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Besides its high-profile PC announcements, HP today quietly began shipping its top-end iPAQ smartphone with a last-minute upgrade. The iPAQ 900 now ships with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional instead of the older 6.0 code and receives the improved home screen along with better mail support. Office Mobile is also packed in with the Professional edition to help read and edit documents on the road.
(Updated with follow-up) The Digifriends M3 MID (Mobile Internet Device) that was unveiled at CES 2008 will be coming to the US market "very soon," according to yesterday's reports that had Digifriends USA's project supervisor Peter Kim as the source. The Korean company's device will likely be offered under contract through Sprint's Xohm WiMAX network as well as NextWave. The device features a 4.8-inch touchscreen with WSVGA (1024x600) resolution and a host of wireless connection options apart from WiMAX, including Korea's WiBro, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.0.
iRiver today announced the launch of its newest portable digital audio player, the Volcano T7. Available in either 2GB or 4GB versions, the compact T7 features an OLED display to showcase data information. Supported audio formats include MP3, WMA, ASF and OGG, which can be uploaded to the USB key-style player simply by plugging it into a computer's USB 2.0 port.
Iomega today announced the release of its DVR Expander drive, made to work with TiVo and Scientific Atlanta DVRs and more than triple their TV program storage capacities. The 500GB DVR Expander interfaces via an eSATA connection, capable of 1.5GBps transfer speeds, and can hold up to 300 hours of standard-definition TV programming or 60 hours of high-def programs.
Toshiba on Tuesday announced the release of its latest mobile projector, the TDP-SP1U. Weighing in at 4.8 lbs, the projector is among the lightest portable offerings in its class, and offers a native SVGA (800x600) resolution along with a 2,000:1 contrast ratio. Unlike typical projectors that make do with four colors, Toshiba's DLP BrilliantColor technology uses six separate colors for a brighter and more vivid picture.
Packard Bell today became the next system builder to update its line with newer platforms from AMD and Intel. The 13.3-inch EasyNote RS65 runs on a Centrino 2 chipset with an unspecified Core 2 Duo processor and joins the increasing ranks of ultraportables at its screen size, with a very thin and extremely stylized design; Packard Bell's signature circular trackpad sports hidden buttons while the rest of the system is backed by chrome trim and brushed black metal. Few other details are available beyond its use of a slot-load optical drive and HDMI video out.
Apple's decision to allow subsidized prices for the iPhone 3G is an admission that it needs to follow the traditional cellphone provider model, Verizon's chief operating officer Denny Strigl claimed at the second day of the Deutsche Bank Conference. The executive downplays the impact of the new cellphone on his own company and contends that Apple and AT&T are simply learning to accept a conventional practice that discounts the phone's up-front price rather than insist on splitting monthly phone revenues.
AVerMedia is developing TV tuners and software to match that will support Mac users, the company said today. A shift from the company's typical Windows-only appraoch will see it release a USB tuner that picks up both analog broadcasts as well as over-the-air digital standards, including Europe's DVB-T. The company plans to supply Mac-specific features such as Apple Remote support and a viewing app similar in style to Apple's pro software.
Record label EMI has finally reached a settlement in a lawsuit against XM Satellite Radio, Reuters notes. The former sued XM over Pioneer's Inno music player, which lets people record on-air streams. EMI considered this a potential violation of copyright, as the player does not distinguish between authorized and unauthorized music, much like cassette players recording off of FM radio. Terms of the settlement have not been announced.
HP continues to dominate in the realm of notebook sales, writes the NPD Group. In its latest quarterly report, the research firm notes that HP shipped nearly 6.5 million notebooks around the world, giving it a marketshare of 20.8 percent. Dell by contrast managed to recapture second place from Acer, but with a share of just 15.1 percent, and shipments just under 4.7 million. Acer slipped to third place with control of 14.6 percent and over 4.5 million notebooks.
Imation kicked off the launch of a new storage line today with the Apollo portable drive. The storage designer plans to separate itself from others by producing an especially thin and light USB hard disk that measures half an inch thick and weighs about 0.35 pounds. Outside, the design is claimed to be durable but upscale with a brushed outside and chrome trim. Like most notebook-class external drives, the Apollo takes its power entirely from the USB port and lets travelers cut down on the number of power cords.
SanDisk today said it has bought out MusicGremlin for an undisclosed amount. The deal is meant to give the Sansa player manufacturer access to the smaller company's still rare direct-download subscription service, which allows members to download an unlimited number of songs each month to the player itself via Wi-Fi rather than first transferring them to a PC. The features will have a "key role" in future Sansa devices, according to SanDisk's Sansa Senior VP Daniel Schreiber.
Nokia shares are no longer recommended after the launch of the iPhone 3G, analysts at American Technology Research said late yesterday. Experts at the financial group dropped their valuation for Nokia from Buy to Neutral in the belief that a raft of "third-generation smart-phone introductions" due for the second half of 2008 and early 2009 are liable to hurt Nokia without clear signs that it can match the same pace. The smartphone industry is increasingly competitive and puts added pressure on the Finnish company, which leads the world smartphone market.
