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A new update for Nokia's 8GB N95 smartphone adds some features conspicuously similar to that of the iPhone. The v15.0.015 firmware firstly adds support for YouTube, which on the iPhone and iPod touch is given a dedicated browser; on the N95 however, users must visit the site through the phone's web browser. The update also finally lets N95 owners run web widgets, which are present on the iPhone in the form of the Weather and Stocks applications.
Verbatim's contribution to pre-CES announcements is a significant overhaul of its SmartDisk portable hard drives. The new versions now top out at 320GB of storage but also offer the option of a combo FireWire and USB model; users can pick whichever format they can use. Both are completely bus-powered and run without the use of a power brick, making either an ideal choice for notebook owners whose carrying space is at a premium.
Pinnacle Systems today debuted Pinnacle Video Transfer (site not updated), a device that record analog video onto any USB 2.0 storage device without the need for a computer. With the touch of a button the company says users with little or no technical expertise can record from a TV, DVD player, iPod, or other device to a USB flash drive or USB hard drive. Users can select three different recording levels for each device, opting for varying video qualities and sizes. Pinnacle Video Transfer will ship January 15th for $130, and includes three RCA audio/video cables as well as a power supply and a quick start guide.
Hitachi Maxell today introduced an SRS WOW HD-enabled Bluetooth audio transmitter (site not updated) for iPod to enhance sound quality of the portable player's digitally compressed audio and video files. The new Bluetooth-enabled dongle is compatible with all full-size iPods as well as iPod nano and iPod mini, and uses the proprietary Apple DIN connector that attaches directly to the iPod dock. The company offered no shipment details or pricing.
Pharos Science and Applications today announced a new geologging hardware product called Pharos Trips and Pics, which is designed to interface with any digital camera. Trips and Pics allows users to do a photo catalogue of their travels for personal or professional purposes. By using the iGPS-500 receiver with a pocket battery unit, users can upload the post-trip data to their computers through USB, where Trips and Pics presents a step-by-step set of download instructions. Pharos Trips and Pics will be available for purchase at major retail outlets in January for $90.
Portable electronics maker Parrot has begun shipping the DF7700, an unorthodox new photo frame. While nominally a standard seven-inch digital display, it ships with its own SIM card, complete with a dedicated phone number. This allows any cellphone owner, including friends and family, to upload to the frame from wherever they are, so long as they have been given the proper number. Over 500 images can be stored on the frame, and alternate upload methods include a USB port and an SD slot. At the moment however, the DF7700 is only being sold through a French wireless carrier.
Joby said today that it would take Bluetooth headsets upscale at CES with the Zivio. The company's first earpiece is not just comparatively stylish but one of the very few to offer a retractable microphone boom. Adding this extension improves outgoing clarity for a phone call in noisy conditions; with a shorter distance to the mouth, the microphone is less likely to be hobbled by strong winds, according to Joby. The Zivio is likewise purported to be easier to wear with a removable, ball-mounted ear hook that pivots to hang depending on the ear's shape.
This year will be the first that the world's dedicated portable media player market will show clear signs of having neared or reached its peak, according to a new study published by iSuppli. While growth in 2007 was already cooling off compared to the rush of early years, having edged 8 percent ahead year-over-year, 2008 will represent considerably slowed results. Predictions have sales income expanding by only 3.5 percent; the slowdown is expected to continue until at least 2011, where growth may be virtually non-existent at just 1 percent higher than it is today, according to the report. At least some of this can be attributed to lower-cost music players, which may sell in greater numbers but ultimately generate less revenue than in the past.
Corsair vowed a new benchmark in removable storage today with a pair of extra-high capacity jumpdrives. Both the rubberized Flash Voyager and the water-resistant Flash Survivor both now hold 32GB of data, allowing users even in harsh conditions to carry a large amount of content without fear of losing it through a sudden drop. Roughly 16 full-length movies could fit on a single drive, Corsair touts. The storage is bootable and has enough space that users can fit both a core operating system and needed apps, effectively creating a virtual computer.
CES will signal the debut of the Neo FreeRunner phone, maker OpenMoko has announced. Though based on an existing phone called the Neo 1973 (pictured), the FreeRunner is touted as the world's first mainstream phone to run on an open-source software platform, beating out any rivals running Google's Android. It specifically uses GNU Linux, enabling any coder with the skill to write a third-party program.
