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Day one of CES 2008 draws to a close; earlier in the day, Intel formally announced its 45-nanometer Core 2 platform, based on the previously-announced Penryn architecture. The new chips offer a host of new features, such as SSE4, and up to 6MB of Level 2 Cache. Intel will release the new mobile-centric processors by the end of January, and will be available from a number of different PC vendors, such as Gateway and Sony. Intel's booth presence at CES 2008 is large, with several different areas dedicated to the manufacturing process, mobile applications, home theatre integration, and plenty of hands-on activity.
Vonage today unveiled its new MyVonage product strategy, which includes the new V-Portal device – a single port digital voice adapter and router. A built-in LCD helps users to install and troubleshoot the device, as well as show caller ID, call timing and logging information, with easy access to Vonage’s service numbers. The device also handles advanced features, such as group calling and voice-activated dialing. New customers can purchase the box for $10; an instant rebate brings the price down from $80, while users are still required to pay a $10 shipping charge, and a $30 activation fee.
Palm's major overhaul of its Treo smartphone known only as the Drucker has been spotted, say observers of Microsoft's CES keynote. Although appearing only briefly, the device clearly resembles a cross between a full-size Treo and the smaller Centro or its European Treo 500 cousin; the handset is thinner than older devices but wider. Only some details are revealed in the shot, though it confirms the use of Windows Mobile 6 (likely 6.1 by launch).
Toshiba recently unveiled several new lines of LCD TVs, portable and home DVD players, DVD recorders, and some LCD TV-DVD combo units. The AV500 series LCDs range from 19- to 42-inches in size, and feature a 720p HD image resolution. Dynamic backlight controls can adjust for deeper black levels, and the display is housed in a glossy black cabinet. LCDs in the AV500 series will range from $430 to $1300, and Toshiba expects to ship the various models between February and May.
ViewSonic has introduced the VP 50 Series -- 22-inch widescreen VP2250wb, 26-inch widescreen VP2650wb and traditional 4:3 19-inch VP950b -- displays, which include up to 110 percent color gamut based on the National Television System Committee (NTSC) guidelines and OptiColor technology for better accuracy and more detailed images in any viewing environment. To compliment the increased color gamut, the displays have quick response time, dynamic contrast ratio and four USB ports. Priced at $380, the VP950b combines 1280x1024 native resolution, 2ms response time, 280 nits of brightness (typ). The VP2250wb, priced at $450 ESP, sports a 1680x1050 native resolution, 2ms response time and 3000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. The VP2650wb boosts a 1920x1200 native resolution, 3ms response time and a 3000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (typ) providing the ability to display true high definition 1080i or 1080p content. The VP2650wb will be sold for $580.
LaCie today announced five new devices at the CES trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The company's latest offerings include the newly redesigned d2 Quadra, Little Big Disk Quadra, LaCinema Premier, and the Big Disk Extreme+ eSATA/USB. LaCie also unveiled a new 24-inch monitor designed for creative professionals, which is scheduled to ship later this month starting at $1,050.
Seagate used its share of the CES limelight to unveil a series of solutions intended to enhance the security of its storage offerings and a new family of drives built for DVRs. The new Maxtor BlackArmor is a 2.5 inch portable external storage solution that features National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) certified encryption at a size of 160GB. Maxtor BlackArmor drives are expected to be available in Q2 of 2008 for retail price of $150. Also new is Central Axis software which allows access to data on Maxtor Shared Storage II networked drives via a Web connection without breaching network firewalls. Central Axis technology is expected to be available in March and will be a free download.
Dell tonight hushed speculation and released the 3008WFP, its new flagship. Already available in Japan, the display is only the second ever beyond Dell's own Crystal to optionally pipe video through a DisplayPort connector, enabling higher resolutions than single-link DVI as well as other features. It also stands as Dell's most color-accurate screen and reproduces 100 percent of the NTSC color gamut at a 3,000:1 contrast ratio.
