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As Metal Gear Solid 4 approaches release, Sony and Konami have released definitive details about two previously mentioned console bundles, with some apparent tradeoffs between them. Crave reports that the limited edition gunmetal grey 40GB model features the same downside as the standard version, in that it can not play Playstation 2 game titles. The special edition will, however, come with a soundtrack and a Blu-ray disc with a behind-the-scenes documentary.
XtremeNotebooks on Thursday announced it's the first to offer a notebook with Intel's quad core chips for the United States, with its Xtreme 917-V mobile workstation and server. Offered with a choice of five Intel quad core CPUs borrowed from desktop PCs, the laptop can be optioned up with the latest hardware, including up to three 64GB SSD drives and a Blu-ray optical drive. The 17-inch display is capable of 1600x1050 resolution, but can be upgraded to a 1920x1200 display.
Creative Technology on Friday announced two additions to its PCI Express Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty sound cards with the Professional Series and Champion series. Creative claims the products are the first ever native PCI Express hardware accelerated sound cards. Both cards feature Dolby Digital encoding and single-cable connection for 5.1-channel home theater hook-ups, as well as EAX 5.0 effects and CMSS 3D positional audio support.
ASUS on Friday released details on its P5Q motherboard, which the company says sports five exclusive features. Key among them is Linux-based Express Gate technology that is basically a simplified OS and loads up only the programs that are needed to access the Internet. Instead of waiting for Windows to load up, users are able to access a web browser, IM programs, YouTube videos or email clients in as little as five seconds.
Friday reports have the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) coming out with a prototype of a haptic display with a touch panel function that would allow the visually impaired to control a device or browse the Internet using Braille. Unlike haptic interfaces in mobile devices, which simply mimic the feel of pressing a button with a vibration or other tactile method, the display would produce a series of protrusions and recesses formed by small pins integrated into the display.
Fujitsu is developing a graphics adapter that would give ultraportable or budget notebooks a visual upgrade, according to leaked images from a presentation. Not unlike the ASUS XG Station, the AMILO GraphicBooster would plug into a notebook and receive the performance of a faster video chipset without having to tote a larger system. It also saves energy by allowing users to drop back to integrated graphics just by removing the box, Fujitsu claims in its notes.
A new discovery could dramatically improve the capacity of magnetic hard drives, according to a new discovery made by a Rennselaer Polytechnic doctoral graduate. Paul Morrow has developed a new, nanotechnology-based magnetic storage technique that alternates magnetic and non-magnetic layers and uses a non-magnetic microscope to read the data at the nanoscale level. The advancement would both allow hard drives to read a three-dimensional grid of data but would also permit more information to be packed into a given space.
T-Mobile today opted for a weekend launch of the Sidekick Slide Scarlet, its first special variant of the Motorola-created messaging phone. The new model conspicuously changes the phone's trim from its original purple to a deeper red while keeping all of the features of the original: the Slide is still one of T-Mobile's smallest Sidekicks but offers the full feature set, including its 1.3-megapixel camera, EDGE Internet access, microSD storage up to 4GB, and dedicated AAC and MP3 playback.
Upping the stakes in displays, Shinoda Plasma on Friday showcased one of the thinnest and most unique yet. The example display measures 125 inches diagonally but is just 1mm (0.04in) thick at the actual display itself, or just a fraction of the depth of most plasma HDTVs. Shinoda's invention not only reduces the bulk of the screen but also allows the company to curve the screen and maintain a direct viewing angle even for the edges of the display.
Research in Motion's anticipated BlackBerry Bold cellphone may already have prices and dates for all major US carriers, a report claims. According to a supplied chart, the AT&T version will ship first in July, at a cost of $300; the T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon versions are all scheduled for September at the same price level, with the exception of the T-Mobile device, which is $50 extra. This may be attributable to contract plans not revealed in the chart.
An early photo of Palm's upcoming Treo 800w smartphone has leaked online, accounts say. Posted by a Palm OS hacker, the image appears to resemble both renderings and Sprint's own press image, depicting a device which takes styling queues from its cheaper cousin the Centro. Unexpected however is the color, as the photo model is blue, and previous indications have pointed to a "charcoal" exterior. The hacker adds that the phone uses a micro-USB connector.
The Canadian iPhone is set to be launched in June and will potentially have the least expensive data plan of any carrier announced to date, Electronista has heard. Sources from inside Rogers claim that the device should be available the same month as an expected US release of an updated, 3G-capable model rather than as part of any possible staggered launch. Pricing is still unavailable, though currency values are likely to place the cost of the phone itself closer to the eventual US figure.
Samsung's SDI division today unveiled a demonstration computer it says represents the future of notebooks. The system uses a newly-developed 12-inch AMOLED (active matrix organic light-emitting diode) display that would match the resolution of a same-size LCD at 1280x768 but produce a much better picture: the inherent nature of the technology produces a contrast ratio about "20 times" higher than that of an LCD, Samsung claims.
The top-ranking online electronics stores continue to be dominated by Apple and other specialized sites, according to a new study by ForeSee Results. Both Apple and hobbyist computer store Newegg have tied each other for the highest satisfiaction scores in an examination of the top 100 shops in the US, each reaching the 80-point threshold ForeSee says is necessary to be considered "superior." The company doesn't provide specifics as to why these two topped the charts but notes that its rankings are based on both the actual ease of use of the site as well as the ability to find stock and get it at the right price.
Yahoo is accelerating the process of launching an expanded Google deal to stave off investor Carl Icahn's board takeover attempt and a resulting Microsoft buyout, say alleged sources for the New York Post. The renewed threat of a Microsoft acquisition has supposedly led Yahoo to step up plans that would let any company make bids for ad placements on Yahoo's search system, effectively rewarding Google by handing the bulk of sales to the most dominant ad provider.
ASUS's version of the Eee PC built on the Atom processor will have a few functional changes beyond just the faster chip, according to new reports. Known as the Eee PC 901, the update will add Bluetooth to pair up with cellphones and wireless controllers while also improving the perceived quality: metal is being added to the hinge, keyboard area, and the borders of the trackpad. The notebook will also be the first to drop the ASUS logo and market the Eee PC under its own brand.
Two panel makers are evenly splitting orders for new LCDs to be used in upcoming consumer MacBooks, according to a story in Taiwan's Commercial Times. The newspaper claims that two of the island's more prominent display makers, AU Optronics and Chi Mei Optoelectronics, are being tapped by Apple to produce the screens for mainstream systems that will be launched sometime during the summer. The Times doesn't mention screen sizes or other characteristics of the LCDs.
Microsoft tonight revealed that the highly talked-about OLPC XO - a laptop initially designed for students in developing countries - will ship with Windows XP as an option in August or September, with some countries to get the low-cost ultraportable sooner. Engadget expects that in the future, the operating system will most likely replace the current Sugar front-end offered in the XO, but OLPC has not explicitly said anything to support the theory. The build is allegedly the same as that of the Eee PC, with custom drivers for the XO hardware.
Users of Microsoft Vista's Media Center were unable to record prime-time NBC TV shows on Monday night. Reports maintain the problem was caused by a broadcast flag which activated Media Center's DRM copy protection measures, stopping recordings of over-the-air and cable broadcasts. Neither NBC nor Microsoft have an explanation for the issue, but are looking into it. No other reports of such problems came from users of either DirecTV or TiVo DVR services.
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