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Logitech pitches the V470 ($50) as a simple alternative to the trackpad for heavy-duty notebook users who cannot guarantee an ideal mousing surface: courtesy of laser tracking, the mouse is unlikely to freeze up on overly uniform surface as with many optical mice, which are still standard in the notebook realm. However, it remains to be seen whether Logitech has remedied the interference issues that sometimes plague Bluetooth mice -- and whether the market is ready for a basic Bluetooth laser mouse.
Club and music/electronics brand Ministry of Sound has begun selling a new iPod stereo system, the MOSMC1319P. The highlight of course is a dock, which feeds iPod audio to two, 10W RMS speakers, detached from the body of the main deck. The system can also play all major CD formats, complete with 30-track programming, and stream radio using a digital FM/MW PLL tuner with 40 presets. A secondary USB port allows non-iPod devices to be connected. The Ministry selling 1319Ps for £90 ($182), but there is no indication as to which iPods are supported (other than 5G video). [via Shiny Shiny]
Both Google and Microsoft are seriously considering investing in social networking site Facebook, according to an unverified claim from the Wall Street Journal. The business publication cites unnamed sources who say that either company would like to obtain a small controlling stake in the Palo Alto-based web firm, offering them partial control over the site's direction as well as significantly boosting Facebook's financial value. Microsoft's stake would be worth between $300 to $500 million and could boost the overall value to at least $10 billion, say the sources. None of the companies involved have volunteered to comment, and the report alleges that Facebook may decline either offer to maintain its full independence.
Graphics maker Nvidia is tomorrow expected to launch a new series of embedded chips, a move which will put it in direct competition with Intel, says Reuters. Nvidia currently owns 62 percent of the embedded market linked with AMD processors, but less than one percent of the Intel market; Nvidia hopes to challenge this with new Intel-ready processors, specifically the GeForce 7050, 7150, and non-GS 7100.
These chips should in theory have as much power as some low-cost dedicated cards, but come in desktop computers priced between $400 and $600. Supported Intel CPUs will include the Pentium, Celeron and Core 2 lines, plus the Penryn processors due on November 12th. No costs or computer builders have been mentioned.
New York State today revealed that it was investigating Facebook over privacy concerns, alleging that the social website is not doing enough to shield contact information and other details of users. A study conducted by the state government suggests that the company's claims of security appear to be contradicted by actual results, with information sometimes exposed to the public. Complaints from Facebook members about privacy have also sometimes gone unheeded, according to state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. In some cases, sample accounts posing as teenagers or children were approached by sexual predators, he noted. Facebook has not commented on the claims but said it would respond soon.
Luxury cellphone maker Vertu has introduced another Ferrari phone, likewise intended to promote the car company's 60th anniversary. The Ascent Ferrari 60 is based on the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, and comes preloaded with both ringtones and wallpapers of the car; to further the effect, it is built with a titanium shell, and has a leather back made of the same material as a Ferrari seat. Detail extends down to the screws, which are the same Philips type used in Ferraris.
Mio today announced that it would bring the C320 to the US, offering one of the least expensive widescreen GPS units in the country. The 4.3-inch touchscreen should allow even more cost-conscious drivers to navigate while using a split-screen view that displays detailed turn data or location info alongside the conventional map. The American version includes 1GB of built-in flash storage with full maps of all 50 states and 1.7 million points of interest. An SD card slot provides additional room for maps of Canada and other destinations. Battery life is rated at a longer than average 4.5 hours.
(Updated with launch info) Samsung today officially confirmed its collaboration with Armani to produce a new cellphone that reflects the fashion designer's sense of style. Simply called the Armani-Samsung luxury mobile phone but known internally as the P520, the device is a direct challenge to both the iPhone and LG's Prada phone with the same emphasis on a touch-driven interface. The 2.6-inch display's only physical controls on its front face are call answer and end buttons; dialing, contacts, and other data are handled exclusively through software. The black, chrome-ringed look is destined to "achieve an iconic status," Samsung claims.
Without an official announcement, Sony today launched its AR600 series desktop replacement notebooks. The new 17-inch system improves performance while also improving the AR's usefulness as a complete TV replacement. A new version now ships with a CableCARD tuner, giving users the option of tuning into encrypted cable HDTV shows. All models also provide the room to record this content: dual 160GB hard drives provide room for hours of HD video without impacting regular computer use. Standard GeForce 8M-series video further helps the new VAIO decode HD video almost entirely in hardware rather than software that taxes the CPU and affects battery life.