Sony has at last exposed the successor to its Alpha A100 DSLR, the A200. The new camera is also rated at 10.2 megapixels, and is in many respects functionally identical to the A100: the two feature automatic shadow/highlight compensation, as well as built-in image stabilization, which allows shooting at shutter speeds 2.5 to 3.5 stops slower than would normally be required. Memory continues to be supplied by Type I/II CompactFlash cards.
SanDisk today upgraded its Sansa jukeboxes, escalating the fight between flash-based music players. The Sansa Clip (shown at right) now doubles in storage to 4GB but also receives a stylized mirror finish; the effect not only brings the player upscale but creates a stealthy effect for the built-in LCD screen. The View in turn becomes SanDisk's most capacious-ever music player: at 32GB, it eclipses the iPod nano and touch and pulls even with the just-announced 32GB Creative ZEN in storage. More can be added through a microSDHC card slot.
Philips today introduced several new home and personal audio products, also a new line of LCD TVs. Pairing up with RealNetworks, the company’s new Streamium NP1100 relies on the 4.5 million track collection offered by Real’s Rhapsody network, as well as internet radio, and PC music libraries to bring audio to the home environment. The device uses a black and white display to show track information, and has a built-in WiFi receiver to connect with users’ home wireless networks. Philips expects to ship the NP1100 in May for $150.
Magellan this afternoon updated its GPS line with multiple new GPS units. As the beginner model, the RoadMate 1400 (pictured) is still noteworthy as the first widescreen, entry-level GPS: a 4.3-inch touchscreen helps see more of the road ahead and while typing out directions. It also keeps the 3D mode and (on the top-spec 1430) adds real-time traffic warnings with an auto-routing feature to duck around congestion. A basic 1400 model stats at $299 but climbs to $399 for the 1430. Similar 1200-series models with a 3.5-inch screen but similar features start out at $229. Launch dates for these models are unavailable.
Toshiba's computer division is using CES to debut several new updated notebooks, spanning a range of performance levels. At the top is the 17-inch Qosmio Q45, which despite the platform's recent defeat, is joining other Toshiba systems in incorporating an HD DVD-R/RW burner. It also includes a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM and a GeForce 8600M GT card, the last of which supports the monitor's 1900x1200 maximum resolution and HDMI output. Wireless connections include Bluetooth 2.0 and 802.11a/g/n. The system's list price is $3,000, but this can vary with customization.
Belkin has taken wraps off a slew of new products at CES 2008, including new iPhone/iPod cases, an upgraded FM transmitter for Apple's media players, a series of other backpacks and cases, a new KVM switch and a desktop Internet phone for Skype. RockStar is a hub that connects a combination of MP3 players and headphones. Users can attach headphones and hear another user's play list. Or, additional iPods can be added another to mix songs and listen together. The RockStar will be available in March 2008 in the US, priced at $20. Also on the iPhone/iPod roster are the TuneBase FM ($90) and TuneCast Auto, FM transmitters that use ClearScan to seek out the best FM frequency to play the music from your media player. The devices will be available in April and February respectively. Finally, a series of new iPhone/iPod cases, including a slim fit, armband, and travel case have debuted. Prices range from $20 to $30.
Kodak was ready for CES on Monday with a major refresh to its EasyShare cameras. The V1273 is Kodak's first touchscreen camera and uses a 3-inch display as its main control for setting up and retouching the point-and-shoot's 12-megapixel images. It also claims hardware image stabilization, a 3X optical zoom, and outputs images closer to their original quality using the company's existing EasyShare HDTV dock. The V1273 ships in February for $280 and will be accompanied by the similar but 10-megapixel V1073 in March at a $250 price.
