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Better Energy Systems today unveiled the Solio Hybrid1000, the latest addition to the company's expanding collection of easy-to-use renewable energy products that provides portable gadget users with renewable, green energy. The device powers most mobile devices without relying on conventional power sources by combining a high efficiency solar panel with a large capacity integrated Lithium-Ion battery. Housed in a rugged waterproof case, the Hybrid1000 features a built-in output cable as well as a variety of different tips to power a wide array of portable electronics including cellular phones, PDAs, msuic players, digital cameras, and more. The Hybrid1000 is priced at $80 and includes a carabineer clip handle for easy carrying.
Substantiating rumors that Sony is planning to deliver 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, a new FCC filing points to an upcoming Playstation 3 model that sports two USB ports instead of four, and other differences from the currently available 80GB, $599 model. While explicit details like photos and technical specifications were blocked from public view, the filing does discuss various technologies, including Bluetooth, 802.11b/g WiFi, that required FCC certification. We previously reported that, 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, Sony is expected to 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.
Disney today announced that its cellphone service Disney Mobile will shut down this year, marking an end to the relatively short-lived virtual provider. Though the company updated its phones as recently as August with two Samsung models, it revealed that it would begin phasing service out effective today, cutting off the ability to download new content and software. Customers would receive refunds for their phones through a program beginning October 8th, while customers are expected to switch to another provider by November 30th to make sure their numbers are ported over without a service disruption.
Sling Media, the creator of the Slingbox media streamer, has confirmed that it is currently working on a new version of its client software for Research in Motion's BlackBerry cellphones. Slingboxes let owners stream video from their TVs, DVRs or DVD players to laptops or cellphones via the Internet; the number of compatible cellphones is still being updated however, only recently having gained beta support for Symbian phones such as the N95. No date has been suggested for the release of the BlackBerry client.
Panasonic today launched a sweeping change of its Toughbook line in its home country and set the groundwork for future American updates. Known as Let's Note, the series is generally built on Intel's faster Santa Rosa platform and now has 1GB of onboard memory in built-in models with a free slot for expansion; every model also has gigabit Ethernet and card readers with support for large-capacity SDHC cards. Most every system runs Windows Vista Business but can now downgrade to XP Professional for cautious users, Panasonic says.
Roomba maker iRobot has introduced two new machines, the Looj and the ConnectR. The Looj is actually a gutter-cleaning robot, and somewhat resembles a belt sander; its narrow dimensions lets it track through the likes of roof gutters, using an auger to sweep out leaves, dirt and other potential obstructions. The robot can only clean one stretch of gutter at a time, finishing 60 feet in about 10 minutes, but is controllable with a wireless remote that doubles as a handle. The Looj is being sold today for $100.
Marking a departure for the company, Dell has released the SP2008WFP, its first desktop LCD monitor with a built-in webcam. The camera also has an unusually high two-megapixel rating, allowing it to capture stills at 1600x1200, though video is likely to be much smaller. The display itself, measuring 20 inches, has a native 1680x1050 widescreen resolution. Its brightness is a relatively standard 300cd/m2, but it has a high contrast ratio of 2,000:1, and an extremely low response time of 2ms. The viewing angle is said to be 160 degrees.
Palm today used its presentation at the DigitalLife Expo to introduce the Centro, its first non-Treo smartphone. Targeted at users who may never have owned a smartphone before or are looking for something simple, the design is smaller than any of Palm's earlier phones. It also has a new, compact design similar to the Treo 500v that fits more easily into a pocket without sacrificing a full QWERTY keyboard. In spite of the size and its low-cost emphasis, however, it also shares many of the same features as premium models with a 1.3-megapixel camera, 3G-level EVDO Internet access, and a 320x240 touchscreen. The device runs on the PalmOS and ships with a dedicated media player that loads music either from the 64MB of onboard flash or microSD cards up to 4GB, even for protected Windows Media tracks from Yahoo Music and similar stores.
High-profile companies like Apple and Sony may produce as much as a third of their notebooks with advanced LED-backlit displays by next year, according to reported insiders from the LCD panel industry. These companies in particular are expected to replace at least 20 to 30 percent of their notebook lineups with the new technology by 2008 or 2009 at the latest as they seek to improve the displays across more of their existing lines. This includes displays in common sizes such as 14 and 17 inches, the sources claim. The improvement would let both desktop replacement systems and thin-and-light notebooks produce more uniform colors, save power, and reduce their thickness compared to traditional displays with cold-cathode fluorescent (CCFL) backlights.
Toshiba's Japan headquarters has updated its line of Gigabeat media players, now complemented by the V41. The player has 4GB of internal memory, but can expand this with SD or SDHC cards for much greater amounts. SDHC cards may in fact be vital, because one of the player's key functions is streaming 1Seg TV, which can be recorded through a program guide for a total of 20 hours or 99 shows' worth, whichever comes first. Clips are viewed on a 3.5-inch LCD with 260,000 colors.
Verizon Wireless has adopted the USB727, a wireless modem built by Novatel. The device plugs into the USB ports of both Macs and PCs, and provides EVDO Rev. A broadband, allowing download speeds up to 1.4Mbps, with an average of 600Kbps. Uploads are said to average between 500 and 800Kbps. The modem's other main feature is a microSD slot, which allows it to behave as a conventional flash drive, holding up to 4GB depending on the size of the inserted card.
