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Intel late Friday revealed what it touts as the most miniscule solid-state drive ever released. The Z-P140 is tailored for portable media players, handhelds, and other devices where even the already small 1.8-inch flash drives common to ultraportable notebooks would be too large. The entire drive is no larger than a penny and weighs just 0.02 ounces --as much as a paper clip, the chipmaker says. Regardless of its size, the SSD is still faster than most any flash-based memory card and reads as quickly as 40MB per second while writing at 30MB per second.
BioMETRX recently shipped the smartSTIK finger-activated USB flash drive, available in 1GB and 2GB sizes. The drive is advertised as being consumer-friendly, requiring no additional drivers or software to function, making it simple to setup and use. SmartSTIK is fully plug-and-play, making it a good choice for users who routinely bring sensitive information to work or school. BioMETRX says that USB flash drives are among the fastest adopted products in consumer electronics, with over 100 million drives sold in 2006. The smartSTIK is available from bioMETRX for $50 (1GB) and $65 (2GB)
Clearview has introduced a new media player which handles considerably more than most of its peers. The Infinity miPC is essentially an ultra-mobile PC without a keyboard: it can not only play music and video, it can record it as well, and it specifically supports the popular DivX and XviD codecs. An FM tuner is built in, and it is also capable of mobile gaming, as well as GPS navigation when docked in its special cradle.
Should owners need to do some work, it runs a mobile version of Microsoft Office, and can handle VoIP, e-mail, web browsing and instant messaging applications. Tele Atlas navigation software, meanwhile includes maps of Canada and the US, with 16 million points of interest and text-to-voice directions.
FastMac today unveiled a 4x Dual Layer Blu-Ray optical drive upgrade (site not updated) for Apple's Mac Pro and Power Mac G5 workstations. The 5.25-inch tray loading drive uses one of the fastest Mac-compatible Blu-ray mechanisms, according to the company, providing up to 50GB of storage on one dual or dual or double layer disc without sacrificing compatibility with standard DVD or CD media. Utilizing SATA connectivity, the drive's BD-R DL feature allows Mac users to burn a complete 50GB disc in under 50 minutes. The drive is already available for an introductory price of $600, and comes with a 1-year warranty.
Alltel has begun shipping its version of the BlackBerry Pearl 8130, the first CDMA-capable Pearl. The candybar design has all the features of the full version including true GPS, which can be used either through Resarch in Motion's own BlackBerry Maps feature or through a subscription to a service like TeleNav. Unlike Sprint or Verizon models, though, its music can be sideloaded through a custom program dubbed Jump Music instead of Windows Media Player or manually copying files, helping to justify the phone's microSDHC slot and cards over 8GB.
Nintendo's Wii console may eventually get some form of voice chat, the company's American president says. Speaking during a conference call today, Reggie Fils-Aime explained that there is nothing technically stopping the Wii from doing voice in online play; it is only a matter of Nintendo mustering the will and money to support it. "...what it comes down to is finalizing the peripheral," he noted. "I would not be surprised to see that capability come to this system." Voice chat is one current advantage of Microsoft's Xbox 360, which comes bundled with a headset and allows sending delayed messages in addition to in-game conversation.
Fujitsu today unveiled a new form of memory it believes can replace flash storage. Called a new variant on resistive RAM (or ReRAM), the technology is designed to maintain data after losing power, as with flash, but to have the fast speed of the RAM used for temporary memory in most devices. Sending a current to the memory changes its resistive quality and allows information to be read or written quickly. Using nickel oxide wrapped in titanium and with a platinum shell, the new format is both more power-efficient and faster: sending 100 micro-amperes of current will wipe memory while an entire operation can be finished in 5 nanoseconds. The speed is 10,000 times faster than earlier attempts at ReRAM, Fujitsu explains.
The next version of Microsoft's mobile OS beyond Windows Mobile 6.1 will be the first to directly tackle advancements brought about by the iPhone, according to statements the company has made at the recent Mobius conference and echoed by Engadget. The unnamed update will effectively port a desktop version of Internet Explorer to the handset environment to render web pages in a largely accurate manner similar to that of Apple's mobile Safari browser. Programs for managing music, photos, and other content will also be made easier to use than current incarnations.
Nintendo today took the unusual step of launching a raincheck program with the American retailer GameStop for its Wii console to cope with demand. Similar to a pre-order, customers buying the system on December 20 and 21 will be able to pay for a system with a promise of receiving the system in January. GameStop has declined to say how many of the devices will be available in the program but says that "tens of thousands" will be available across the company's stores. Nintendo itself will supply a stream of consoles next week but is unlikely to have enough to meet demand, says the console designer's US chief, Reggie Fils-Aime.
