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In an attempt to establish itself as an environmentally-friendly brand while offering a stylish and unique product, ASUS last year announced bamboo-covered notebooks. Recent reports cite that the laptops include the company's 11-inch S6 series and 12-inch U6 series, appear on the Chinese market by June at prices starting at an estimated equivalent of $1,600.
Westinghouse Digital on Wednesday released its seemingly double-jointed PT-16H610S HDTV. The company dubs the TV a Flexible Lifestyle Display, and is built around a 16-inch LCD capable of reproducing HD content in 720p (1366 by 768 pixel) resolution. The TV's mounting and adjustability options live up to its namesake, as it can be hung upside down as on a kitchen cabinet or mounted on a wall, thanks to dual hinges and an image that rotates by 180 degrees.
Sony Ericsson today posted results for the first quarter of 2008 that suggest a significant downturn for the cellphone producer. The Japanese and Swedish partnership says it shipped 22.3 million cellphones over the period ended in March, or an increase of just two percent over the same quarter in 2007. It also notes that net income dropped by a significant 48 percent year over year to 133 million Euros ($211.4 million). Price margins on its products also dropped slightly to 29.2 percent.
Fujitsu has announced a new desktop system, the F/A50. The computer represents part of an increasing trend in the PC world, in which low-cost PCs by the likes of Gateway and Dell have attempted to reproduce the all-in-one design of Apple's famous iMac. Similarities in this case are extremely close, as the A50 features an identically-proportioned case, rear-mounted ports, and glowing indicator lights buried under plastic. The display is smaller however, measuring 16 inches, which limits it to 1366x768 resolution.
Cable provider Comcast is devoting significant resources to developing a wireless service of its own, information sent to GigaOM says. The company currently offers a rebranded Sprint service in select areas but is now said to be readying a dedicated division with at least one cellular veteran at the helm: Dave Williams has already jumped to Comcast as its new Chief Technology Officer from Telefonica in Europe and already has experience with Cingular (now AT&T) and the former SBC.
BenQ on Wednesday unveiled three new digital cameras with the DC C750 and DC C850 from the company's Compact & Classical range along with the DC E800 in the Elegant & Stylish range. The 8-megapixel E800 incorporates a 2.7-inch LCD screen and is able to shoot 640x480-pixel 15fps video or 30fps MJPEG movie format at half the resolution. The 3x optical zoom camera has a maximum low-light sensitivity setting of ISO 1600.
Alcatel-Lucent today began court proceedings for the next of its lawsuits against Microsoft. The plaintiff argues in its complaint that Microsoft's Xbox game systems violate a 1993 patent relating to the code for generating video frames. The US/French partnership says that it will use its jury trial to demand $1.50 for every alleged misuse of the patent but is not yet clear as to which uses apply to the suit. The suit could potentially apply to each Xbox sold before the conclusion of the trial.
HTC is developing two new phones that will replace some of Sprint's most popular smartphone models, according to a spec sheet leak handed to Engadget. The Raphael (shown) appears to be device spotted in a phone collection and will replace the Mogul QWERTY keyboard slider with a sleeker black design, a 3-megapixel camera, and Wi-Fi. Preloaded Windows Mobile 6.1 will also let HTC ship a 640x480 resolution display four times sharper than allowed on Windows Mobile today.
Not long after HP and Gateway introduced older versions of the processor to a handful of desktop systems, AMD today unveiled an upgraded Phenom X3 CPU. The chip is a cheaper alternative to AMD's X4 technology, and is unusual in the industry for having a triple-core design, where most processor lines immediately skip from two cores to four. The new editions fix a TLB bug, which is said to be rare in earlier X3s but could potentially affect computers under high strain.
Samsung has exposed final details on the BD-P1500, a fourth-generation Blu-ray player first hinted at in January. The drive is 1080p-capable, and has an HDMI 1.3 output with CEC support, allowing control through home theater systems. Also present on the unit are an upconverter chip -- which scales to maximum resolutions -- and ports for USB and Ethernet cables, intended to simplify the installation of firmware upgrades. Compatible audio codecs include Dolby Digital, Digital Plus and TrueHD, but will exclude DTS-HD until "later" in 2008.
