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Oakley has quietly introduced a new update to its glasses, dubbing it the Oakley Split Thump. In a change from previous models, the glasses have audio controls built right into the arms underneath the stylized Oakley logo and feature removable headphones so that they can be used as regular sunglasses without the extra burden. The Split Thump will come in three models with storage ranging from 512MB to 2GB in capacity and should sell from $250. A precise release date is unavailable.
Review: Leopard's Spaces and Spotlight 4.5/5 stars The introduction of Spaces to Mac OS X Leopard is hardly new; Linux and UNIX users have enjoyed the concept of virtual desktops for years. However, its inclusion in a mainstream operating system is new and is executed well enough that it may see use by the average user, especially on notebooks. Learn why and read about Spotlight in the fifth installment of our Leopard review.
The Mozilla-based Flock web browser has finally reached v1.0 status, its developers have announced. Although very similar in functionality to Firefox, Flock concentrates on Web 2.0 services, integrating sites such as Flickr through items like a filmstrip minibar. Flock 1.0 adds a "People" sidebar to the browser, which in turn allows users to integrate Facebook and Twitter; this not only allows users to see what friends are doing, but to be notified when they update their pages, and communicate from a central location. Photos and videos can likewise be dragged-and-dropped to friends for sharing. Other changes include stability and performance improvements, such as the elimination of several memory leaks. Flock is available for Mac, Windows and Linux systems.
Terratec is now selling the NOXON 2 for iPod, a mini-stereo system which combines several different inputs. While it can dock several different iPods (including the Touch) and tune in FM radio, one of its other main functions is Internet radio, as it can browse 10,000 different stations via an 802.11b/g wireless connection (Ethernet serves as backup). For more variety, users can stream music from their computer's hard disks, or listen to a variety of podcasts without synching them to an iPod first.
Another competitor for the iPhone has been announced in the form of Samsung's M4650, which will likely preempt the arrival of Apple's device in South Korea by at least several months. Critically, like the iPhone, the M4650 has a multitouch interface, enabling more complex interactions than rivals such as the HTC Touch. The main menu for the 4650 is also very similar in aesthetics and layout to the iPhone's Home screen, complete with tiled program icons and a row of quick-launch buttons. In reality, this is a custom overlay for Windows Mobile 6.
T-Mobile today announced that it would offer free access to its HotSpot Wi-Fi points to anyone buying the One Laptop Per Child project's XO system through the Give 1 Get 1 program, providing an incentive for users who want to contribute to the developing world system but receive a unit of their own. The deal lets American buyers activate their own XO to use with any of 8,500 US locations, including airports and many Starbucks locations. The company did not say whether XO owners would still be able to create mesh networks to share with other devices at a given access point.
Google will not rule out the possibility of producing a cellphone under its own name, the company said today during a question and answer session regarding the Open Handset Alliance and its Android platform. Chief executive Eric Schmidt explained that while his company would not pre-announce any devices, the firm would also not "close the door" on the prospect of making its own handset at some point in the future. The emphasis today was on establishing a platform for other companies to build their phones and not any concrete products, Schmidt said.
Just days before the iPhone makes its European debut, LG has officially released the KS20 to "major" European countries. The phone is significant mainly in that it is another all-touchscreen device from the company, mirroring some of the same philosophies as the iPhone, such as fingertip control. The KS20 separates itself however by running Windows Mobile 6, and by featuring 3.6Mbps HSDPA, giving it a broadband speed advantage over the iPhone's EDGE.
Clarifying release information, E-Ten has announced another version of its Glofiish smartphone, bearing the originally anticipated X600 identifier. The phone again uses a SiRFstar III GPS receiver, and boasts 802.11b/g wireless; here, Bluetooth support is confirmed to be at the 2.0 level, but HSDPA is gone, leaving users with EDGE as the fastest cellular protocol. Similarly stripped away is the resolution of the 2.8-inch touchscreen, which is limited to 320x240.
The Japanese and Swedish phone partnership Sony-Ericsson is poised to launch a new set of phones on the 6th, according to a pre-release leak as well as brief mention on the company's own product pages. The K660i will attempt to bridge the gap between smartphones and smaller devices by allowing web browsing in landscape mode with a cursor; this allows sites to fit more on to a single page and also lets users jump to links or text boxes without repeatedly tapping a directional pad. The bar phone will support HSDPA only over European networks but should add quad-band GSM and EDGE access to permit calls and 2G data in the US. A 2-megapixel camera and FM radio will be built-in when the phone ships in either lime/white or black/wine color combinations before the end of the year.
Google today announced its long-awaited initiative for mobile phones, aiming to overturn the traditionally closed approach to cellphone software design. Now called the Open Handset Alliance, the push will see 34 different companies working together to create an open-source software platform that takes away licensing fees while adding the ability to easily modify code for new devices or features. Handset makers HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung have all pledged to implement the software as part of the group; the Alliance also includes key cellular carriers such as Sprint and T-Mobile in the US, Europe's Telefonica, and Japan's KDDI and NTT DoCoMo. Several component makers including Broadcom, Intel, and Qualcomm are also onboard, Google says.
Kicking off the release of a new series of adapters, Sierra Wireless today unveiled the Apex 880. The USB adapter is smaller and sleeker than earlier AirCard devices but manages to support a full HSUPA connection; users on AT&T's upcoming network and other carriers can download as quickly as 7.2Mbps in peak conditions but also upload at 2Mbps when supported. This and normal HSPA work on all three supporting bands across the world; legacy EDGE and GPRS support four bands for wider roaming.
Toshiba on Monday morning released new versions of its Gigabeat U series to appeal to fresh listeners. Both the U104 and the U205 share the same flat-panel control scheme, 1GB of flash storage, and a new set of gold, light blue, and pink color options. Both are also based around the same 1.1-inch color OLED display and MP3/WAV/WMA audio support as well as photo viewing, the company says. The U104 starts the line at $87 with the core feature set; the $129, 2GB U205 adds in-canal earbuds and both an FM transmitter and tuner, letting it connect to a car's stereo without an adapter or share music with any FM-capable music player.
Samsung today claimed to be the first company to produce a solid-state drive using a Serial ATA II bus, giving it the added headroom to take advantage of higher flash memory speeds. The interface gives the 1.8-inch, 64GB disk as much as three gigabits per second of bandwidth and uses improved NAND flash memory to write data as quickly as 100MB per second -- more than twice as fast as the 45 megabytes of earlier solid-state drives and even faster than a conventional 1.8-inch hard disk, Samsung says. Read speeds are faster still at 120MB per second.
Google's expected announcement today of its mobile phone effort may include a different arrangement than suggested, according to a new claim by USA Today. The paper cites sources which suggest Sprint as the confirmed US carrier; NTT DoCoMo in Japan is the other provider, the report says. In turn, Motorola and Samsung would help with the hardware side. This teamwork would create an "open phone coalition" of companies which would help develop a cross-platform mobile operating system that would not be tied to any one device or service provider.
Kmart has issued a statement denying earlier speculation that the retail chain is dropping Blu-Ray players from its shelves and exclusively selling HD DVD players. In its statement, Kmart said it intends to support both the HD DVD and Blu-ray platforms, and has no plans to support either platform exclusively. "There have been numerous statements in the media today, attributed to Toshiba, indicating exclusive support for the HD DVD format in Kmart stores," said Kmart officials. "These statements are false."
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