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While Nintendo's Wii continues to soar off game store shelves with its intuitive motion-sensitive controls, Sega Toys and NeuroSky look to do one better and are teaming up to produce mind-controlled toys, using wearable bio-sensors to monitor brainwaves, courtesy of the latter company. NeuroSky says that this is Sega's latest venture in "taking play to the next level", and that with the ThinkGear bio-sensor, it will achieve just that. Unfortunately, neither company commented on what upcoming ideas to which they are applying the technology.
Korean company UPOP recently unveiled its first device, a PMP with specifications that are akin to that of a ultra portable laptop, rather than a portable media player. Despite it's miniscule size, the player comes loaded with 30 or 60GB of storage, plus the option for additional space by way of SD cards. The tiny device is similar in design to the Sidekick, but slightly larger, and is navigable with the included stylus and built-in keyboard. Unfortunately the device is only available in Korea, so pricing and availability were not available for North America.
Rogers, Canada's largest broadband provider, is attempting to insert its presence over otherwise unrelated websites, reports confirm. The issue first came to light thanks to a visitor to the blog of Lauren Weinstein, who noted that he encountered a Rogers message -- warning about an approaching download limit -- simply while visiting Google. Further inquiry with Rogers' VP of communications has confirmed the existence of a test program, designed to get messages to customers in a way other than e-mail or phone calls. "We're trying different things, and we'll test customer response," says VP Taanta Gupta.
Omaura today unveiled a concept it says would be far more practical than conventional designs for home theater PCs. Called the TT, the system would share the same philosophy as the HDTVs it would accompany: rather than sit in a conspicuous desktop box or integrate into the back of the screen as with an iMac, the TT is an almost entirely vertical design that mimics the narrow but long shape of the screen: users could tuck the computer underneath some systems or directly behind them on a TV stand. Only an iMac-like, slot-load optical drive on the side would reveal its purpose, Omaura says. The design would allow enough room for full-size desktop video cards and storage to fill the role of an HD video player and a video recorder.
ASUS' fledgling Eee PC is doing extremely well, the company reports. It expects to sell over 400,000 systems by January, and at a tradeshow in Taipei last week, it sold out all 5,000 units it brought for the occasion. Targeted sales for 2008 could be in excess of 3.8 million. This very success could, however, become a problem for ASUS, notes the research firm Gartner. It has already attracted competition, such as from the Chinese company Hasee, which is building a stripped-down 13.3-inch laptop.
Amazon's hyped Kindle book reader now has third-party support, an electronic book publisher has announced. Fictionwise says that over 15,000 titles are available for the Kindle from its MultiFormat category, including works by the likes of Mark Twain, Franz Kafka and Poppy Z. Brite. Shoppers cannot however download directly to their readers, as they can with official Amazon books: they must either download to their computer first and sync via USB, or else have Fictionwise e-mail books to their Kindle with a 10-cent Amazon surcharge.
Sprint removed some concerns about its wireless projects today and confirmed the initial rollout of Xohm, one of the first true networks using Intel's fourth-generation WiMAX technology. The plans reiterate the carrier's plan to soft-launch its 4G service and will quietly make available networks in downtown Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.; new to the announcement is word that the provider will expand based on existing cellular traffic, building out the WiMAX service based on customers already making heavy use of Sprint's existing services. About 100 million Americans will be within range of WiMAX by the end of 2008.
Verizon on Tuesday afternoon help round off its 2007 phone releases with the LG Venus Pink. The device replaces the all-black design of the original with a sparkle-textured pink sliding keypad and side trim. This makes the device more conspicuous for fashion-conscious women than the already high-visibility phone, which relies on a unique split view with a touchscreen replacing the normal buttons and directional pad of a conventional slider phone.
Converting music CDs to audio files on a computer is unapproved and therefore illegal, the Recording Industry Association of America has said (PDF) in a brief ahead of a crucial Arizona lawsuit. Hoping to support the arguments from group member Atlantic Records in its complaint against the Howell family, the RIAA contends that ripping CDs leads to "viral" copyright infringement; a single disc can result in millions of copies if shared through a peer-to-peer service, the brief claims.