Vizio recently unveiled its Black Tie LCD TV line and an accompanying home theatre system, as well as seven new plasma HDTVs. The Black Tie lineup consists of the 42-inch SV42LF, and 47-inch SV47LF; the two models are defined by a 1080p screen resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. Vizio’s Motion Estimation and Motion Compensation technology can upscale any video framerate to 120 frames-per-second to match the TV’s refresh rate. Four HDMI ports are available for use, with two located on the side for quick connection of HD game consoles or video cameras. The Black Tie series of LCD TVs will be available in July, the 42-inch model selling for $1500, and the 47-inch for $1900.
In its second major wave of CES announcements, JVC has pulled the wraps off several new camcorders, and a collection of DVD/VCR combo devices. The camcorders are led by the 7.4-megapixel Everio GZ-MG730, which holds a 30GB hard drive, and uses a CCD sensor with a primary color filter. The main feature is said to be its double-use as a still camera, since it not only incorporates flash, but also shutter and aperture priority modes, exposure bracketing, backlight and spotlight compensation, and a histogram view.
JBL today unveiled a slew of music docks designed for Apple's iPod and iPhone. The company revealed no less than six different docking stations with built-in speakers due to ship at various times between now and Winter of 2008. The company's new offerings include the JBL On Time 200ID, JBL On Stage IIIP, On Time 400IHD, On Stage 200ID and On Stage 400ID, and JBL Duet 200. The company also announced that it is offering its JBL On Stage Micro in new color variations.
Creative today offered a minor updated for CES with new versions of its basic ZEN Stone players and a reworking of its Xdock cradle for iPods. The Zen Stone with Speaker and ZEN Stone Plus with Speaker are unusual among very small players for their namesake speaker built into the back; the output provides unusually strong audio without the need for headphones, Creative claims. The basic Stone also holds more music than before, carrying 2GB of AAC, MP3, WMA, and Audible tracks.
Sony BMG earlier today made its first steps towards joining other labels in eliminating copy protection from music downloads. Rather than offer content through iTunes or other stores directly, Sony will buy cards at stores for the company's Platnium MusicPass service; redeemed cards will then be good for a certain number of tracks in MP3 format from the company's music catalog. Each card will cost about $13 each and should provide access to about 37 albums on launch with more on the way, Sony BMG says. It launches in North American retail chains starting from the 15th and should expand to other territories later on.
SanDisk today set its benchmarks for CES by introducing upgrades to its signature flash memory. An updated version of the SSD SATA 5000 promises to reshape ultraportable notebooks, according to the company; the redesign is thinner at only 5mm (0.2in) deep and is about 30 percent lighter than a spinning hard disk in the same 1.8-inch shape. Storage also increases from 64GB to an uncommon 72GB in the top model to make the most use of available space. Power consumption is still low at just 0.85 watts in peak use and 0.2 watts when parked, SanDisk estimates. Drives ship in the spring but will be dependent on computer builders to integrate them into shipping notebooks.
One of the focuses of Panasonic's CES lineup is the DMP-BD50, a forthcoming Blu-Ray player. The main addition to the unit is support for BD-Live, through an unspecified type of Internet connection; as discs are released with BD-Live features, people will be able to access online extras directly from the player, including multiplayer games. The BD50 also features built-in decoders for DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD, in surround-sound formats up to 7.1 channels.
Canon's time at CES has been spent introducing a completely new line of HD video cameras and upgrading its standard-definition models. Called VIXIA, the premium range is entirely HD-capable and relies largely on tapeless storage. The HF10 serves as the flagship by using 16GB of internal flash memory and offering an SDHC slot that can accept as much or more storage in removable form. This allows it to capture as much as six hours of HD video in AVCHD format just on built-in memory while offering the instant response and skip protection of the flash format. A second model, the HF100, shares the same features but uses only removable SDHC cards for video.
