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Toshiba late Monday solved two of the frequent problems of notebooks at once with the release of its GSG series hard drives. Though measuring the same 1.8 inches across as many ultraportable disks, the GSG drives spin at 5,400RPM -- much faster than the 4,200RPM of most same-size drives and enough to provide the same speed expected of larger 2.5-inch notebook drives. It also connects through Serial ATA rather than the more common Parallel ATA for 1.8-inch drives, giving it more headroom for quick bursts of data.
Lenovo tonight preempted its own schedule and officially launched the ThinkPad X300, its own attempt at the new 13.3-inch ultraportable class effectively launched by the MacBook Air. The release system largely matches early details and exchanges speed for expandability while ranging between 0.9 and 0.7 inches thick and weighing as little as 2.9 pounds. Using the small CPU package as the Apple system, the X300 is clocked at a lower 1.2GHz but gains a drive bay that allows for an internal DVD burner or extended battery as well as three USB ports and gigabit Ethernet. It can also be upgraded to the same 4GB of memory as bulkier notebooks.
Claiming to mimic the design of its Viera line of Plasma televisions on a handheld device, Panasonic has introduced the P905iTV, a new sliding handset featuring "one-segment" mobile TV on Japan's DoCoMo network. The device offers frame conversion technology from 15 frames to 30 frames per second on 3.5 inch full-wide VGA large screen. The new handheld's screen has a contrast ratio ratio of 4000:1 and uses "LCD Artificial Intelligence" which adjusts the brightness of a display automatically and LSI based on "UniPhier" for mobile phone for power saving. The phone also features 3G international roaming and HSDPA, autofocus 2.0 megapixels camera with six-axis image stabilizer and link functions to audio and visual equipment.
Microsoft has announced a dramatic price cut on its HD DVD add-on for the Xbox 360. The movie player, which once sold for as much as $180, is now being sold for just $50; it continues to be bundled with a Universal Media Remote and Peter Jackson's King Kong, effectively negating the cost of the player entirely. This may suggest that Microsoft is trying to clear as much inventory as possible while HD DVD discs continue to be available in stores.
Currently limited to offering only rebranded Sprint service, Qwest today said it was mulling the possibility of a new wireless deal that would increase the company's stake in the buusiness for cellphones and wireless data. While short on details, company chief Ed Mueller explained that there was a "hole" in the company's strategy that needed to be filled but also said that Internet and video services also needed a boost.
Cellular giants Nokia and Qualcomm have taken steps towards lessening the damage of their legal battle, reports say. The companies have announced that they will not start any new patent infringement cases, and will place some current ones on hold, consolidating the rest into a licensing case scheduled for July 21st in the US District Court for Delaware. The case could thus take on monumental importance.
In an attempt to make money again in its flat TV venture, Pioneer is reportedly stopping production of 42-inch and smaller plasma displays and buying them instead from Hitachi or Matsushita, which supplies panels to Panasonic. The consumer and auto electronics maker will focus instead on manufacturing panels at least 50 inches in size, while ending production of its smaller panels as early as March 2009 in its native Japan.
The leader of Sony's gaming software division is resigning, the company has announced. President Phil Harrison will officially end his term with Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide (SCEW) on February 29th, and will be replaced by Kazuo Hirai, the chief of Sony's overall gaming division, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE). After 15 years Harrison is said to be pursuing new opportunities in the game industry, although no particular direction has been suggested, Reuters notes.
Intel is planning to ramp down production of its now-old Core 2 processors quickly to make room for Centrino 2, notebook manufacturers say. Rather than gradually shut down production of the old chips, the semiconductor firm intends to make the new, faster platform the dominant platform virtually on launch. While its current platform (nicknamed Santa Rosa) is expected to make up about 60 percent of all notebook platform sales for the first quarter of the year, that number will plunge to about 35 percent during the spring as Centrino 2 and its accompanying processors reach the market.
Planning to disrupt what it believes is a static phone industry, startup carrier EMobile today announced its first service plans for its home country of Japan. Instead of requiring a monthly fee or having customers buy prepaid blocks of time, the new service will operate largely on a metered system. Customers pay roughly 17 cents for every 30 seconds of call time; they can also buy unlimited local calls for slightly more than $9 per month if they are regular users, EMobile adds. In exchange, the carrier asks customers to use 3G Internet access over HSPA up to 7.2Mbps for between $19 and $55 per month depending on the level of access.
Information has purportedly leaked on two upcoming Intel technologies. Foremost is a new Xeon CPU codenamed "Dunnington," which is said to use three dual-core processors based on 45nm Penryn technology. The CPU should use a shared 16MB L3 cache, but each core pairing is described as having 3MB of L2 memory. The chip is further said to have a 1,066MTs interconnect, and thermal design power rated under 130W.
