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Averatec today unveiled two semi-ruggedized laptops, the Voya 4473 14.1 inch model, and Voya 6494 15.4 inch widescreen version, both of which offer users a drop- and vibration-resistant design, with a spill-resistant keyboard and touchpad. The laptops are constructed from magnesium alloy, with corner bumpers and an anti-shock mounted hard drive. Specific pricing for the two models was not readily available, but Averatec says the Voya lineup starts at $1300.
3K Computers today unveiled the Longitude 400 Mini Notebook, an ultraportable that features a 7 inch LCD and full size keyboard in a 2 pound design. The Longitude features a 400Mhz single-core processor, with 512MB of RAM and a 4GB internal flash drive for data storage. 3K also provides 802.11b/g wireless connectivity, and a 10/100 Ethernet port for networking. The Longitude 400 is available directly from 3K Computers for $400.
Dell today unveiled a "never before seen" environmentally conscious computer clad in bamboo, which occupies 81 percent of the space typically taken by a traditional PC tower. While specifications were sparse, Earth2Tech reveals that the computer is made of 70 percent recycled materials, such as old bottles, milk jugs, and detergent cases, and that it would be available later this year for between $500 and $700.
Consumers who bought ASUS' Eee PC 900 in Hong Kong are accusing the company of misleading them. Review copies of the highly anticipated mini-laptop featured a higher-spec battery which is not yet available to the public and ASUS claims it shipped by mistake. The company is now giving a free battery upgrade to buyers who purchased the Eee PC 900 on its launch date.
Yahoo on Tuesday afternoon set the groundwork for its resistance to Microsoft's proposed takeover by posting its fiscal results for the first quarter of 2008. The search engine firm says it that its revenues for the period ended March were just over $1.8 billion, a nine percent increase over the same period a year ago; the company also claimed just over $1 billion in profit, an 11 percent jump versus the same period in 2007.
In addition to its 605 GPS upgrade, Archos today has also upgraded its TV+ media hub with both preloaded content and a new Internet streaming feature. The French company has signed a deal with Paramount that will see the movie studio offer movies both preloaded on the device's built-in 250GB hard drive as well as available through Archos' media store. For the latter content, users will have the option of downloading videos either to a Mac or Windows PC for sideloading on to the TV+ or directly to the device itself.
Archos this afternoon launched the 605 GPS, a combination of both its staple 605 Wi-Fi media player and a navigation add-on. The attachment provides a SiRF III GPS receiver that integrates tightly with the media player; when docked in a special car cradle, the 605 and its module supply driving directions as well as features normally available only in dedicated mapping units. The device can subscribe to either free or paid traffic warning systems and includes a one-year free subscription to an accident notification service. Archos' system is intelligent enough to recognize a signal drop and will simulate position changes until a satellite lock returns.
A US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a Microsoft appeal that would have barred the ongoing Vista Capable lawsuit from entering class action status. The court's decision lends support to arguments by the plaintiffs that a large group of users have been hurt by allegedly misleading system requirements for the Vista Capable logo, leading many to buy systems that are ultimately unable to run the Windows variant smoothly.
LaCie on Tuesday announced its newest Rugged Hard Disk with a 500GB capacity. To protect the generous amount of mobile data, the drive is encased in a scratch-resistant aluminum shell which is then surrounded by a shock-resistant rubber bumper. That disk is Hitachi's 2.5-inch Travelstar 5K500, available with either a standard USB 2.0 or an optional USB 2.0/FireWire 400/800 interface for faster transfer speeds.
Sony on Tuesday introduced four E series projectors that it says can alternately suit both home theaters and users presenting from notebooks. The VPL-EW5 (shown) is Sony's first-ever budget projector to support a native widescreen output, letting it natively display 720p HD footage and exactly match the display resolution of most newer portables. It and the rest of the line also use the company's newer BrightEra 3LCD chipsets to produce a relatively bright 2,000 lumens and a 700:1 contrast ratio.
Specs and an image of Sony Ericsson's newest phone, the G502, made it out a day early. The EDGE-enabled G502 features a 2-inch LCD with 320x240-pixel resolution. Software-wise, the G has the ability to display Google Maps for Mobile and supports Exchange ActiveSync for synchronizing Outlook contacts and e-mail. Sony Ericsson's NetFront browser can access the internet and download RSS feeds on the A2-based device. Unlike the company's G700 and G900 announced earlier this year, it doesn't have the 3G support, making do with three-band GSM.
iRiver today brought one of its more unusual iPod shuffle rivals to the US. Already available in Japan and Korea, the Mplayer Season 1 goes screenless but uses its resemblance to Mickey Mouse to its advantage for control: listeners skip tracks and adjust volume by twisting the Mplayer's ears. The small and light design also lets iRiver use lanyard headphones that spare the need for clips.
