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Canon helped inaugurate next week's PMA show tonight by upgrading its entry digital SLR. Now dropping "Digital" from the camera name, the EOS Rebel XSi jumps from 10.1 to 12.2 megapixels while also using the same DIGIC III image processor as higher-end cameras such as the 1D Mark III. The switch provides a 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion process, better autofocusing, highlight tone priority, and noise reduction at high ISO levels up to the camera's ISO 1600 peak; these features are the first for a camera in the class and are joined by auto lighting correction that adjusts brightness and contrast on the fly.
General Electric has announced what will only be its second generation of digital cameras, due in the spring. All of them will feature blink and smile detection, delaying shots for the best expressions. At the top of the compacts will be the E series, led by the E1050 ($249), a 10-megapixel camera able to record 720p video at 30fps. Shooters can output the video to an HD display, and control various functions though a three-inch touchscreen. Its lens is capable of 5x optical zoom, and its light sensitivity extends to ISO 3200. An optional GPS receiver can geotag images.
Samsung today gave owners of the original AT&T-branded BlackJack smartphone a Windows Mobile 6 upgrade. The patch brings the phone up to the same Windows Mobile 6 Standard base OS as the more recent BlackJack II, supplying it with an improved web browser, "push" Exchange e-mail with HTML support, and Office Mobile for basic editing on the road. The update also provides AT&T-specific features previously locked out of the device; one-way Video Share calls on the carrier's 3G cell network are now possible.
Pentax joined in the slew of updates for the PMA photo expo this afternoon with updates to its K-series digital SLRs. Looking to earn the same reputation as its larger rivals, the company's flagship K20D jumps from 10.1 to 14.6 megapixels compared to the older K10D but also switches to a new CMOS sensor; this eliminates much of the noise that appears with conventional CCD sensors at mid-to-high ISO sensitivity levels used for shooting in low light, the camera maker explains. It also extends that ISO range to 6400 and supplies hardware image stabilization through the body rather than the lens.
Only months after its introduction, Samsung has already decided to discontinue the BD-UP5000, its hybrid Blu-Ray/HD DVD movie player. The unit was to have been one of the most powerful players Samsung had produced, with 1080p24, HDMI 1.3, and an Ethernet port for Internet content; users have reported substantial problems with it however, such the inability to run HD audio codecs, or properly view discs such as Sunshine or 3:10 to Yuma. Other problems have included troubles with with standard DVDs or the 4:3 aspect ratio.
Quickly responding to advance details, Dell this afternoon has already launched Dell (PRODUCT) Red (link active soon), its campaign to contribute to the Red charity's fight against AIDS in Africa. Every device in the campaign provides a percentage of its sale to the charity without affecting the price but also comes in a special red hue; in software, each comes with a special version of Windows Vista Ultimate with six desktops, a Vista Ultimate DreamScene video desktop, a screen saver, and two Sidebar gadgets.
Continuing its Cyber-shot updates, Sony on Wednesday rolled out upgrades to its more mainstream W- and S-series cameras. The W-series receives the largest upgrade with changes both to optics and to their intelligence. The 7.2-megapixel W120 and 8.1-megapixel W130 now provide 4X zoom lenses, allowing them to shoot further than their 3X predecessors; the 8.1-megapixel W150 and 10.1-megapixel W170 shoot further still with a 5X wide-angle lens.
Sony preceded the start of the PMA photography show with a major update to its Cyber-shot cameras, beginning with its highest-end home models. The H10 (shown) replaces the H3 and adds a larger, wider 3-inch preview LCD without sacrificing the camera body's size. It shares the same 10X lens, ISO 3200 sensitivity, and optics-based image stabilization as the earlier camera; a sports shooting mode forces high shutter speeds and nonstop autofocus to capture subjects blur-free in bright areas. It supports uploading music to the camera for slideshows and ships in May at the same $300 price as the earlier model.
