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Altec Lansing, a division of Plantronics, has unveiled a new line of Bluetooth wireless and corded speaker systems designed for use with MP3 enabled mobile phones, iPods, laptops and other portable digital devices. The company also introduced a set of speakers designed to attach to desktop flat-panel displays. The iMT521 SoundBlade Stereo Bluetooth Speaker features dual 2" full-range high output speakers and full stereo Bluetooth v.2 for wireless connectivity with most A2DP stereo Bluetooth mobile phones and laptops. It also comes equipped with AVRCP for two-way remote volume, mute and track forward/back controls from a cellular handset. Also included are a built-in echo-canceling microphone for wireless speakerphone capability. It supports both AC and battery (AA) power. The iMT521 SoundBlade will be available in November 2007 at $130.
We're beginning to get more glimpses of the Palm Treo 500, which carries the code name "Gandolf." As previously reported, the metal-accented smartphone will come in more than just the white, Windows Mobile 6 version shown in the past: a modified version of the Palm-created Garnet OS stripped of touchscreen support will provide an alternative for those who want different software. The unit will purportedly feature 3G wireless, a 240×320 screen, Micro-SD expansion, a 2.0 megapixel camera, and Bluetooth v2.0. [Image courtesy of WMExperts]
Japan's Mitac is preparing two variants of the same basic GPS design, to be released on September 26th. Both the C523 and C525 Mio DigiWalkers have 4.3-inch screens, and come with 2GB of ROM, preloaded with map data. As normal, an SD slot allows expansion; atypical is a broader range of supported video formats, including 3GP and QuickTime, as well as ASF, AVI, MP4 and WMV. Supported audio types include MP3, WAV and WMA, though it cannot play DRM-locked tracks.
Sony BMG and Universal Music today fought back against declining sales of physical CDs with the concept of the "ringle." The album would include both the music of a traditional single, such as the main track and as many as two B-sides, as well as a ringtone edition of the song ready to use with a cellphone. Special deals will be in place to grant access to the ringtone when the CD is put into an Internet-connected computer. Prices would still be roughly in line with retail singles at between $6 and $7 each.
An anonymous source has suggested that Verizon Wireless will soon play host to the U470, a new phone from Samsung. Somewhat resembling the Ultra F200, the 470 is said to be extremely tall when opened, and have an unusual scrollwheel similar to knobs on high-end stereos. While its display is limited to 128x200, specifications suggest it will have a camera and a microSD slot, as well as stereo Bluetooth and new FlashUI themes. If real, the phone is expected to debut sometime next year. [via phoneArena]
Wyse today put a unique spin on its thin client PCs with the introduction of the X90 line of notebooks. In sharp contrast to almost any other notebook, the new 12.1-inch portables have no general storage of their own; the only local storage is a 512MB flash chip that stores an embedded version of Windows XP, with all information coming from a virtual environment provided across the Internet or a local network; Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or cellular broadband make this simple, Wyse says. The systems also break from tradition with a 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage Via C7M processor that offers enough performance for streaming video. The capability lets the system run as though it had all the capabilities of most full systems without the fear of a security risk if the system is lost or stolen, Wyse says.
Pre-orders have begun for the PRS505SC, Sony's latest entry into the young realm of e-book readers. It uses a six-inch, four-tone e-ink display, one said to be powerful enough that it can be read in broad daylight. An internal battery can handle up to 7,500 page turns on a single charge, and internal memory allows it to store up to 160 books, a number which can be expanded through SD and Memory Stick Duo cards. One of the primary purposes of the cards however is loading miscellaneous media files, including AAC and MP3 audio, PDF and Word documents, and a collection of image formats.
Plantronics on Monday rolled out a pair of Bluetooth headsets it hopes will sway cellphone users, particularly those who juggle both calls and music. The Voyager 855 is claimed as the first to be convertible between mono and stereo while also offering noise reduction. A second earpiece on a cableprovides full stereo sound for cellphones and other devices that support the A2DP standard for wireless stereo sound; detaching the cable reverts the headset to mono when the portability outweighs the passive noise canceling and musical advantages of the stereo attachment, Plantronics says. Leaving the stereo portion attached enables the AVRCP standard for remote controlling basic music functions over the wireless link.
Demand for Apple products could be preventing mainboard makers from getting the flash memory they need for business, says a report from anonymous industry sources in Taiwan. Two higher-profile manufacturers of NOR flash memory, Spansion and SST, are said to have had their entire flash memory capacities filled with orders from Apple. Factories from Macronix and Winbond that are set to make the chips themselves will run at peak levels for "months" as a result, according to the claims. No definite end to the production increase is in sight and is expected to benefit companies that have recently increased their production levels, such as Macronix.
IOGEAR today unveiled its Bluetooth Laser Mouse. The new mouse is usable up to 33 feet away via Bluetooth technology and functions on almost any surface via a VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser) light source. IOGEAR's latest device is covered with a Titanium Dioxide and Silver nano-particle compound that decreases the ability of bacteria to survive on its surface, according to the company, which deactivate enzymes and proteins of bacteria that would have otherwise survived on the accessory. The mouse boasts 1600dpi resolution, and is plug-and-play compliant. The Bluetooth Laser Mouse is available for $80 and is backed by IOGEAR's 3-year warranty.