Microsoft's acquisition offer for Yahoo -- now valued at $43.2 billion -- will not rise, regardless of how well the latter company has done in its latest quarter, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Yahoo will announce its first-quarter results later today, and is expected to show signs of pulling out of a two-year decline, a factor which may increase investor confidence in the company's management. Similarly, Reuters notes that Yahoo executives may use this to protest Microsoft's $31-per-share offer as undervalued.
Production of AMOLED panels should finally reach mainstream levels in 2009, according to Woo-Jong Lee, the VP of Samsung's mobile display marketing group. AMOLED is one of several display technologies that may replace stalwarts like plasma or LCD; in particular, AMOLED is said to provide higher contrast and response, as well as wider viewing angles and longer battery life. The difficulty so far, according to Lee, has been production costs -- at present, AMOLED is only economical for smaller products such as cellphones, and continues to be rare regardless.
Netflix is cooperating with four other device makers beyond LG to develop network set-top boxes, the company has said while discussing its latest financial results. The movie rental agency had originally announced just its LG partnership in January but now says that three "major" companies are also developing media hubs that will bring the Netflix Internet movie streaming service to HDTVs. A smaller fourth company is also involved.
Sony on Tuesday announced it will once again delay the launch of its Home virtual online world for its PlayStation 3 gaming console, with the new date slated for sometime in the fall. Last September, Sony said Home will launch early in 2008. If Sony holds to the new date, this latest announcement would mean the interactive online service will arrive about a year after its intended launch date. The company did promise a limited-test service is planned to start this summer.
Creative's upcoming ZEN X-Fi media player may hinge on Internet-based storage as a selling point, says a new tip sent to epiZENter. While the player is already anticipated to offer local sharing between users, a "reliable" source indicates that Creative wants to use the device's Wi-Fi for accessing a remote collection; users would subscribe to a service that offers a multi-gigabyte Internet storage space for holding music; users could then access songs they can't fit on the player simply by streaming them wirelessly.
Toshiba this morning gave the same attention to its Satellite Pro notebooks that it did for its new Satellites. Hoping to jumpstart interest in students and pro users, the company has launched five new models with both a redesigned look and new internals. The L300 and L300D serve as Toshiba's baseline with either Intel Core 2 Duo (L300) or AMD Turion 64 X2 (L300D) dual-core processors and a 15.4-inch screen while offering just the essentials; systems start at $699 for an L300D with a 1.9GHz AMD chip as well as 1GB of memory and a 120GB hard drive, scaling up to a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and a 160GB disk in the $799 L300.
Ricoh on Tuesday announced its newest digital camera, the G600, which is water- and dust-resistant. The camera is meant for outdoor sports use and as such, is rugged enough to withstand a near five-foot drop. To earn a MIL Standard 810F rating, the 5x optical zoom lens is all internal so it never protrudes from the body, making it invulnerable to damage when dropped. The 10-megapixel G600 is otherwise optimized for harsh conditions, with big buttons that can be operated with gloved hands and a rating for use in temperatures ranging from 14F to 104F. The new camera is also able to shoot movies and take photos at under up to 3.3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
AT&T today said it had generated "strong" results for the first quarter of 2008 that it says are owed primarily to its cellphone business. The American telecoms firm earned a total of $30.7 billion over the three-month span, up 4.6 percent from the same quarter in 2007 after adjusting for marketing income related to the past BellSouth acquisition (otherwise at 6.1 percent); however, wireless income grew by about 18.3 percent over the same period and was helped by an increase in the amount spent on data features for these plans: spending on Internet access, over-the-air downloads, and messaging spiked by 57.3 percent, AT&T says. Data in various forms now accounts for as much as 21.5 percent of AT&T's cellphone income, up from 16 percent a year ago.
Expanding on an early look at the Mobile World Congress show, LG on Tuesday officially launched the KF700. An enhanced cousin of the Venus (KF600), the phone provides a larger, 3-inch touchscreen and aims to fix some of the control limits of these phones; aside from including a slider keypad, a dial on the back lets users quickly jump to music or other functions at different points in the touch interface. The interface mixes and matches, letting users zoom in or out of websites with the dial and supplementing typing on the keypad with touchscreen input for special characters.
Sony BMG today said it would join Nokia's Comes With Music unlimited music service, adding support beyond the initial Universal Music Group catalog. The announcement confirms recent rumors of talks and will let anyone purchasing a Comes With Music-based phone download unlimited music over the course of a year-long subscription. At the end of the term, phone owners can keep any downloaded tracks and either pay for a Nokia Music Store subscription or buy music a la carte.
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