Ahead of the announcement of the One, Gateway product manager Glenn Jystad answered questions from Electronista about the company's new all-in-one PC. The company gave us new insights into the design philosophy behind the One and whether it will stay tied to the US. It also answered one of the most pressing questions in the wake of the One's launch: how the Vista PC would fare against its most obvious competitor, Apple's new aluminum iMac. Read on for a transcript of the interview.
JVC this morning released what it says is the first HD Radio receiver that can be added to any in-car system without swapping out the existing head unit. The KT-HDP1 can graft on to many existing systems and allows owners themselves to setup the radio; a do-it-yourself kit is available as one option along with a kit for listening in the home and a pro kit that ensures a clean installation for most any car layout. When ready, the HDP1 adds both the enhanced digital sound of HD Radio as well as text data from supporting stations, including song data as well as news or weather.
Mio Technology on Thursday contributed its share to the DigitalLife show by releasing two of its GPS mapping units within the US. The 4.3-inch C720t enhances one of the company's most advanced units. Like the original C720, the C720t includes a 2-megapixel camera and not only snaps photos but marks their position to remind users of where a photo was taken or for geotagging expeditions. The new variant adds Traffic Message Channel support that overlays road congestion info and optionally reroutes the trip to avoid significant traffic jams. A three-month subscription comes in the box, according to Mio.
Sony today introduced a third model in its video-capable Walkman line. The A910 series is one of the few media players anywhere that can not only receive TV but play it as well: courtesy of a built-in 1Seg tuner and an electronic programming guide, the A910 can play digital over-the-air broadcasts on its 2.4-inch LCD and encode the shows on the fly as permanent copies. Up to 100 hours of footage can be saved on a 16GB player, Sony says. Direct line-in automatically creates individual audio tracks from a CD player or a similar device. Playback is also special in the A910, Sony adds. For the first time, noise canceling is built into the player itself and will eliminate most background sounds whether watching TV or listening to music.
(Updated with larger photo) Dell today finally took the wraps from the XPS M1730, the replacement for its veteran M1710 gaming notebook. The new 17-inch system confirms many earlier leaks and is the only notebook to include a physics card in the form of AGEIA's mobile PhysX chip. In supporting games, the hardware allows for far more complex physics without a severe performance hit, AGEIA claims. The new XPS is also one of the first to offer NVIDIA's fastest mobile graphics in SLI mode: two 512MB GeForce 8700M GT chipsets are standard on every system and nearly double performance for games in the right conditions. Unlike some notebooks, the 1920x1200 display of the M1730 is also fast and refreshes at 7ms to keep up with action titles.
Sling Media kicked off the DigitalLife Expo in New York with the Slingbox SOLO, a new take on the company's TV streaming hub that drops the price for users who only have a handful of devices but still want features similar to the high-end PRO. The SOLO is one of the first mainstream Slingbox models to offer HD video input, replacing the HDMI of the PRO with component video: the feature lets users stream and control unprotected HD content online, including the Apple TV media hub and upscaling DVD players. Video is broadcast uncompressed at up to VGA (640x480) resolution on the local network and in compressed form across the Internet to computers or cellphones through Sling's longstanding SlingPlayer software.
Complimenting its Media Center Extender announcements, Microsoft on Thursday announced a beta release of Internet TV for its Windows Media Center customers, featuring news from MSNBC, Fox Sport clips, and a variety of other ad-supported content. Expected to go live on on the morning of Sept. 28, 2007, the Redmond-based company said that U.S. users of Windows Vista Home Premium edition and Windows Vista Ultimate edition will find the new beta release of Internet TV with over 100 hours of programming. The service will allow users to enjoy a range of television and video content on their PCs and TV sets without a TV tuner in their PC. The streaming video content will be supported by an advertising platform provided by YuMe and will be available to viewers for free.
In conjunction with Microsoft, Linksys (Cisco) and D-Link on Thursday debuted new Media Center Extender devices to help users access content from their PCs and internet. Designed to compete with Apple's own living room device, Apple TV, the companies partnered with Microsoft to allows users to stream and access content from the internet as well as other video content from the desktop. Linksys unveiled two new digital devices: its Media Center Extender with DVD Player (DMA2200) combines an upscaling DVD player with a dual-band Wireless-N Extender for Windows Media Center, combining Extender for Media Center functionality with DVD playback capabilities in a single device. A smaller form factor Linksys Media Center Extender (DMA2100) offers features of Extender for Windows Media Center in a compact dual-band Wireless-N solution that is ideal for spaces.
Microsoft, Linksys, D-Link, and HP on Thursday offered details about new Extenders for Microsoft Windows Media Center. The Apple TV-like devices, which are expected to be available for purchase this holiday season, will allow easy access to premium cable, high-definition TV, popular video formats including DivX, music, paid movies, photos and more from any TV in the house, with a wired or wireless network connection. In addition, users will be able to pause a recorded show in one room, and then resume it from the same moment in another room. Microsoft also announced that the Extender technology will be incorporated in HP's current line of MediaSmart high-definition televisions and launched a beta test of Windows Media Center Internet TV, which will offer more than 100 hours of ad-supported entertainment from MS Video, including full-length shows, music concerts and movie trailers.
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