Toshiba hopes to quadruple the capacity of its solid-state drives in the foreseeable future while cutting their production costs, the company's semiconductor chief Shozo Saito has told an audience at an IDEMA seminar in Japan. The electronics manufacturer isn't set to ship its 128GB drive in computers until June but says process refinements will let it store up to four data bits per memory cell and shrink the chipmaking process to 30 nanometers by the end of 2009, allowing the company to offer a 512GB drive in that timeframe.
AT&T today became the first American provider to pick up the BlackBerry Pearl 8110, RIM's first version of its narrow phone design to supply built-in GPS navigation on a GSM network. Like the 8130 for CDMA networks, the 8110 provides live position updates in real time; in AT&T's version, the new Pearl is targeted at the TeleNav-based AT&T Navigator service and uses the feature to supply driving directions without permanent map downloads. The upgraded handset is also the first from AT&T to run a custom Yellow Pages app for finding and using contact information.
Microsoft late yesterday stirred controversy by telling former customers of its shuttered MSN Music service that it will shut down its license activation system for the service by the end of August. Although it allows customers to play any purchased songs on existing operating systems and computers, any music transfered to a new PC or OS install after the cutoff date will no longer be authorized to play.
Applying the same visual effect to its computer displays that it has to its 6 series HDTVs, Samsung on Wednesday rolled out its Touch of Color LCDs for the desktop. All have the same blown glass effect with red accents at top and bottom but garner the most attention for their unprecedented contrast ratios: dynamic lighting lets every display output up to a 20,000:1 contrast ratio, putting them in competition with better HDTVs and not simply other monitors.
In an unusual deal, Apple has announced a decision to buy PA Semi, a microprocessor design company. An Apple spokesman, Steve Dowling, has declined to elaborate on the reasons or terms of the deal, except to say that Apple "buys smaller technology companies from time to time," and it does not comment on "purposes and plans." It is atypical however for the company to buy hardware firms, particularly as it has come to rely on ready-made components from a variety of manufacturers such as Intel, Samsung and Infineon. A source cited by Forbes claims the deal cost $278 million in cash.
Samsung today revealed that two of its smaller Yepp MP3 players will make their way Stateside. The S2 Pebble (pictured) is the company's take on the formula of the iPod shuffle and Creative ZEN Stone and goes without a screen both for cost and for portability: the device is small and light enough to ship with lanyard earbuds. However, Samsung's version adds controls normally absent on these players, including EQ settings and an FM tuner. OGG audio support is also unique along with more typical MP3 and WMA. The American edition of the Pebble ships with 1GB of storage in five different colors and will be ready by June for $39.
Iomega on Wednesday announced the release of its portable ScreenPlay HD Multimedia Drive with a 500 GB capacity. The NTFS-formatted drive can be hooked up to a high definition TV via its HDMI or component video outputs, among others, to play HD content. Navigating the photos, music and video content on the drive is accomplished via an included remote control and on-screen interface.
Microsoft today unveiled what it says is a solution to keeping information in sync across not just multiple computers, but handhelds as well. Live Mesh is a platform similar to but expanded on Apple's .Mac that creates both a 5GB personal storage space and also tracks all the associated devices. Users can upload files, folders, and sometimes programs to their Mesh either as shared or private content that can be swapped between devices; actions performed in the Mesh are in turn pushed as news items that can be shared with others. As with an RSS feed, users can let friends know when vacation photos are posted or collaborate on projects, including through live chat with others viewing the same folder.
Fulfilling promises set yesterday, Sony Ericsson today has launched two new 3G phones, including one destined for the US. The G502 is the third device in the handset maker's G series and is one of the few non-Windows phones to explicitly support Microsoft's ActiveSync for pulling Exchange contacts and e-mail in real time. The phone is one of the company's first in the class to support HSDPA Internet access and uses this both for fast e-mail downloads and for Google Maps, RSS feeds, and a custom weather forecast tool.
Sony is making movement to finally unveil Socratto, its in-house answer to Apple's Shake software, which it acquired from then-startup Nothing Real. A European patent application indicates that Sony is close to realizing its long-discussed video effects software, after ironically losing control of the Shake project when members of the company who worked on the project were hired by Nothing Real. The move comes after Tim Schaaff, a former senior Apple executive, joined the effort in 2006.
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