A new form of nanotechnology could result in ultra-high density flash memory in less than two years, its inventor Nanochip has revealed. Instead of a traditional technique used in the NAND memory found in many portable devices, the new process would write and help read data using microscopic cantilevers with raised tips that are less than 10 nanometers across; by pressing a grid of these tips against the actual storage, each bit of data can be held in a space just 15 square nanometers versus the 65 nanometers of most current flash memory. A typical chip die would have many such tips and could write data far faster than current technology, the company says.
One of the most popular social networking sites for music, Last.fm, says it is now letting users stream any music listed on the site free and legally. This is as a result of deals signed with EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG, as well as "thousands" of independent labels, all of whom will receive a portion of the website's advertising revenue for each time a track plays. Artists, meanwhile, will receive a unique share of the ad revenue, paid directly. Acts can thus earn some money and exposure without being signed to a label.
Dell today continued its releases with word of its first notebook outside of the Inspiron 1420 to carry Linux. The XPS M1330n is the first high-performance system from the PC maker to come with Ubuntu instead of Windows and adds features that have previously been off-limits to earlier systems running the OS, including the option of a 64GB solid-state drive, a 320GB rotating disk, as well as a display with a webcam and an LED-backlit display. DVD playback support is already installed rather than requiring an add-on software pack, Dell adds.
A 2005 study grossly distorted the role of colleges in movie piracy, the Motion Picture Association of America now admits. Commissioned by the trade group, the study blamed a massive 44 percent of all domestic piracy on college students, who frequently have access not only to broadband Internet connections but high-speed local networks. The MPAA is currently telling educational groups that the figure was a result of "human error," and is in fact closer to just 15 percent, the Associated Press writes.
Dell plans to take contributions to the PRODUCT (Red) charity to a handful of its computers, the company confirmed today. Without expanding on full details, the Texas PC builder says it will release special editions of its XPS M1330 and M1530 notebooks as well as its XPS One all-in-one desktop that are given a special red color scheme. U2 lead musician and (Red) co-founder Bono has contributed to a custom design for the systems, Dell says. Each will also have a special (Red)-themed desktop and Windows Vista gadget sidebar.
The MacBook Air's special processor is not the only example of the ultraportable veering away from Intel's reference designs, Electronista has discovered. People familiar with the internal design of the system have explained that the external Superdrive DVD burner available for the notebook should only be recognized by the Air rather than any computer due to custom requirements from both the subnotebook and its peripheral.
In its second phone announcement in as many days, Nokia on Wednesday has revealed the 7900 Crystal Prism, a deluxe version of the original 7900 Prism released in the middle of last year. The new version emphasizes the already high-fashion design of the original with laser-engraved patterns from designer Frédérique Daubal on the sides and back; the artist also contributes several wallpapers for the cellphone's OLED display that reinforce the geometric artwork of the phone's namesake.
AMD this morning released what it says are some of the first entry-level desktop video cards to provide video features previously reserved for high-end models. Both the starter Radeon HD 3400 under the company's ATI label and more mid-range Radeon HD 3600 series share the same basic architecture as the high-end Radeon HD 3800 but reduce the clock speed and number of stream (graphics shader) processors to bring the price to a reasonable level; where the 3800 goes with a full 320 stream units, the 3400 series goes with 40 and the 3600 uses 120, AMD says. In spite of this, all the new cards support enhanced lighting and other visual effects in DirectX 10.1 and newer versions of OpenGL 2; they are also some of the first to support as many as two DisplayPort connectors for newer, advanced displays such as the Dell 3008WFP.
Motorola's mobile device business took one of its most serious drops in recent memory, the company announced today as part of its quarterly results. The group, which primarily covers cellphones, saw its sales drop in the fiscal fourth quarter by 38 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The shortfall resulted in a $388 million loss versus a $341 million profit at the same point in 2006 and saw shipments of 40.9 million cellphones over the three-month span. Although additional segments such as set-top boxes and business devices fared well, the impact of the cellular business contributed to reduced earnings of 5 cents per share, or $100 million.
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