Another Samsung product making an appearance at CES is the SC-HMX20C, a new digital camcorder. Unlike many such devices the 20C plays host to built-in flash memory, amounting to 8GB; this works in addition to any SDHC/MMC+ cards inserted into the camera. Video is recorded on a 6.4-megapixel CMOS sensor with electronic image stabilization, and is generally captured in 1080p at 30fps. The camera is also able to capture at 300fps in 10-second bursts, allowing the creation of slow-motion sequences.
As a part of its CES blitz, Sony has decided to introduce some 17 new Bravia LCDs, divided into six different lines. All of the sets support Digital Media Port accessories to connect the likes of iPods and Walkmen, as well as Sony's Digital Media Extender technology, which allows attachments such as the Bravia Internet Video Link.
The Z Series is comprised of just two models, sized at 40 and 46 inches. Both of these are fully 1080p60/24 capable, and support x.v.Color, an industry standard said to increase color range by 1.8 times. The sets also rely on Sony's 120Hz Motionflow rendering, which improves response in action scenes. Four HDMI and two component inputs are present, along with a lone PC input; the latter two types are limited to 1080p/60. Also included with the sets are USB music and photo players.
Nokia today stepped up its competition with the iPhone in the US by releasing the North American Model (NAM) of the N95 8GB already available in Europe. The device contains as much as its Apple rival but adds support for 3G Internet over the 850MHz and 1900MHz HSDPA bands needed to provide access through AT&T as well as Canadian providers Fido and Rogers. Its built-in GPS also comes with some preloaded US maps, Nokia says. The N95 8GB also expands on the original N95 NAM with a larger 2.8-inch LCD, more RAM, a better battery, and assisted GPS out of the box that uses data to fix a position more quickly than possible with GPS alone.
Intel today ended the wait for its first 45-nanometer Core 2 platform. Based on the same Penryn architecture as the desktop Core 2 and Xeon parts, the new technique allows Intel to ramp up clock speeds in the tight spaces of a notebook without affecting power consumption or heat. The smaller, denser chips also make room for new features, Intel explains. SSE4 media instructions greatly improve the performance of encoding audio, images, and video as well as games when optimized for the new code; the revision also boosts Level 2 cache by 50 percent across the board and offers a Deep Power Down mode that almost completely shuts off the CPU when not in use.
Buffalo Technology today unveiled three new external drive solutions, as well as a new combination HD DVD and Blu-Ray reader-writer, at CES 2008 in Las Vegas. The company says its MediaStation Blu-Ray HD DVD drive is the first device of its kind to allow users to both read and write Blu-Ray content. While the drive can write to Blu-Ray optical media, it is only able to read HD DVD formatted discs. Using a USB cable, users can connect the drive up to a laptop or other mobile device to watch movies. The drive includes a full version of Nero, and will ship during the first quarter of 2008 for $650.
Targus today unveiled a set of new laptop-centric products – the Velos Messenger bag, the Stow-N-Go mouse, the HeatDefense pad, Travel Power Outlets, and DEFCON privacy filters – as well as LCD mounting arms, and a mobile speaker system for MP3 players. The Velos Messenger bag comes in three color styles: chocolate with a chocolate-aqua strap, charcoal with black-lime green strap, and wheat with mushroom-orange strap. Laptops are fully cushioned from both sides, and are protected by a neoprene sleeve. Up to a 15.4-inch laptop can be used with the bag, and the extra removable strap can be exchanged with other Velos owners to make new color combinations. Targus will sell the Velos Messenger bag for $70, and it will be available in May.
Altec Lansing has unveiled its T612 digital audio system for Apple's iPhone and iPod, offering users sound with iPhone incoming call support. The T612 ensures that when a call comes in while music is playing, the iPhone gives priority to the call by pausing the music. Once the call is completed, the iPhone is re-docked in the T612 and the music resumes playing at the same song and place. The T612 is priced at $200 and will ship in February.