Verizon this afternoon said it would publish the first version of its Any Device, Any App specs on March 19th at the Open Device Development Conference. Simply titled Version 1.0, the spec will mark the earliest opportunity for companies and other device makers can produce or modify devices to have them work with the company's newly opened service. Future weeks will see Verizon help match software written for the Verizon network to the smartphones and other devices that will run them, the carrier says.
Apple may finally be preparing to update its MacBook Pro notebooks, leaked information suggests. While the regular MacBooks shipped late last year, and the Mac Pro desktops were updated in early January, some shoppers have been waiting impatiently for an upgrade to MacBook Pros before buying a new computer. Three upgraded systems are said to be listed in the inventory management systems of Apple and resellers such as Best Buy with new SKUs (i.e, Apple model tracking numbers): MB402LL/A, MB403LL/A, and MB404LL/A.
Acer plans to make a big push for HD-capable notebooks in the spring of this year, the company's Taiwan head explained on Monday. The executive clarified previous rumors and says that the computer firm will have two notebooks available in the spring with the world's first 16- and 18.4-inch widescreen notebook LCDs; unlike the slightly tall ratio of most displays, these will fit the wider aspect of most movies. Both should be sharper than hinted in the early leak and will be capable of a full HD (1920x1080) picture. Both will appropriately ship with a Blu-ray drive for playing HD movies.
AVerMedia has a new option for avid TV viewers looking to record iPod-ready video, the company said today. The AVerTV Bravo Hybrid plugs into a PCI Express slot and picks up HD signals through ATSC and ClearQAM tuning as well as NTSC for analog signals. Relatively unique to the expansion card, however, is native H.264 video encoding: TV up to and including 1080i and 720p HD can be captured in the format both to save disk space and for downscaling for use on some video-capable music players, such as iPods. A special gaming mode for Windows Vista systems with Media Center can guarantee that both audio and video are in sync for time-sensitive titles.
Nokia on Monday veered from its tradition of unveiling shipping products by introducing the Morph, a long-term concept phone developed in tandem with the University of Cambridge. The handset is based on nanotechnology developments that may be realistic for future products and is split into two devices: a detachable speaker either clips to the ear as a headset or to the main phone as a speaker; the phone itself would use nanotechnology to provide a touch-sensitive display that is at once flexible and translucent. Future developments could even see a phone like the Morph clean itself and eliminate the fingerprints that plague most touchscreen devices, Nokia says.
Responding to criticism from groups such as Greenpeace, Apple has implemented a new recycling program designed to reduce the damage of mass consumption. In addition to products like iPods, people can now also recycle cellphones, produced by any manufacturer. There are two main options for sending devices to Apple: they can either be delivered in person at an Apple Store, or else mailed to a central location.
Hynix this morning took a step towards expanding the RAM limits for many computers by targeting an upgrade its DDR2 line at a niche audience. The company has successfully developed an 8GB memory stick that offers registered, double-rank memory for previous-generation AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon-based workstations. Though clocked lower than today's latest memory, the new capacity is reached through controllers that can handle twice as many chips as before: this permits using inexpensive one-gigabit chips stacked together in place of two-gigabit models, according to Hynix.
Fujitsu today said it would not be left out of the mobile storage race and updated its MH-series drives with the MHZ2 BT, its first 500GB notebook-class disk. The 2.5-inch drive is comparatively slow at 4,200RPM but draws just 1.8 watts of power in peak use, ensuring that it can run for long amounts of time in notebooks and other energy-sensitive devices. This performance is the best in class, Fujitsu claims. Idling and sleep power use are also said to be lower than any other disk in the category along with noise, which is an exceptionally low 2.1 decibels.
DivX on Monday said it would shut down Stage6, its web video hosting service. The decision was made to focus on the company's self-titled video format and encourage its use on other platforms, such as the PS3, Xbox 360, and alternative websites. The shutdown blocks new uploads as of today and will see a complete shutdown of the site by February 28. Companies hosting their videos on Stage6 are being helped to migrate their videos to other pages, DivX says.
Sony today broke from the normal cycle of camera updates by releasing two updates to its Cyber-shot lineup. The W300 is the first truly compact point-and-shoot to cross the 12-megapixel barrier and produces 13.6 megapixels without extra bulk. The extra depth also provides headroom for high-speed shooting: by dropping to three megapixels, the camera can shoot at five frames per second for an extended period. Hardware image stabilization is built-in but can also be backed by a special ISO 6400 sensitivity mode that eliminates blur at the expense of noise.
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