the Home HD (also known as the LF-W1HD) compresses video into the much more efficient H.264 video format to fit HD video signals as large as 1080i on local 802.11a or 802.11g wireless networks; it also includes a tuner that decodes video from Blu-Ray recorders and DVRs without requiring the hardware built into the TV itself. The Home HD model is the first to provide HDMI output from the receiver for a single linkup of both audio and video to most HDTV sets.
One day before Apple is expected to introduce new iPods at a special event in San Francisco ("The Beat Goes On"), Microsoft has announced that it is dropping the price of the 30GB Zune music player to $200. A posting to Microsoft's Zune Insider blog reads "Some of you may have already heard, but tomorrow we're dropping the suggested retail price for Zune to $199. It's part of the normal product lifecycle, something we've had on the books for months. We just got some research back and customer satisfaction with the 30GB device is really high (around 94%) and we expect even more consumers will now want to discover the Zune experience at the new lower price."
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