Four Asian companies appear to be getting involved with the FCC auction for the 700MHz wireless spectrum, the Wall Street Journal reports. The biggest is Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo, which may put forward a bid worth $5 billion or more to expand its business internationally. The company already has a minor presence in the US, but does not sell any of the phones or advanced cellular services it is famous for in Japan. The company's main rival -- KDDI -- is likewise rumored to be interested in greater US access, since it is already testing a cellular service in the northeast.
Toshiba today made an unusual concession to anxious business travelers with the Satellite T31. The 15.4-inch Japanese system is one of the few computers from a large manufacturer to ship with both Windows Vista and its XP Professional ancestor in the box; while only one is installed by default, owners can either choose to keep the newer OS or revert back to XP should their work software or personal preferences keep them from running the new code.
AV giant Kenwood has announced as itself as the next backer of DTV, a new North American standard for mobile digital television. While similar standards have existed for a few years elsewhere, in the form of Japan's 1Seg or the global DMB, North America has lagged behind. Kenwood in particular has built prototype DTV receivers based on MPH, a platform developed by LG, Harris, and LG's research group, Zenith. The technology will be demonstrated at next month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
NBC today announced that it would bring its TV shows to SanDisk's recently unveiled Fanfare video service, significantly expanding the beta-stage video download site's catalog beyond existing offerings from CBS, Showtime, and similar networks. The deal will land much of the content from NBC's main station, including 30 Rock and Heroes; affiliated channels such as Bravo and USA Network will also be available. Fanfare allows viewing on the computer but is primarily designed to pair up with SanDisk's Sansa TakeTV, which serves as a transportable video player for TVs and is hte only device so far that will play Fanfare content.
D-Link aims to be the first with a router using the faster 802.11n Wi-Fi standard at or below the $50 mark, say tips from industry sources at its Taiwan manufacturing base. The network equipment producer is said to be instituting price cuts that will drop the cost by as much as 35 percent in a bid to undercut rivals such as Belkin, Linksys, and SMC. D-Link has ypically had some of the lowest-cost wireless routers on the market and has offered wireless routers significantly below the $100 level in the past, but until today has not crossed the $50 barrier. The model is most likely the base DIR-615 (not pictured).
At least one manufacturer is hoping to ride the coattails of the iPod touch through a low-cost alternative, a listing at the online store MP4 Nation reveals. The Optimus Touch is consciously designed to replicate the iPod's touchscreen controls, including very similar icons and music navigation, but includes a few added features common to low-cost players but absent in the iPod touch. A miniSD card slot allows extra storage past the 4GB built into the device; users can also record voice with a built-in microphone, take photos with a 1.3-megapixel camera, and watch DivX- or XviD-formatted video clips at up to 24 frames per second, the manufacturer boasts.
NVIDIA today provided another upgrade for its GeForce 8-series with the 512MB GeForce 8800 GTS. Although it includes less memory than the 640MB card released last year, the new version boosts the number of shader processors from 96 to 128, greatly improving the card's ability to draw complicated pixel or geometry vertex effects. The card is about 25 percent faster than its predecessor at the same price, by NVIDIA's estimates. The 512MB card is also the first GTS to support full acceleration of H.264 video, taking nearly all the burden away from the CPU for many Blu-ray movies and direct downloads.
Toshiba on Tuesday revealed a technology it hopes will make lithium-ion batteries genuinely useful for cars and other vehicles. Named a Super Charge ion Battery (SCiB), the upgrade changes the negative electrode material, the electrolyte, and the manufacturing process to create a battery which is both extremely quick to recharge and reliable enough to replace older but tough nickel-metal hydride batteries. The substances and the design of battery cells do more than just prevent the battery from catching fire in the hot environment of a car, Toshiba says: they allow a very large current to feed the battery, allowing a typical battery to reach 90 percent capacity in five minutes.
Dell today officially confirmed many of the details of its Latitude XT tablet. The Texas PC maker hopes to distinguish its first ever touchscreen PC by making it one of the lightest available: at 3.57 pounds, the system will be relatively easy to carry, Dell hopes. The new convertible Latitude will also have the choice of either a thin, LED-backlit screen or an outdoor-focused screen that remains more visible in daylight. Weight and speed can also be improved through storage; while up to a 120GB traditional hard disk is available, up to a 64GB solid-state drive should improve boot times and reduce weight.
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