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XtremeMac has introduced a new audio system for use with the iPod. Calling it the Tango Studio, the company advertises full-range stereo sound, which is powered by two 3-inch loudspeakers. Designed for the budget-minded iPod owner, it lacks the subwoofer of its more expensive sibling, the Tango. However, the Studio is more compact which allows for more versatile placement. The unit features a built-in FM tuner, an auxiliary line in, a remote, a retractable dock connector, and a simple no-frills look. The LCD, which displays the FM station, volume level or input source, shines through from behind the cloth speaker grill. Controls are also located on the top of the sound system, in case of a misplaced remote.
Japanese cellular carrier KDDI and Sony this week announced a plan they hope will bolster their influence in the digital music industry, particularly against Apple. Beginning in December, owners of Sony's software and Walkman music players can freely transfer the music to many of the phones on KDDI's Au service, regardless of whether the devices are made by Sony-Ericsson. Subscribers will hopefully be encouraged to buy from KDDI's Chaku Uta Full online music store knowing they can easily play their purchases when their cellphones are offline, according to the companies.
Apple is poised to take the largest gains in US computer marketshare over the summer, according to a new estimate from research group IDC. The study predicts that the Mac producer will have shipped roughly 1.13 million computers in the country between July and September, staying roughly on par with rivals HP and Toshiba in terms of year-over-year growth but gaining in overall share to 6.3 percent -- a significant climb from 5.7 percent during summer 2006 and 1.1 more total share than next-best Toshiba. If proven accurate by official quarterly shipment results expected in the next few weeks, the change would help cement Apple's third-place position in its home territory.
In discussing a proposed bill to limit the severity of cellular cancellation fees, a panel of the US Senate is bringing to light serious ethical problems, Reuters reports. Among these is a practice of some unidentified companies to label charges as "taxes," when they are in fact just corporate fees. The bill -- sponsored by senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Rockefeller (D-WV) -- is partly targeted at this concern, and would require companies to avoid the term "tax" except where the charge is mandated by government regulations.
Verizon today began shipping the first of its four promised media phones, the Samsung Juke. The device is the first of the ultra-narrow swivel phones to launch in the US and holds 2GB of built-in flash that can be sideloaded over USB and listend to with a stereo Bluetooth headset. The VGA camera is also known to include a special night shot feature that boosts the light levels in dark scenes to reveal hidden details.
Display specialist Eizo has announced a new, extremely high-resolution LCD monitor, the SX3031W-H. Sized at 30 inches, it is capable of resolutions up to 2560x1600, well surpassing the 1080p limit of most screens. Part of the purpose of this is to support its dual DVI-D inputs, which allow the monitor to display two different video sources side-by-side, at resolutions up to 1200x1600 each. Eizo further claims that the LCD covers the whole of the NTSC color range, with a brightness of 260cd/m2, and a contrast ratio of 900:1.
TV recorder maker TiVo today quietly slipped out a software upgrade for the TiVo HD and TiVo Series 3 that adds support for external storage to the DVRs. Using the external SATA port that has been present but unused on the devices since launch, the 9.2 update lets users plug in any hard drive that passes TiVo's standards to expand the available recording time beyond the 32 hours of HD for the Series 3 and 20 for the simpler TiVo HD. No special setup is needed beyond restarting the DVR for it to recognize the extra space, according to users who have received the update.
Onkyo today removed the covers from two complete home theater sound systems that are designed as much to add support for portable devices as HDTVs and CD players. Both the 7.1-channel HT-SP908 and 5.1-channel HT-SP904 bundle the firm's RI Dock that pipes sound from most recent dockable iPods directly through the main receiver. Listeners can also attach a Sirius or XM satellite radio tuner to pick up their digital signals. The DVD player is also far more aware of portable formats, says Onkyo. Beyond scaling DVDs and other videos as high as 1080p, the disc reader can also recognize DivX and WMV clips and play music in AAC, MP3, and WMA forms.
With early information having leaked just hours prior, Nokia has officially announced the N810, its new flagship Internet tablet. The greatest change is the addition of a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, allowing users to forego typing via the touchscreen, though this option should still be present. The direction pad has also been moved to the left side of the slide-out panel, making room on the front for a VGA camera that enables Gizmo video calling. VoIP calls can be made via Skype.
