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The home division of Sanyo is nearing the release of a unique portable TV, the LVT-WD40. While it joins the increasing number of TVs that use the digital, Japanese-only 1Seg format, it is one of the few if only sets that is waterproof, although this is meant to guard against splashing in kitchens and bathrooms rather than allow submersion. Part of this is attributable to the external antenna, which does not conform to water-resistant standards.
The player is otherwise fairly conventional: it has a lithium-ion battery, an electronic program guide, and a four-inch screen capable of resolutions up to 480x272. It should be out on November 21st for 50,000 yen ($450). [via Impress Watch]
Taking advantage of China's loose intellectual property restrictions, a company called ECNokia is marketing a generic MP4 player which directly imitates the clickwheel, rounded edges and menu design of the third-generation iPod nano. Like many copies however, it does not have the exact same functionality; it plays MP3, WAV, WMA and MIDI audio, while video must be in the ASF format. Storage meanwhile comes in the form of an SD slot, which supports cards up to 2GB in size.
The FCC is warning Sprint Nextel that parts of its network may be shut down if it does not address important safety concerns. According to reports, as many as 2,200 public safety organizations have long encountered problems with the carrier's network, which in some cases uses the exact same bands as safety radio systems. Prior to being absorbed in 2005, Nextel had agreed to fix the problem by giving up frequency bands or helping to modify radio systems; Sprint inherited this problem, but it is unlikely to meet an impending deadline, despite having spent over $1 billion on the project. The issue "has proved more difficult" than anticipated, the company claims.
The American division of Samsung has introduced a new DVD burner, the TruDirect SE-S204S (not pictured). While it plugs into desktop or notebook PCs, the S204S is unusual in that it does not require hard drive access; it can burn videos and photos directly from devices attached to a computer, without first demanding any pre-mastering, multiplexing or buffering. The on-board technology is also said to improve copying speeds in general, since a one-hour video stream can be burned directly in an hour and five minutes, or 30 minutes if copied to a hard drive first.
BenQ drew attention to its notebooks on Monday with the Joybook R43. The company's 14-inch portable is tailored to get attention with a unique, laminar film band on the lid of the all-black system that includes a pattern meant to recall a city skyline at night. In the dark, points of light on the back and blue status lights reinforce the effect, BenQ says. Travelers conscious about their data also have access to a unique QData Trove feature that automatically creates a disk image of the system through a keyboard shorcut, allowing them to copy a single file to an external drive to keep it safe.
Sony today said it would cut the price in half for its PlayStation 3 Reference Tool for developers, bringing the device to $10,250 US. The special, computer-like version of the console is receiving the price cut to encourage development for the game system by smaller development houses where the initial price of the kit might be too high, according to Sony. In tandem with the drop, the PS3 maker has also introduced an improved set of tools to help build code more quickly than in the past. The price cut takes effect immediately across North America as well as Europe and Japan.
Home theater company Axiom has announced that it is shipping the Audiobyte, what the company describes as the "first" luxury speaker system designed for computers. At the core of the setup are two satellites, encased either in synthetic materials or real wood; each is capable of producing a massive 55W of power, and can handle frequencies between 100Hz and 20kHz. Unlike most computer setups, the Audiobyte's amplifier is kept separate, and includes a USB port for playing and charging iPods.
Appealing to its dedicated gamer user base, Wolf King today shipped out the Warrior Xxtreme keyboard. First spotted in an FCC leak, the controller includes both a specialized circular keyboard designed for first-person shooters and other action games and a second, similar pad with a QWERTY layout for typing out chat messages or other commands that are missing in the game portion. This makes the Xxtreme useful as the only keyboard for a game session without having to swap keyboards or else include a bulky, full-size traditional keyboard. A blue backlight for late-night sessions is also new, Wolf King says.
Google may be looking into acquiring Skype, creators of the famous VoIP network and software, rumors suggest. Anonymous individuals within the London web industry hint that Google is already in negotiations for Skype, which Google would have to buy from the current owner, auction site company eBay. The latter is said to be unhappy with how much it paid, which amounted to $1.3 billion plus 32.8 million shares; in the third quarter of 2007, Skype produced only $98 million in net revenue. Aiding the rumor is the fact that Google's mobile projects are based in London, which may mean that it plans to incorporate Skype technology into Android.
Hoping to set a new ceiling for gaming notebooks, Alienware today provided an early look at the m15x and m17x. The 15.4-inch and 17-inch systems represent both a major change in design for the company and a new performance threshold: both use NVIDIA's just-introduced 512MB GeForce 8800M GTX and provide 3D performance closer to desktops, matching the desktop GeForce 8800 GT's 96 shader processors while using a 500MHz clock speed and power savings to run coolly inside the confines of a portable. The m17x uses two of them in SLI mode for even faster performance, according to Alienware.
Electronics maker Pioneer today took the wraps from SyncTV, a new video service it hopes will offer the best of both downloads and subscriptions without limiting users to a particular platform. Rather than charge per episode or for a flat universal subscription, SyncTV charges between $2 and $4 per month for channels such as an anime-themed station or individual TV shows like Dexter; users can then download as many episodes or titles as they like from that channel, Pioneer notes. Content will also be available in HD when possible and even includes Dolby 5.1 surround support for home theaters.
Amazon today officially launched its promised Kindle eBook reader and also firmed up details of the device, explaining the handheld's features. The online retailer notes that its Sprint-supported EVDO network, known as Whispernet, will be completely free for users; customers can browse the Amazon store, buy books, and check sites such as Wikipedia without having to sign up for a separate Sprint subscription or worrying about bandwidth charges, Amazon says.
AT&T is considering joining Google's new Open Handset Alliance, the company's wireless chief Ralph de la Vega has revealed on Sunday. The executive notes that his firm is "analyzing the situation" and may well ship phones incorporating the Linux-based Android operating system for its network. No mention was made of when this membership would be likely or which devices were candidates, though Android phones are expected to ship in the second half of 2008.
AT&T began its week by introducing the Samsung SLM. Also known as the A747, the clamshell joins the A737 and other Samsung 3G phones at the carrier but adds new features unique to the A-series. The device is the first to explicitly support Napster Mobile and lets users download tracks directly over HSPA. The extra speed is also crucial for the phone's swiveling 2-megapixel camera, AT&T says. Users can either point the camera at themselves to show friends during a one-way video call on AT&T's Video Share service or to point outwards to record videos and 2-megapixel still shots for uploading or media messaging.
AMD today began shipping its Spider platform, a combination of a processor and chipset that it hopes will sway gamers from Intel. The architecture earns its nickname through the multi-core approach to processors and graphics allowed by the company's new 7-series chipset: an increased bandwidth of up to 14.4GB per second allows it to support both the four-core Phenom 9000-series processor and the company's new CrossFireX technology found in the Radeon HD 3800 line. With the extra speed of the 7-series chipset and PCI Express 2.0, up to four of the cards can be used at once to greatly improve 3D performance, AMD claims.
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