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The second day of CES has drawn to a close, with many companies making major announcements about new products and services. Intel unveiled its 45nm Core 2 mobile platform with integrated SSE4 and 6MB of cache, available in speeds ranging from 2.1GHz to 2.8GHz. Microsoft announced that its Xbox Video Marketplace service will see content from Disney-ABC and MGM, and formally denied rumors that Xbox 360 with built-in HD-DVD is in planning. HP's MediaSmart gear was given a complete overhaul, while also introducing several new laptop products. Seagate was on hand to show a number of different new storage options, while RealNetworks showed various products that use its Rhapsody media service.
Garmin is preparing a special device that it will launch next week at Macworld, says an official company blog. Though the GPS manufacturer expects to demonstrate typical Mac-compatible hardware and software at the show, it also claims to have a mystery project nicknamed "Bobcat." No details are provided for the product, though company blogger Chet expects it will receive a warm reception.
To complement its brand new AQUOS HDTVs, Sharp at CES is also unveiling a new Blu-ray movie player. The BD-HP50U is the first player from Sharp to support Blu-ray's Final Standard Profile 1.1 spec and can handle features that were previously reserved for HD DVD or other very recent Blu-ray readers, such as picture-in-picture commentary. HDMI 1.3 also features heavily in the new reader, according to Sharp. Using the new output provides support for the standard's deep color (also known as x.v.Color) as well as the ability to output Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD in full 7.1-channel surround.
A new concept notebook unveiled at CES by Dell reveals the likely direction for future displays for the company itself as well as other portable makers. Confirmed by the company's official blog, the unnamed PC is built around a 16-inch display that follows a 16:9 aspect ratio closer to many HDTVs than the tall, 16:10 displays found on most widescreen notebooks. The LCD also reaches a 1920x1080 resolution that exactly matches the output needed for 1080p movies, such as those offered on Blu-ray. Dell currently offers Blu-ray as an option for multiple Inspiron and XPS notebooks.
Sony has confirmed that its PSP handheld will soon support Skype, the free VoIP program. Like the desktop versions of Skype, the PSP version will allow people to make free calls to other Skype users, and paid calls to landlines and cellphones; for convenience, contact lists and account details will be viewable (and alterable) without first connecting to a PC. The PSP client will become available with a system update later this month, and will add a Skype icon under the home menu's Network category.
Sony's CES announcements are continuing with several new sound systems, most of which are in some fashion compatible with the iPod. The first two are shelf-based stereos, the CMT-BX20i and the CMT-BX50BTi. These feature docks inlaid directly into the main body, which in addition to piping out audio and recharging the battery, allow distant control of an iPod via the included remote control. The BX20i has an AM/FM radio and a single-disc, MP3-compatible CD player, which displays ID3 tags when available; total RMS power is 50W. It will be ready in February for $130.
Verizon has used CES to introduce the SMT5800, its own adaptation of the HTC Vox smartphone. Like its reference model, the device attempts to merge the best of candybar phones with full-keyboard phones by including a conventional number pad on the front but hiding a slide-out QWERTY keyboard on the side. Windows Mobile 6 and its accompanying Office Mobile are preloaded and help check 'push' mail and contacts through Outlook as well as provide basic Excel, PowerPoint, and Word editing away from work.
Yahoo recently introduced Yahoo Go 3.0 at CES 2008, an update to its suite of internet utilities for mobile devices. Revisions to Yahoo Go were based on customer feedback, such as an updated user interface with many new features, a personalized start page, and support for third-party "widget" plugins. The new interface is designed to be both aesthetically pleasing, while maintaining a high level of functionality, optimizing the small screen on most cell phones. Users can view available components in either the traditional icon view, or the new carousel layout.
Joining in with other notebook makers, Fujitsu has launched an update to its LifeBook range to use Intel's Penryn-era mobile processors. The 17-inch N6470 (shown) is considered the PC builder's desktop replacement and ships with a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo that helps with general performance as well as playing HD movies through the optional Blu-ray drive. It also improves storage with dual 300GB drives (or 600GB total) replacing the 250GB disks (500GB) of the older model but carries over the Radeon HD 2600 graphics.
JVC unveiled its new KD-NX7000 combination CD/DVD player with built-in GPS navigation, and has announced the return of its KD-NX5000 unit. The device features a 7-inch LCD, and a removable smart faceplate that includes a proximity sensor, illuminating buttons as the user's hand approaches. Users can also play media and use navigation resources simultaneously. The player comes preloaded with real-time traffic information for over 80 metropolitan areas in the US and Canada, with over 12 million points of interest. Maps are upgradable, while traffic reporting relies on the built-in NAVTEQ traffic RDS tuner. Pricing and availability for the new unit was not available.
Acer took advantage of the immediate wake of CES' opening to revamp one of its larger Aspire notebooks. At 17 inches, the 7720 is intended as a full substitute for a desktop but tries to balance between this and cost: the system uses a new budget Core 2 Duo clocked at 1.66GHz but balances this with 2GB of RAM and a 256MB GeForce 8400M GS that offloads much of the graphics work for games, HD video, and Vista itself from the CPU. It also carries a relatively large 250GB hard drive.
Microsoft's now six-year-old Windows XP came with many more computers in 2007 than its Vista replacement, according to Microsoft's own statistics at its CES keynote. Though outgoing company chief executive Bill Gates touted that Vista had crossed the 100 million-unit sales mark before the end of 2007, InformationWeek notes a Gartner assessment which claims that about 255.7 million PCs will have been sold over the course of the year, leaving Vista with just 39 percent of the new PC market despite going on sale early in the year, at the end of January. With most remaining systems shipping using a variant of Windows, the statistic points to almost 60 percent of all PCs shipping with the older XP variant -- or a more than 50 percent larger number than its newer counterpart, according to Electronista calculations.
