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Olympus has officially taken wraps off the E-3, its new flagship digital SLR, which replaces the E-1 DSLR. Image quality is rooted in a 10-megapixel Live MOS image sensor with "TruePic III" digital processing and in-body mechanical image stabilization, while Olympus claims 5 frames-per-second continuous shooting, and 1/8000 second top shutter speed. Combined with the Zuiko Digital Specific SWD 12-60mm (24-120mm Equivalent) Lens (priced at $1000), Olympus claims the E-3 delivers the industry's fastest AutoFocus speeds. Image preview is accomplished via a dual-axis swivel 2.5-inch LCD with real-time image monitoring of white balance and exposure. Olympus also claims that the E-3's sealed magnesium alloy chassis is completely splash-proof and dust-proof and that the shutter mechanism will last for 150,000 exposures. The camera accepts both CompactFlash Type I & II, UDMA, Microdrives and xD-Picture Cards.
Boosting its audio lineup in time for the holidays, Sony Europe today launched five speaker sets for computers aimed at mid-range and traveling listeners. The A212B and Z510 cater to users who expect solid audio at a desk and include their own respective tricks for boosting sound. The A212B includes a 1-bit digital amp, while the Z510 adds a switchable Mega Bass enhancer and a relatively large 55mm driver. Two basic models offer just essential sound, Sony says. The A201 takes nearly the same shape as the A212 but uses a simpler 57mm cone shape; in turn, the unique AX10 offers a lamp-like shape that floats the satellites above the surface.
The US House of Representatives today voted to extend a measure against taxing Internet access, the Associated Press reports. The ban affects state and local taxes, and was first enacted in 1998; with the extension the next review would take place in 2011, while exempting states that imposed taxes before 1998. An overwhelming majority of representatives voted for the extension, at 405 to 2; 238 have signed a bill to make the ban permanent, but current discussion has been curtailed to extension.
Apple is dropping the price of all its iTunes Plus tracks and expanding its catalog, company chief Steve Jobs confirmed in an interview. Although previously suspected, the new policy will reduce the cost of an individual DRM-free song from $1.29 to 99 cents, putting them at the same price as copy-protected tracks for the first time since iTunes Plus was introduced in May. The move is not expected to change the price of albums, but should take effect across all international iTunes stores no later than tomorrow. Both American and Canadian shoppers have already reported discovering the cut-price tracks in their respective online stores.
Camera maker Olympus, generally more famous for its compacts, is expected to later today announce the E-3, a successor to its formerly flagship E-1 DSLR. The camera should be premiered at reception scheduled for approximately 6PM Eastern time, to be held inside a New York museum.
No specifications have so far leaked to the press; the E-3 is in any case likely to represent a dramatic departure from the E-1, which originally premiered in 2003, and was limited to 5.5 megapixels. By contrast, the comparable Canon EOS-5D now has 12.7 megapixels. Olympus is likely to infuse the E-3 with features from its recent E-Volt cameras, while pushing specifications to compete with other high-end DSLRs. [via PhotographyBLOG]
Bucking its past habits, Samsung Mobile today provided details about three new phones that are the first from the company to bring GPS navigation to Samsung's line. All three can use their receiver to provide directions for driving or on foot, and can use assisted GPS help fix a position using data. The i550 (shown) is the baseline for the series but includes features rarely seen together in a bar-shaped phone: in addition to its mapping, the phone connects to the Internet at 3G speeds with HSDPA and a 3-megapixel camera.
Motorola this afternoon began rolling out two new Bluetooth earpieces which both blend in with the most stylish cellphones and take little time to set up for a new connection. The glossy black H680 (pictured) shrinks the already small design of most wireless headsets by shifting the micro USB connection from the headset to the bundled carrying case; this both takes the weight off the ear and makes for easier charging, Motorola says. It also allows for a bigger battery that powers the H680 for as much as nine hours of uninterrupted talk time or 12 days when on standby.