Previously the subject of informed speculation, Samsung has now confirmed the existence of the i550 GPS phone. Aside from a built-in GPS receiver, its main highlight is likely to be its 3.2-megapixel camera, which is equipped with both flash and autofocus. The phone is also capable of EDGE and UMTS/HSDPA broadband, and connects locally via Bluetooth 2.0 or a USB 2.0 cable.
Music is another important focus, as the phone has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as a built-in FM tuner. Digital music should be storable in 150MB of internal memory, which can be augmented by microSD cards. The i550 is expected to ship in November; a North American release is unlikely however, as the phone's broadband operates in the wrong frequency. [via Unwired View]
Sprint's "youth" brand, Boost Mobile, has agreed to adopt the W385 by Motorola. More crucial may be the phone's inclusion in Boost's Unlimited plan, which while restricted to sections of California and Texas, prices unlimited local and national calls at $45-55. Currently only two phones are eligible for Unlimited, the W385 among them. Both models have a free first month of calling.
The W385 includes hardware features such as Bluetooth, GPS and a VGA camera, but benefits mainly from Boost software such as the Hookt chatroom client, and loopt, a tool which locates friends as well as shares photos and events. The phone is on sale now for $130.
Virgin today announced that its online music store Virgin Digital is to shut down over the course of the next few weeks, signifying the end to the relatively short-lived attempt to compete in the direct download arena. While the company has already phased out its US service last year in a deal that saw customers transferred to Napster, UK customers will now have until September 28th to access the site without a subscription and will see a complete shutdown by October 19th. Anyone with a subscription in effect for longer than a month will receive a refund, though song credits will expire at the store if left unused, Virgin said.
BenQ on Monday released the T800, an upgrade to one of its most advanced cameras. The new compact is said to be the slimmest 8-megapixel camera with a touchscreen at 14.7mm (0.59 inches) deep, and uses its 3-inch display to control most editing functions as well as features that would be impossible with a traditional directional pad, such as painting or writing over top of an image. Also rare is the inclusion of two special ISO sensitivity modes for different shots. Where native shots can be taken up to ISO 1600, an ISO 2000 boost engages for a special portait mode. An ISO 6400 mode is also available for shooting movies in low light without compromising the native 640x480 MPEG-4 format.
Sony this morning released a trio of Xplod head-end units for cars that emphasize portable devices as much as CDs for audio. The new CDX-GT models all optionally support the iPod as well as digital radio through an HD Radio tuner or a satellite receiver. With a special iPod connector cable, most dockable iPods can connect directly to the stereo and use the 13-line LED display to control and play the Apple jukebox while charging it at the same time. A front auxiliary input provides a line-in connection for just about any music player with a headphone jack, Sony adds.
MySpace today announced a new, free version of its social networking site, dubbed MySpace Mobile Web. The service allows almost any cellphone with a web browser to access the majority of the features of MySpace without requiring the paid clients and special software that are often needed to use the service on the road. Users can send or receive messages, handle requests, and update their blogs; the entire service is kept minimal and can even disable profile pictures or other images when bandwidth is too much of a concern, MySpace says.
The One Laptop Per Child project today hoped to jumpstart the growth of its XO notebook through the Give 1 Get 1 program, a new effort that brings the portable to North America for the first time. The limited-run deal lets Americans and Canadians buy one of the systems for themselves while also contributing to the non-profit effort: an identical system is sent to a developing country and replaces one of the systems that would otherwise be paid for by the OLPC team itself. Both systems share the same ruggedized chassis, mesh-based wireless networking, and support for power through a hand crank or solar power. The Linux operating system and integrated video camera also make it as useful for chat or eBook reading as it is for learning, the OLPC group says.
T-Mobile today launched the BlackBerry 8320, RIM's enhanced Wi-Fi version of the Curve. The 802.11g wireless support allows it to both connect to the Internet without a potentially costly EDGE cellular connection, but also to tap into the company's HotSpot@Home service. The 8320's support of Unlicensed Mobile Access allows users to make calls for free at home or while at a public access point without consuming service plan minutes; users can even wander back on to the cellular network mid-call or vice versa once at home. T-Mobile's own version supports the company's myFaves support for calling any one of five friends for free regardless of their carrier.
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