Taking the same philosophy it has applied to the original FX, Gateway today used CES to introduce an FX edition of its P-series 17-inch notebook as well as to freshen the desktop line. The portable both adds the cosmetic touches of the FX series and offers far stronger 3D performance courtesy of a 512MB GeForce 8800M GTS. It also supplies HDMI video out for HDTV connections and an external SATA connector for fast external storage. It becomes one of the first notebooks to sell with Intel's Penryn 45-nanometer processors, up to and including the range-topping 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme.
Online music service Napster, which has for some time only sold tracks in a protected Windows Media Audio format, will soon begin selling music in the form of unprotected MP3s, according to Reuters. Starting in the second quarter of 2008, at least a portion of the files sold or offered via subscription will be unprotected, in what may perhaps be the most significant such announcement since Amazon's digital store launch. Napster claims to have some 750,000 subscribers, who make use of both plans and permanent downloads.
Samsung has updated its storage lineup with two of its largest drives yet in their respective categories. The company's simply-titled Flash SSD (solid-state drive) has now doubled in size to 128GB, allowing it to more closely match the capacity of traditional disks but exceed them in performance. The new model is faster than before and writes new data at 70 megabytes per second while reading back at a quicker 100 megabytes per second, all the while eliminating the lag that plagues spinning disks. It also operates far more efficiently and consumes just 0.5 watts while active, according to Samsung.
Samsung today unveiled a second player in its Duo HD line of hybrid Blu-Ray/HD DVD systems. In addition to the delayed BD-UP5000, the company is preparing the UP5500 (pictured right), a more advanced model. Beyond supporting the HDMI 1.3 standard, which enables greater color and high-end 7.1 surround, the 5500 will use the final revisions of Blu-Ray and HD DVD. This should be particularly important in light of the 5500's Ethernet connection, which will let it access online-only movie features, as well as download any firmware updates it needs directly to the player.
Apple is close to scoring deals with most Hollywood studios but may have had to make significant concessions to get a large catalog of titles for an anticipated launch at Macworld San Francisco, sources have told BusinessWeek. While the movie houses have reportedly dropped attempts to protect DVD sales by insisting on month-long delays between physical and digital releases, Apple has had to raise the prices of new-release features at or near the $17 mark common for many DVDs to receive broader support. Which companies have asked for the tradeoff is unclear, though negotiations are purportedly close to extend or add movie sales and rentals from Lionsgate, Paramount, and Warner in addition to Disney and Fox.
Motorola on Monday released two of its more media-centric phones to date. The MOTO Z10 effectively replaces the Z8 and shares the same angled kick-slider action that curves the design when open. The new version chiefly upgrades the camera: in addition to a sharper 3.2-megapixel image (up from 2 megapixels), the camera starts in a relatively quick 1.5 seconds and takes burst shots as quickly as 3 frames per second. It continues to focus on video with full-speed video playback, quicker uploads through ShoZu and YouTube, and a microSDHC slot that holds as much as 32GB of movies and other media.
AMD's turn at CES announcements has added the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series, its latest graphics chipset for notebooks. Similar to what standard Radeon HD 3000 line did for desktops, the Mobility version is said to bring visual and interface features that have never been seen for portables; it adds new graphics shader support for games and other 3D apps that can use the new features of DirectX 10.1 or more recent updates to OpenGL 2.0, such as new lighting techniques. The HD 3000 range also adds PCI Express 2.0 and can theoretically send data out much faster than the original version. This also adds the first-ever option of relaying video to DisplayPort monitors such as Dell's recently announced Crystal LCD, AMD says.
Sling Media very early Monday heated up the challengers to the Apple TV and other media hubs with a finalized announcement of the SlingCatcher, its first device designed to bring computer content to a TV. Using a feature named SlingProjector, the device can output any video on a computer to a TV -- including web video or even video from a Slingbox accessed from the Internet, says the company. A USB connection lets it manually load video or else provides an 802.11g Wi-Fi connection as an alternative to the built-in Ethernet jack. The long-delayed SlingCatcher now has a formal release window and should ship in the spring for $250.
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