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D-Link began establishing its presence at the upcoming CES expo with news of the Xtreme N Duo, its first mainstream wireless router to provide dual network bands. The device can operate on the 2.4GHz frequency used by most forms of Wi-Fi while simultaneously running a 5GHz network for 802.11a and 802.11n networks. Setting up the router this way allows a relatively interference- and lag-free connection for games, video streaming, and other features that demand 802.11n's higher speed while still providing a separate network for less speed-dependent hardware.
In addition to its iPod- and iTunes-enabled stereos, Alpine has laid bare its new PND-K3 GPS units, which will be shown off at CES 2008. Each has a 4.3-inch touchscreen, and comes pre-loaded with maps of Canada and the US including Alaska, Hawaii, and territories such as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Over six million points of interest are featured, and music can be played back through the navigators' SD slots. Menus are animated and can be given custom colors.
This year should represent the first where notebooks overtake desktops in units sold for the US, says new data from research firm IDC. The company notes that sales of portables in in the US climbed by 21 percent last year to 31.6 million systems while desktops dropped by roughly 4 percent, to 35 million. This rate should continue long enough to place notebooks on top sometime this year, IDC notes. The momentum should also lead to a similar change worldwide by 2009 and may lead to notebooks representing more than two thirds of all business (66 percent) and home (71 percent) computer sales just two years later, in 2011.
LG will use this month's CES expo, being held in Las Vegas, to demonstrate its new mobile TV technology, according a report out of South Korea. CES will mark the unveiling of MPH, the Mobile Pedestrian Handheld standard. It is intended for broadcasting digital, over-the-air TV to portable devices, regardless of where they are being used; LG claims that signals can reach MPH devices going as fast as 55mph. Perhaps most crucially for broadcasters supporting the technology, it will be able to operate over the same frequencies as the existing VSB standard.
Vuzix this afternoon preempted CES by releasing a new set of its iWear video glasses tailored just to frequent console gamers. The AV920-C switches out the basic video inputs of most such glasses for inputs usable with modern consoles such as Sony's PS3 or the Nintendo Wii; beyond standard RCA, the new eyewear also packs component video for higher-quality analog sources and HDMI for purely digital signals from the PS3 or newer Xbox 360 systems. Although capped at a 640x480 resolution, the placement of the LCDs in the screen creates the equivalent of a 62-inch TV. This should let users play multiplayer games with friends in the same room without losing a competitive edge, Vuzix boasts.
The concept of Palm's now-defunct Foleo companion is still alive, reports say. Celio Technology has announced the Redfly Smartphone Interface System, a device which allows Windows Mobile phones to take advantage of keyboards, trackpads and larger displays on Bluetooth 2.0-connected "Mobile Companions." The initial Companion weighs just under two pounds, has an eight-inch screen, and has an estimated battery life of eight hours.
Nokia's 5610 XpressMusic slider could soon be available in the US with a full feature set, according to a new FCC approval. The filing confirms an Americanized version of the phone and that the shipping device is ready for full 3G Internet access through AT&T: it should support fast HSDPA Internet access on the 850MHz band as well as the 2.1GHz service it already uses in Europe, according to the report. Legacy access to EDGE and GPRS data are also likely.
Crucial today became the latest storage producer to explore solid-state hard drives with a new take on the formula. Simply titled the Crucial SSD, the 2.5-inch disk holds either 32GB or 64GB of memory and is meant as a faster, more durable drop-in replacement for conventional rotating hard drives. Like most of its kind, the SSD has no moving parts and is almost completely skip proof; without the need to spin, it also has an access time of under 1 ms and often performs faster than the old technology, Crucial says. Unlike most such drives, however, the new disk is not limited to the inside of a computer. A new external kit converts the device into a USB drive for easily removable storage.
Sony's PlayStation Portable should receive the ability to make voice over IP calls through Skype in the near future, the company itself has inadvertently leaked through its own CES 2008 site. The page for the PSP suggests that the handheld's owners can soon place calls to friends and fellow gamers using the device's Wi-Fi access and a special version of Skype's Internet calling software. No feature of the kind has been announced for the PSP in North America and would require additional hardware to supply a microphone, which is likely to stem from Sony's Go!Cam voice and webcam hybrid.