The FreeRunner also represents a technical upgrade over the 1973, as it has a 500MHz processor, 3D graphics rendering, and an updated assortment of applications. 802.11b/g Wi-Fi enables fast Internet access, and some commands can be triggered through motion sensors.
Entering an increasingly heated race for smartphones, ASUS today revealed that it will launch its P527 smartphone in the US. The candybar sequel to the earlier P526 not only includes true GPS for navigation but is designed to make better use of its mapping abilities than other devices. A Travelog feature can be especially useful for vacationers and workers alike, according to ASUS; when set, the software will mark travel points and save them in a format that can be used by Google Earth to plot a trip regardless of its distance. Emergencies are handled by a unique Location Courier feature that automatically relays coordinates to as many as five separate phone numbers through SMS text messages.
Westinghouse on Thursday opened up its offerings for CES by unveiling what it says is the first-ever HDTV to be truly wireless outside of power cables: the unnamed set uses CWave's newly established Wireless HDMI format to avoid the clutter of cabling. Courtesy of ultra-wideband wireless and high quality video compression, the format is said to provide enough speed for 1080p images and surround audio without affecting quality. The technology will allow users to place HD movie readers and DVRs independently from the TV's own location.
Newer Technology (NewerTech) today unveiled its new NewerTech iPhone Accessory Line consisting of six devices, and promised to showcase the accessories at Macworld Expo in San Francisco later this month. NewerTech's new iPhone accessories include its iPhone Speaker Dock & Hands-Free Mic ($35, shown at right), Hands-Free Mic & Earbuds ($20), iPhone Mic Extender Cable ($15), Bass Response Earbuds ($20), iPhone Headphone Jack Adapter ($8), and its iPhone and iPod Auto Charger ($13).
The joint company LG.Philips LCD says it has developed a new type of e-paper display, one which is claimed to be the best in its class. Although built in the standard A4 paper size, measuring 14.3 inches diagonally -- a format LG.Philips has already explored -- the new display is unusual in that it has a maximum resolution of 1280x800, slightly above the 720p HD ratio. It also has an abnormally high range of colors, extending to 16.7 million versus the frequently low-color or monochrome displays of e-book readers such as the Amazon Kindle.
HP wrapped up its primary batch of CES announcements with an upgrade to its MediaSmart HDTV equipment and MediaVaults. The HDTVs themselves now feature a refreshed look and 1080p resolution with every model as well as 802.11n wireless that ensures streaming even high-resolution video across a local network, including CinemaNow movie rentals. Its universal remote also controls as many as four different devices. The sets each bring three HDMI inputs and should be available in the spring, though HP has not supplied prices.
Aerielle today launched its i2i Stream Digital Music Broadcaster, a device that allows users to listen to music wirelessly by streaming music content from any audio device. The company will demonstrate the device streaming CD quality sound for the first time at CES next week. "Whether it's friends hanging out and listening to a single iPod or the desire to stream music wirelessly to speakers in the home, the i2i Stream is the perfect solution," said Art Cohen, president and CEO of Aerielle. The i2i Stream is already available for $70, with 2-packs priced at $130.
Archos is about to announce a dedicated media hub that should offer features simply not possible on the Apple TV or most other media hubs, according to a leak from UberGizmo. Called the Archos TV+, the extender will pull videos from the local network to the TV but will use its connection more intelligently than the current Apple hub: both Ethernet and Wi-Fi can be used to download content directly to the TV+ through an Archos portal site or to browse the web with a mobile version of Opera similar to that found on the Archos 605 Wi-Fi and other handhelds. A new remote will include both a directional pad, a trackpad, and a keyboard.
As promised, Hewlett-Packard today continued its string of CES announcements with both an upgrade to its home tablet PC and its flagship gaming notebook. The tx2000 is the first major update to the 12-inch convertible tablet from HP and now brings an active pen input that simplifies drawing with a stylus compared to the simpler, passive tx1000. It also boosts speed with a 2.3GHz Turion 64 X2. The system will be available as of next week at a base $1,299 price with a 120GB hard drive, DVD burner, and integrated graphics.