Large-scale retailer Best Buy today said it would stop selling standard-definition TVs at all of its stores, becoming one of the first stores of its size to drop the format entirely. The company expects to sell only flat-panel HD and ED (enhanced definition) sets and will completely halt sales of analog sets, which normally ship in bulkier CRT forms, by the start of November. Some stores have already removed the sets, Best Buy said. Owners of older sets who need access to digital TV shows will be able to buy converter set-top boxes starting early next year.
Toshiba says it has decided to rebrand its Satellite Pro line of notebooks, targeting "mobile professionals" with machines that have essential features but reasonable prices. The first fruits of this strategy are the A200 and the A210, which together share many common elements; among these are 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, DVD SuperMulti drives, and 120GB, 5,400rpm hard drives. Both models are also sized at 15.4 inches, with a native resolution of 1280x800, and come loaded with Windows XP Professional instead of Vista.
Long-range wireless provider Clearwire today released its first mobile pre-WiMAX card, providing customers of the company's 4G-level Internet access with more freedom than has been available with a full-size modem. The adapter fits into a PC Card slot and provides nearly the same connection speeds as the more stationary device: in most coverage areas, the card can match the same 1.5Mbps downstream speeds as one of Clearwire's fixed connections and is still several times faster than dial-up on the fringe of access, running at a minimum 256Kbps.
Nokia is on the verge of releasing a crucial sequel to its N800 tablet, according to official shots sent out ahead of the official release to ITT. Named just the N810, the design will add a slide-out QWERTY keyboard that also moves the directional pad away from the main display; the move will both let users browse and write more quickly than possible with the still-included touchscreen keyboard but will occupy less space than the old design. The new form also permits a front-facing camera for video chats and continues to include a microphone for VoIP calls through sites like Gizmo or Skype.
Skype today announced it had struck a deal with MySpace that would see its Internet telephone service link up with MySpace, giving the social networking site's members an easier way of communicating with each other without having to use text. The feature lets MySpace users either bring their existing accounts or link an existing Skype account to the latter's VoIP network, letting any MySpace member potentially call another as long as they know the other's profile name. A special version of MySpace's instant messaging app named MySpaceIM with Skype will let users of the IM network call each other in person for those that would prefer not to use the dedicated Skype tool. To prevent spam or unwanted attention, MySpace page owners will have the choice of limiting Skype calls to friends on either the social page or on Skype itself.
Sprint this morning officially unveiled its version of the HTC Touch, providing the third-largest carrier in the US with its own touchscreen-focused device. Like the version that shipped to Telus in Canada last week, the Sprint edition connects to CDMA networks and connects to the Internet at 3G speeds through EVDO. In American form, however, the gesture-based TouchFLO interface now provides access to specialized Sprint audio and video content as well as the normal communication and media tools found in Windows Mobile 6: listeners can buy songs from Sprint's online store or stream radio and Internet TV stations, including the recently launched SEE entertainment and sports channel which runs only on Sprint's service.
Samsung today unveiled three LCDs that it says will improve the vividness of characteristically dull notebook displays, including the company's first-ever small white-LED display. A 15.4-inch display with the same 1440x900 resolution as the MacBook Pro now has a pure white LED panel that more efficiently boosts image quality while also lowering the typical power draw. The panel can reach dynamic contrast ratios as high as 10,000:1 while consuming just 2W of power in demanding conditions; the power use is 40 percent lower than the already more efficient LED backlights on the market today, Samsung claims.
SanDisk this morning served serious amateur photographers and professionals with the release of the Extreme III SDHC 8GB. The flash card offers both the capacity for a large number of high-quality photos from a digital SLR camera while also delivering the speed necessary for burst shooting or video capture. Officially rated as Class 6 for a minimum 6MB per second write speed, the Extreme III is capable of at least 20MB per second in both directions, SanDisk claims. Such performance is also said to be helpful with the bundled MicroMate USB 2.0 reader that gives every Mac and Windows user a quick way of loading content which is small enough to accompany the card itself.
AT&T this morning became the first US carrier to pick up the BlackBerry Curve 8310, upgrading the home-oriented smartphone with real GPS mapping. Using either BlackBerry Maps or AT&T's optional TeleNav subscription, users can plot automatic driving directions or find their way on foot while still having access to 'push' e-mail. Like the Rogers version, it also upgrades the 2-megapixel phone with a full headphone jack, an improved media suite on the phone and for PCs, and an easily accessible microSD slot. AT&T's version is unique in supporting both the provider's Mobile Music access and offering a push-to-talk function for immediate conversations.
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