Sony is planning a new, relatively low-cost Playstation 3 designed specifically to tackle the price gap between the Blu-Ray console and Microsoft's $350 Xbox 360, according to an unverified report from a historically reliable source at Ars Technica. In addition to an expected price cut that would bring the new 80GB PS3 down from $600 to $500 once existing supplies of the 60GB are exhausted, the console maker would release a 40GB version for $400 -- the lowest price yet for the system and a $100 price difference versus the launch console of November 2006. Either the 80GB model or both would also come packed with a Blu-Ray copy of Spider-Man 3 as an incentive, the leak claims.
Korea has begun receiving the XNOTE E200, LG's latest laptop. A 12.1-inch model, its most notable feature is the inclusion of 256MB of flash storage, used to improve boot speed and program loading. Files are normally kept on a 120GB hard disk. The system is equipped with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of RAM, and has other notable touches such as an 800MHz front-side bus, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, and an HDMI connection for full 1080p support. More mundane features include three USB ports and a Radeon X1250 video card. The E200 is on sale for approximately 1,400,000 won ($1,492). [via AVING]
The Japanese division of Sharp is releasing three new AQUOS D LCD panels. While all of them are 1080p-capable, their most important contribution may be a 120Hz refresh rate, usually seen only on higher-end TVs. Faster refresh is both easier on the eyes and more accurate in scenes of rapid motion. Each set also has three HDMI inputs, along with DVI-I, Ethernet and RS232C connections. Brightness is being rated at 450cd/m2, with a contrast ratio of 2,000:1; in practicality however, the contrast may be closer to 900:1. The 32-, 37- and 42-inch sets should ship on October 10th for 260,000 ($2,289), 300,000 ($2,642) and 370,000 ($3,258) yen. [via Impress Watch]
The American division of Enermax has announced a new line of hard drive enclosures, the Jazz series (not pictured). A predominant feature of the enclosures is a "zero screw" design, allowing onwers of 3.5-inch models to quickly insert or remove hard drives. The units also have aluminum bodies and "waved" mesh covers, which should act to better dissipate heat. Extra conveniences include acrylic stands and three-color LED indicators. The 3.5-inch enclosures support either eSATA ($65) or SATA-to-USB ($55) connections; a 2.5-inch enclousre ($25) only supports SATA, but comes with a water-resistant travel bag. The Jazz line should begin shipping in early October from sites such as Newegg and ZipZoomfly.
Samsung today began shipping a new 2.5-inch, 64GB solid-state drive, becoming one of the first to ship a high capacity flash drive for notebooks in the US. The capacity doubles the 32GB of previous drives and gives owners the option of installing much more software while taking advantage of the greatly improved loading times and battery life of solid-state drives. It also produces very little noise and should be shockproof, Samsung says. The Serial ATA connection helps to both maximize the bandwidth available to the drive and let the drive drop into almost any modern notebook to replace traditional rotating hard disks.
iLuv has begun shipping its i707 FM transmitter for Apple's new iPod touch. The device is designed to complement the design of Apple's newest iPod, and integrates into most vehicle dashboards while running from an adjustable arm that plugs into the cigarette lighter, according to TechDigest.tv. iLuv's i707 FM transmitter provides powerful short range transmission while blocking interference from other radio sources, broadcasting the iPod's tracks over FM radio waves to the vehicle's built-in FM stereo. The company boasts near CD quality playback, and is selling the new transmitter for around $40.
OQO today launched an upgrade of its model 02 UMPC, improving its speed and storage while also making the system more accessible. The 5-inch handheld now runs on up to a 1.6GHz Via C7M mobile chip, bolstering its performance in Windows Vista on the top model. Every model gets an increase in storage with a base model now climbing from 30GB to 40GB and the top versions climbing from 60GB to 80GB. A third option of a solid-state drive gives owners 32GB of flash storage that greatly reduces loading times and renders the system virtually skip-proof in the event of a fall.
AMD on Monday renewed its challenge to Intel with the advent of the Quad-Core Opteron, the first-ever true four-core processor based on the x86 platform and a design the chipmaker says is the most advanced of its kind. Unlike Intel's Xeon 5300 series, which grafts together two dual-core CPUs, the new Opteron is based on a real quad-core design with direct connections between each of the individual chips. This prevents cores from having to travel across the much slower system bus to share data and greatly improves performance in situations where more than two cores have to share work, AMD says. Each full processor also shares a 2MB L3 cache -- a technology just reintroduced to AMD chips -- and as many as three HyperTransport links that provide a quick link of up to 8GB per second between the processor and different devices on the mainboard. Overall performance has jumped by as much as 50 percent in floating-point and integer math compared to the best Opterons and Intel's Xeons even with a lower clock speed, AMD claims.
After weeks of built-up anticipation, Sony today officially announced its Rolly music player. As suggested by a recent teaser video and its own name, the Rolly is designed to move on the floor while it plays; listeners can either let the device adapt its movement to the beat, or use a motion palette editor to customize a particular routine and share it with others on the Internet. The football-shaped player also lights up with multiple colors and swings either of its arms to accompany the music. Movement can be turned off entirely for a desk or other small space, says Sony.
SanDisk today announced its final shipping version of the Sansa View, the flash memory maker's first video-oriented media player. Following several months after the company scrapped the old model, the new version is aimed at the same audience as the third-generation iPod nano. Though it boasts one of the largest screens for a pocketable player at 2.4 inches, the device is just 8.8mm (0.35 inches) thick -- as thin as a pencil, SanDisk says. Unlike the Apple player which has received similar comparisons, however, the View adds an FM tuner with 20 presets and a voice recorder.
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