Motorola today launched an aggressive campaign to bolster its wireless offerings and began with its first handheld geared just towards mobile TV: the DH01 (pictured) will pick up digital over-the-air broadcasts using the DVB-H standard and allow users to watch without the restrictions of cable or satellite; it will also offer DVR-like abilities with both a five minute buffer for short breaks and an SD card slot that stores recorded TV shows or pre-recorded music, photos, and videos the user already owns. About 90 minutes of TV shows will fit on just a 256MB SD card, Motorola estimates. The built-in battery on the DH01 lasts for four hours of live TV.
Aiming directly at the same retail space dominated by the likes of Acer and HP, Lenovo today introduced its new IdeaPad line of notebooks. The company claims to borrow the build quality of the ThinkPad series but adds that the new range has features just for home users: every model has touch-sensitive media controls, Dolby Home Theater audio processing, and a facial recognition system that uses a built-in webcam for security and other features. The IdeaPads' construction is also unique among home notebooks: each has a "frameless" display that lets the LCD run nearly to the edges of the bezel, allowing the PC maker to place a large screen in a relatively small space.
(Updated with DisplayPort info) Dell on Thursday jumpstarted its CES efforts with one of its most unique displays to date as well as a reworked version of its most popular notebook. The Crystal is Dell's first designer LCD and is designed to be as unintrusive as possible while offering a full media setup: built with a glass frame about 4mm (0.15 inches) thick, the touch controls, wiring, and speakers are all built into the frame surface and allow Dell to create the illusion of a "bare" LCD without the associated clutter. Only one cable typically needs to leave the back of the screen, Dell says. Quality is also evident in the panel itself; though most 22-inch LCDs offer poor color reproduction, the Crystal supplies about 98 percent of the NTSC color gamut and produces a 2,000:1 contrast ratio without sacrificing a 2ms gray-to-gray pixel response time.
Online DVD rental service Netflix and Korean electronics-giant LG have announced that they are working on a set-top box designed to stream movie content directly over the internet to a television. Netflix has long said it wishes to branch out its internet movie delivery feature, which allows members to play content on their PC from a library of over 6000 movies and TV shows. Reuters reports that the device will function in a similar fashion to the PC internet streaming, where users that subscribe to Netflix' DVD rental service would also get access to the TV streaming service. LG says that the Netflix set-top box will be available at some point during the second half of 2008.
Hitachi today unveiled two new large-capacity laptop drives, offering 400GB and 500GB sizes in a 2.5-inch format. The new drives will be slightly larger than a conventional laptop hard disk, rated at 12.5mm thickness versus the typical 9.5mm. The drives make use of a two-platter setup, and use two heads to read data from both platters. Hitachi adapted their Rotational Vibration Safeguard technology from its 3.5-inch drives to the 5K500 series, allowing the drives to anticipate bumps and compensate accordingly. The drives will be available in February, starting at $350 for the 400GB version, with the 500GB model sitting at $400.
HP today unveiled four new desktop computers that it will be showing at CES 2008, three of which are designed primarily for home theatre owners while one is ideal for digital photo enthusiasts. The Pavilion Slimline s3330f uses a smaller tower chassis that is a third the size of a conventional PC. While small, the s3330f upgrades to an AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core 5400+; the option of a dual-format Blu-Ray/HD-DVD player allows users to view high definition movie content, and connects with home theatre systems through an HDMI connector. An integrated TV tuner allows television recording, and the Nvidia GeForce 8500 graphics card can run DirectX10 games. The HP Pavilion Slimline s3330f will be available along with the other systems in February for $950.
In addition to four new multimedia PCs, HP is introducing two new widescreen LCD monitors at CES 2008. Using HDMI and VGA to connect with hardware, the w2207h and w2408h use HP's BrightView technology to provide vibrant image quality. The w2207h is a 22-inch model that supports a maximum screen resolution of 1680 by 1050; the display is also able to pivot 90-degrees for either a portrait or landscape view. Integrated speakers reduce desktop clutter, and the foot allows users to place their keyboard out of the way when it is not in use. HP will be shipping the w2207h in February, selling for $350.
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