Joining a host of early CES announcements, SanDisk has uncovered the Cruzer Titanium Plus, an upcoming USB flash drive. The stick holds up to 4GB, but its key selling point is intended to be simultaneous online backup; when users connect the drive, it can be set to automatically upload all material to a service run by BelnSync. Users must, of course, first enter a password, and it will not attempt an upload until a working Internet connection is detected.
Display maker Microvision has announced the Show, a new portable projector based on the company's recent PicoP technology, and intended to be tinier than current rivals as well as better-performing. The device is is small enough to fit in a person's hand, and is also less than a third of an inch thick, making it thinner than some modern media players. The latter are one of the intended pairings of the Show, along with cameras, cellphones and notebooks.
Axiotron has begun shipping its Modbook tablet Mac, a modified MacBook with a built-in Wacom digitized pen-sensitive liquid crystal display. The only Mac-based tablet on the market won the Best of Show award at Macworld Expo 2007 after debuting at the event. The Modbook features a 2.0GHz or 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Inkwell handwriting recognition software, a 24x DVD combo or 8x DVD SuperDrive, GPS support, and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Modbooks start at $2,300 and include a 1-year warranty.
Qualcomm will avoid a potentially damaging Broadcom-related ban through its own inventions and a special exemption-, both a federal judge and Qualcomm itself have revealed. After failing to dismiss claims by Broadcom of patent infringement for video compression and network technologies, Qualcomm is required to stop selling some chips in the US which use the WCDMA technology at the heart of AT&T's 3G network. However, the federal court has now granted a stay that will let Qualcomm sell some of these chipsets through January 2009 as long as it pays royalties for the technology.
Alpine will soon release a trio of new head-end units for vehicles geared primarily around the iPod, the company has unintentionally revealed through a brochure (PDF) posted online. The iDA-X100, based on the earlier X001, will be one of the first car stereos to support iTunes Tagging. When listening to specific HD Radio stations through the X100, listeners will be able to flag songs and use an attached iPod to sync this information with a computer, creating a playlist of songs to be bought through the iTunes Store. It can also play audio directly from newer iPods through a USB connection, including the iPod touch.
The health of the NAND flash market is now heavily dependent on this month's Macworld Expo, anonymous industry sources say. Demand for flash in North America and Europe is said to be very weak at the moment, foremost because the lucrative Christmas season is over, but also because Apple in particular -- one of the largest memory consumers in the world -- is simply requesting less than it has in recent times. NAND manufacturers are thus hoping that Apple will announce new products at Macworld, restoring demand to the market.
Marvell today unveiled a new version of its TopDog wireless chipsets that could dramatically improve the speed of already fast 802.11n Wi-Fi connections. The 11n-450 will use three transmitters and three receivers to achieve a maximum speed of 450 megabits per second. The connection is 50 percent faster than the 300Mbps peak for today's draft spec 802.11n chipsets and results in even more range: the new chip increases range by 160 percent over 300Mbps models and sports about five times more range than the earlier 802.11g standard, Marvell claims. The advancement should allow multiple streaming videos at once over longer ranges.
Cellphone maker HTC's growth was well below analyst expectations, says a new report from Reuters. Though the company's year-over-year sales expanded by 20 percent in December, the increase was well below a predicted 33 percent -- indicating a cooling effect for the Taiwan firm's rapidly expanding business. The figure represents a steep drop from past months; phone sales climbed 22.3 percent in October but shot upwards to 32.7 percent year-over-year in November, according to official results.
Hewlett-Packard will unveil a sweeping update to Intel's mobile Penryn architecture for its notebooks as well as new special edition model, according to leaks from Notebook Italia and other sources. After quietly updating its Pavilion line to the x700 series in December, the system builder is now poised to issue a second update that will take advantage of the faster 45-nanometer processors; every Intel-based model from the 14-inch dv2700 to the 20-inch HDX9200 will have the option of at least a new 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo and will scale up to a 2.5GHz version in most cases; the HDX model will swap out this chip in favor of an updated version of the 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme with a larger 6MB Level 2 cache as well as all the improvements that come from Penryn, the leak reveals.
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