Though long familiar in the media, ASUS has only now made a formal announcement of the Eee, an ultra-mobile PC meant to be owned by casual users including women and children. Each unit has a screen measuring just seven inches, and users navigate mainly through a graphical interface, whose speed is enhanced due to a reliance on flash storage instead of a conventional hard disk. An 802.11b/g connection links users to the Internet, while other basic accessories include a card reader, webcam and speakers.
Display maker AU Optronics on Tuesday revealed what it believes is one of the best-looking LCD TV panels ever released. A new, 'bumpless' pixel design, an integrated backlight, and better color resistance have let the company produce a display whose natural contrast ratio is 5,000:1 -- double the 2,500:1 managed last year and more than four times the 1,200:1 achieved in 2005. The technology is the most vivid of any technology on shelves today that uses a mainstream cold-cathode fluorescent (CCFL) backlight and will be the best until LED-lit displays are in the mainstream, according to the company. Displays with dynamic contrast ratios should provide an even larger ratio by shutting off parts of the backlight during dark scenes.
Confirming rumors from earlier in the year, Rogers Wireless has now officially expanded its HSDPA services, broadening them to 22 new regions within Canada. Rogers is the only carrier in the country that supports HSDPA, and it had previously restricted it to the "Golden Horseshoe," encircling Toronto and some surrounding area. Rogers customers can now sign up for the high-speed Vision service in major cities such as Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver, as well as other important regions including Ottawa, Regina and Winnipeg.
Hoping to produce an even more power-efficient technology than the best it offers today, Intel at its Developer Forum in Taiwan on Tuesday announced Diamondville, a new processor and platform architecture for extremely low-power PCs. The design is almost entirely original and is meant to fit into the ASUS Eee PC, the One Laptop Per Child XO, and other very small computers designed either for basic computing or developing world areas where regular or strong power supplies are hard to find. While exact figures were unavailable, Diamondville was expected to use significantly less power than even Intel's latest ultra low-voltage Core 2 Duo processors, which have a sustained power use of 10 watts.
GPS navigation unit maker TomTom hoped to freshen its line today with the ONE XL-S, a stepped up version of its 4.3-inch, widescreen mapping device. New in this version is a text-to-speech feature that automatically reads out directions, places, and road names, freeing drivers from having to read the display ahead of a crucial exit or destination. The refresh also brings features that have been added to other GPS units since the XL's original launch, TomTom says: the collaborative Map Share feature now lets the XL-S add map data and share it with fellow users online, as well as access the Help Me feature which more quickly brings up emergency location finders and position data in the event of a rescue.
Online music store Napster on Tuesday took the wraps off of version 4.0 of its service, a major overhaul which the company says will remove some of the need for Windows as well as improve the actual service itself. The update makes the service one of the first to offer an almost completely web-driven version of its library. While users will still have the choice of downloading Napster songs and using them in Windows Media Player or a PlaysForSure-capable handheld, the web will let users with subscriptions play any song from a web jukebox application. Users will have the choice of listening to full albums or songs and will see their saved library transfered to the web portal, giving them access to their playlists and already selected music away from a home computer. The browser version also changes the playback format to a more universal Flash audio format; Mac and Linux users can listen to (but not download) tracks from Napster's store for the first time just by having the standard Flash plugin installed, the company touts.
AT&T on Tuesday announced a pair of updates to its contract policies to bolster its reputation in the marketplace and match or exceed offerings from rival carriers, such as Verizon. For the first time, AT&T will allow subscribers to switch to a standard calling plan in mid term without being forced to prolong or restart their contract. This should let users adapt their cellular plans to their usage habits over time without an according penalty. The feature should take effect in November, though the company did not say that this would extend to data plans.
(Updated with demo video) Nokia today revealed that it was adding touchscreen features to the Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition, allowing Nokia's smartphones and those licensing the OS to compete with the iPhone by using touch displays as well as automatic sensors in their designs. A set of extensions will give phones support for touch interfaces driven either by finger control or by a stylus; the OS will also support a mixture of hardware keyboards with touch interfaces, the company says. Creators will also have the choice of introducing haptic feedback that vibrates when the user hits certain on-screen buttons to simulate the experience of physical controls.
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