OQO's presence at CES is being used to release new options for the model 02, its Windows-based UMPC. Buyers can now choose a new SSD drive, doubled in size from 32 to 64GB; the option is significant in that few full-sized notebooks offer a 64GB SSD, let alone a device as small as a UMPC. The model 02 has also been given the option of a "sunlight-optimized" display, making it more practical for people working outdoors. The previous screen continues to be the default.
Microsoft has no plans whatsoever to produce an Xbox 360 with HD DVD drive built in, according to IDG News. Rumors to the contrary have circulated for some time, but Jeff Bell, Microsoft's VP of global marketing for interactive entertainment, says there is "absolutely" no HD DVD-equipped Xbox in the works. Microsoft has to date backed HD DVD over Blu-Ray, mainly through its optional add-on drive; Bell now says that the company is taking a neutral position, letting users pick which disc format they like through separate players. Microsoft also supplies on-demand HD through the Xbox Live Marketplace.
iRiver has announced a full three new media players, each with a substantially different design. One of the most notable of these is the LPlayer, a compact model most likely intended to compete with the iPod nano or the Zune 4/8. The front surface is dominated entirely by a two-inch screen, suggesting touch control; regardless, it does feature FM radio, and comes in 2, 4 and 8GB sizes sharing four different colors (white, brown, purple and cyan). No prices or release dates have been disclosed.
As part of its efforts at CES, Sony has revamped nearly all of its Handycam models for the new year. The HD models now all receive face detection that auto-focuses on as many as eight human faces in a given scene and adjusts color balance to properly capture the subjects. For these HD cameras, more time is spent on encoding video for these pixels than the rest of the scene, Sony says. Topping the range, the SR12 (pictured) and SR11 are also the first Sony home cameras to use a new 5.7-megapixel sensor that nearly doubles to 10.2 megapixels for still photos alone or 7.6 megapixels while also recording video; this dual-record method can also be sustained on these models up to their storage limits. The SR10 uses a smaller 2.4-megapixel sensor that can take as many as five 3-megapixel shots in a similar mode.
Display builder ViewSonic has announced eight new LCD TV sets (not pictured), all from the company's recently-created VTV division. The best-performing models are those in the 90 Series, all of which feature an ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuner, HDMI 1.3 support, and digital noise reduction. Additionally, the 26-, 32-, 42- and 47-inch versions all have a swiveling base, which is omitted for the 52-inch TV. The 26- and 32-inch screens are limited to 720p, but 1,500:1 contrast and 6.5ms response time start at the 32-inch mark, as does the inclusion of three HDMI inputs. 1080p becomes available starting at 42 inches.
As a quick follow-up to its phone announcements at the start of CES, Sony-Ericsson today released the HBH-PV712 Style Edition. The Bluetooth earpiece is targeted at women who want hands-free calling but are still image-conscious: in addition to three different faceplates to match its colors to clothing, it also incorporates an ear hook designed to accommodate long hair. Carrying the headset is also unique. While a pouch keeps it and its companion phone from being crushed in a bag, a necklace bundled with the headset lets women hang the headset from their neck without its seeming out of place with dress clothes, Sony-Ericsson claims.
Apple today introduced its first comprehensive update to the Mac Pro since August 2006. Using the 45-nanometer Penryn architecture that forms the foundation of the Xeon 5400 line, the new workstation clocks at up to 3.2GHz with a faster, 1,600MHz bus and as much as a 12MB Level 2 cache. Using 800MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM memory, the system can hold as much as 32GB of memory across eight slots and has 61 percent more memory bandwidth than the past model, according to Apple.
Continuing a wave of announcements, Samsung has uncovered another version of its Q1 UMPC (pictured), the Q1 Ultra Premium. The machine now runs on a faster 1.33GHz Core Solo processor, and is fitted with 1GB of DDR2 RAM. The lithium-ion battery should now provide 7.5 hours of use instead of 4.5, and the computer's signature split keyboard has been given larger caps for easier typing. Specifications should otherwise remain unchanged, including the default 80GB hard drive, SD/MMC slot, and wireless in the form of 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.0. Samsung has not announced a price and release date for the Premium, but the price of other Q1s will drop in order to clear inventory.
Mitsubishi today revealed details about its laser TV technology following its debut at CES. Based on technology from Australian firm Arasor, the approach is said to produce far more accurate light than possible with either LCD, plasma, or rear projection techniques. Where an average TV can only display 40 percent or less of the visible spectrum, the beams from a laser TV can produce double the color and create a far more color-accurate image on the screen, Mitsubishi says. The precision also improves over other technologies and prevents color bleeding or other artifacts.
Film studio Paramount is likely to return to the Blu-ray camp after Warner's highly publicized abandonment of HD DVD, according to sources reportedly in touch with the Financial Times. Those "familiar with the situation" claim that the Hollywood firm has a clause that will let it drop its months-long HD DVD contract for exclusivity in the case that Warner defects. This will save the company from having to produce HD movies in the disc format regardless of whether genuine support exists, says the report. DreamWorks Animation, whose movies are distributed by Paramount, may also follow suit.
Motorola unveiled the Z10 and ROKR E8 media phones during the first day of CES 2008, as well as several new speaker products. The compact EQ5 and higher-end JBL-powered EQ7 speaker systems use Bluetooth to interface with compatible music phones to provide richer sound than the phone's built-in speaker. The Bluetooth-based ROKR S9 headphones were another highlight, giving users a utilitarian, albeit sporty headset option. Motorola had plenty of demos on hand to demonstrate to curious show-goers.
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