BenQ has introduced a new digital camera, the X835. The eight-megapixel compact is notable mainly for its high ISO sensitivities, which allow it to capture images with ambient light where it might otherwise need flash; although visual noise may increase dramatically, the camera can handle up to ISO 2000 in still mode, or up to 6400 when recording a movie. This contrasts with most compacts, which tend to limit themselves to ISO 800 or 1600. Video consists of 30fps MPEG-4 shot at VGA resolution.
Meizu's well-known M8 MiniOne touchscreen phone has reached the physical prototype stage, according to a post of photos slipped out in a leak from the company. Previously seen only in 3D computer models, the phone is now known to be in the prototype stage. It appears with plastic outer trim instead of the aluminum expected for the final version but otherwise confirms Meizu's intent to replicate the iPhone, including similarities between icons and the lone home button.
Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute has created a thin, flexible, 10.4-inch display, local news reports. Closely resembling e-paper, the ITRI's prototype is actually a new form of cholesteric LCD, with thickness reduced to half at less than 0.4 inches. The flexibility comes from dropping a glass substrate in favor of two plastic ones, which allow the display to curve in unusual directions. The LCD does have two present drawbacks: blank spaces may appear, and its 57 percent NTSC gamut is less than that of conventional desktop monitors. [via DigiTimes]
The current and last independent CEO of Gateway, Ed Coleman, has announced that he will retire from his position at the end of January. The move will make room for Rudi Schmidleithner, the head of Acer's division in the Americas, who will take Coleman's place as he leaves. The Taiwan-based Acer finished acquiring Gateway in October, at a cost of $170 million; Gateway continues to exist as a subsidiary company though, and has been actively releasing products such as a 30-inch LCD and new notebooks.
Palm's Treo 755p smartphone will at last reach Verizon by early next week, according to shots obtained by Engadget and new price info from BGR. Although already available through Sprint since May, the upgraded version of the 700 series should bring Google Maps, a stealth antenna, and the ability to receive 'push' Exchange e-mail through the Palm OS instead of Windows Mobile.
Singapore will be the first country to have a very high speed national Internet service, the territory's government has revealed today in a new long-term plan. Called the Next Generation National Broadband Network, the service will offer a backbone that promises at least 100 megabits per second in downloads and 50-megabit uploads; it will also be designed to scale as high as 1 gigabit per second downstream for future upgrades, according to officials. Instead of selling service itself, Singapore will sell bandwidth to providers who will have to compete, potentially offering better pricing.
Nokia will launch its N-Gage gaming service for its newer phones in an early form next week, according to an update from the Finnish company's team. Originally announced with the N81 phone, the service lets users download and play games directly from supporting handhelds with the 3D graphics and content often found impossible through ordinary phone games. The debut is a pre-release version that will include both a test version of the store and will include at least one full N-Gage game, Nokia says.
Orb Networks has released an application that streams music from a Windows-based PC over the internet to select iPhones, effectively making entire music collections available to iPhone owners on-the-go. Users install the Orb application on a Windows PC where music is stored, then surf to the free service at mycast.orb.com using an iPhone to play any track stored on the home computer. Orb also enables users to send friends text messages with links to music, and the software is available for free.
Zumobi today unveiled its first public beta for its new interface which it hopes will replace the slow and at times cumbersome experience of web browsing with Windows Mobile. Originally known earlier this year as ZenZui, the software is based entirely around the concept of visual tiles instead of long addresses that are hard to type on a handset: users hand-pick a set of relevant feeds that automatically update over the cellular link, letting users browse content by zooming into different tiles without the load times that often come with completely loading a page. Many tiles themselves are broken down into several categories.
Google today revealed Knol, the company's own alternative to open online encyclopedias. Refering to entries as "knols" (knowledge units) rather than the "wikis" of Wikipedia, the service will share the same open, user-submitted approach to information but will emphasize the credibility sometimes lacking in such sites. Authors can be named for each article, with detailed references at the bottom; visitors can also rate articles to praise or criticize the effort involved. Users with questions will similarly have an opportunity to ask questions of the author as well as make Wikipedia-like edits to a text if they want to make an addition or edit the text.
AMD today confirmed rumors by detailing the R680, the codename for its next-generation graphics hardware. Likely to be known as the Radeon HD 3870 X2, the new design places dual mid-range, 55-nanometer graphics chips on a single board to offer nearly double the performance without occupying more than a double-height card slot. Using a CrossFireX -capable system will allow two or more separate cards with at least four graphics chips involved, AMD explains.
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