Western Digital hopes today to ramp up the speed of high-end pro and gaming desktops with new Caviar Black desktop drives. The 3.5-inch drive comes in 750GB and 1TB storage levels like many others but includes dual processors as well as 32MB of cache that are said to speed up moving data on the drives. This added edge could be crucial for video editors and others who depend on short load times, the company says. A locked-down motor shaft and a read head that never touches the drive platters both keep the drive quiet and also reduce the physical wear on the disk.
Norway's Telenor has expressed interest in buying its Scandinavian competitor TeliaSonera in light of the latter's rejecting an initial France Telecom bid, TeliaSonera board member Elof Isaksson says. He declines to elaborate on the seriousness of the deal but is supported by Norwegian industry committee chair Ola Borten Moe, who says the union of the two telecoms companies would be beneficial. The Norwegian government owns a majority stake in Telenor.
Rivals to the iPhone 3G are turning to experience over sheer feature set to promote their devices, according to statements made by the respective companies. Palm in particular defends the slower load times of its 3G-capable Treo, which was outperformed by the 62 percent faster iPhone in load times, by arguing itself a veteran. Palm has had 3G-class devices "for years," according to an official from the company.
HP's performance label Voodoo PC today launched a complete overhaul of tis designs with systems that directly challenge the design aesthetics of the MacBook Air and the Mac Pro. The Envy 133 notebook joins both the Air and the ThinkPad X300 in the newer class of ultra-thin but still fast portables: the use of an LED-backlit screen and a carbon fiber chassis help the Envy measure 0.7 inches thick at every point while weighing under 3.4 pounds. A new generation of Intel's notebook platform helps reach these dimensions while still supplying speed, the company says. Voodoo's design is also the third after those from Apple and ASUS to sport a multi-touch trackpad with support for pinching and scrolling.
As part of a wider device launch, HP this morning upgraded its monitor lineup with a screen it claims is the most affordable display yet for video editors and other pros working in color-accurate situations. The DreamColor is designed with help from DreamWorks Animation SKG and uses a rare 24-inch LCD panel that produces 30-bit color, generating more than one billion colors; the color range is 64 times that of even better everyday LCDs and also results in blacks four times deeper than normal LCDs. An LED backlight both contributes to a better contrast ratio (1,000:1) and also ensures that colors are uniform across the entire screen.
HP on Tuesday completely replaced theTouchSmart PC with a new design more conspicuously aimed at the iMac and a recent crop of Windows-based all-in-ones such as the Gateway One. The IQ500 series expands from the earlier 19-inch screen to a 22-inch model that also eliminates the separate floating display: the entire computer is stored behind the main display and uses a slot-load optical drive as well as side-mounted ports to keep the design thin. The touchscreen interface has likewise been given a makeover with a new Cover Flow-like fan layout for choosing music from album covers, an enhanced image editor, and an application tray that gives users access to many more touchscreen-driven apps than the original.
HP today gave virtually all its notebook line both a cosmetic and performance update, including some of the first Centrino 2-based notebooks. The Pavilion series is now said to have a subtler look with displays that are flush with the bezel, silver-on-silver insides, and a new Imprint finish on the outside. The Intel-based systems use their new notebook platform to supply both faster Core 2 processors as well as faster X4500 graphics on systems that go without dedicated video hardware, while a similar match uses the platform behind the Turion Ultra platform. Improved touch-sensitive media controls and an External SATA port are common across most systems, HP notes.
As part of a wide effort, HP today gave its business notebooks a refresh that includes a brand new model. The EliteBook signals one of HP's first rugged notebooks and is designed to survive both cosmetic and internal damage: anodized aluminum on the palm rest and outside shell keep the computer free of scratches, while a magnesium honeycomb cage and an anti-twist 14-inch display prevent impact damage from ruining the system's innards. The casing, shock-resistant hard drive, and spill-proof keyboard help meet US military-grade 810F levels for survivability in extreme temperatures as well as vibrations and very damp environments.
Canon on Tuesday announced a new entry-level d-SLR: the EOS Rebel XS, which along with the recently introduced EOS Rebel XSi, replaces the popular Rebel XT and Rebel XTi cameras. The company has decided to rollout some of the advanced features in its XSi features, but left out others to reduce-costs and differentiate the new entry-level d-SLR. Sporting the company's new Digic III processor and a new live view mode, Canon's EOS Rebel XS has a 10.1 megapixel image sensor that is almost identical to that used in the Rebel XTi (short of the XSi's 12.2 megapixels, but higher than the 8MP on the original XT); the new Rebel XS also features a 2.5-inch LCD, which is larger than the 1.8-inch on the XT but smaller than 3.0-inch LCD on the XSi).
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