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Japanese electronics makers once had (and to some degree, still have) a reputation for eccentric but entertaining gadgets -- devices that were fascinating precisely because they didn't make business sense and did something imaginative that no other device would do. For awhile, that creativity seemed to fade away. The Rolly brings that oddness roaring back in a player that can't help but generate smiles. Whether it justifies its feature set and price tag is the real debate and the subject of our full-length review.
Axiom Audio has announced the availability of its special edition Axiom Garage Speaker—a bookshelf unit. The device is tread-patterned, brushed silver exterior, and is comprised of a 1" titanium tweeter and 6.5" aluminum woofer, each speaker features anti-standing-wave cabinetry and vortex porting. The speakers will play with as little as a 10-watt amplifier, or can handle as much as 175 watts of input power. Axiom Garage Speakers also include a threaded mounting receptacle that accepts most speaker brackets including the company’s Full Metal Bracket. For horizontal mounting situations, Axioms Ceiling Bracket can be used. Axiom Garage Speakers are priced at $375 per pair.
Sony is developing a unique controller that would help the PS3 offer motion-based games like those found on the Nintendo Wii, GamesIndustry claims. Anonymous sources allege that the gamepad would act as usual in most cases but separate into two distinct parts, each of which would have a built-in accelerometer that recognizes movement. The pad is already said to be in the hands of some companies producing games for the PS3 and would let them implement code to support the controllers in advance.
AT&T believes it "inevitable" that its most frequent Internet users will pay some kind of surcharge for the extra demand on the network, says company representative Michael Coe. The official cautions that there are no plans in place but notes that AT&T, like most providers, is facing a surge in traffic on its DSL service that is primarily led by a small group of users and may need to be controlled by charging extra for heavy usage. About 5 percent of customers use 46 percent of overall bandwidth, Coe explains.
EEDAR analyst Jesse Divnich today said that an Xbox 360 price cut or model change is very likely to take place by the E3 gaming expo next month. The researcher doesn't point to specific sources but is confident that Microsoft will either drop prices on the consoles at the event, introduce at least one new version, or combine the two in a single update. It's unknown whether Sony will follow suit with the PlayStation 3, though the company is predicted to respond to any Microsoft cuts with one of its own within two months.
Verizon will let customers see reduced rates on multiple services for the first time without requiring a landline, the carrier said on Friday. The Flex Double Play bundle will let the company's cellular users drop between $8 and $12 from their monthly rates if they also sign up for specific Internet-based services, including either the 3Mbps DSL connection, a 20Mbps FIOS fiber-optic plan, or FIOS TV. Faster Internet plans aren't qualified for the bundle.
Toshiba is preparing its own entry into the world of luxury gaming notebooks, a report claims. Specifications are said to have leaked for the Qosmio X305, which is alleged to be running a 3GHz Core 2 Duo, with support for still faster speeds through overclocking. Video is meanwhile said to be powered through a GTX-level Nvidia GeForce card, with an extremely high 1GB of onboard VRAM. This amount of memory is rare in desktop computers.
The creation and sale of modchips is legal, the UK government has stated. The region's Court of Appeal has ruled in favor Neil Higgs, a vendor who had been selling thousands of modification kits for consoles like the Xbox, which in turn let gamers play pirated titles. Some 26 charges were filed against Higgs in late 2007, but as a result of today's ruling, they have all been invalidated. Higgs will also receive full compensation for his legal costs.
Sharp today fulfilled promises made last year with news that it will begin selling what's believed to be the world's largest single-panel HDTV. At 108 inches diagonal, the LB-1085's screen is designed with public view in mind and produce a relatively rich picture for a large screen likely to be seen outdoors. While the contrast ratio is limited to 1,200:!, the 1080p image displays with as many as 76 million colors, or far more than the 16.7 million of most LCDs.
Korg late yesterday previewed a new set of music controllers for artists whose studio or live work centers around notebooks. The nanoSeries attaches through USB and is small enough to sit in front of a portable on stage or in a tight recording environment either to play software instruments or to control MIDI devices. The nanoKONTROL caters most to electronic artists with stand-ins for mixers, including nine equal sets of fader and knob controls as well as 18 switches. It also comes with a discount for Ableton Live to get new DJs started on live electronic performances.
Acer late yesterday unveiled a DLP projector in its Professional series explicitly tailored to wireless use with PCs: the P5260i takes the earlier P5260E and adds 802.11g Wi-Fi that allows it to stream media directly from a computer without needing either a cable or an adapter. The projector can natively play AVI, DivX, MPEG-1/2/4, WMV, and XviD videos along with the raw VOB files normally found on DVDs; although the projector itself outputs at 1024x768 resolution, the P5260i can accept both wireless and wired feeds up to 1080i or 720p.
Intel is prepping a surprise launch of a new budget line of quad-core processors in a matter of weeks, say component makers in Taiwan. A variant of the Core 2 Quad to be called the Q8000 series will slot below full-featured Q9000 chips and offer both a lower clock speed as well as drop a pair of features to upsell certain customers to better parts. VT technology that helps accelerate virtual machines will be absent, as will TXT (Trusted Execution Technology) used to help lock down PCs at some businesses. The goal is to undermine AMD's three-core Phenom X3 processors.
Gigabyte today gave release info one of the first known ultra-mobile PCs using Intel's Atom processor. The M528 will first appear in the Taiwan area in late July and should be priced in the middle of the UMPC range at an equivalent of $750; the device centers around the extremely energy-efficient 800MHz version of the Atom that should extend battery life even with additional performance and features versus the earlier A110 chip.
Verizon finished its week through the launch of the Nokia 6205 Dark Knight Edition. Tied into the Dark Knight movie, the clamshell phone both comes with the title's logo on the back as well as a preloaded trailer, backgrounds, ringtones, and screen savers. Buyers of the phone also get an opportunity to enter a contest to win $10,000 and other prizes linked to the movie.
ASUS on Friday unveiled a new LCD series its 22-inch range that takes the company's displays further upscale. The LS221H is 0.98 inches at its thickest point and uses materials that are rarely found on LCDs, including leather on the bottom half of the frame and an extra-hardened glass that both prevents scratches and also improves visual quality by allowing more light through and reducing glare. The panel itself is considered above-average with a 4,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio as well as separate dynamic color adjustments.
The European Union today warned carriers in its member states that it would start regulating the roaming rates for data and messaging in the region without voluntary price drops. While not saying what would dictate the regulation, Commissioner Viviane Reding explains that the government body will start posting Europe-wide prices in the next two weeks and will likely demand that most prices be regulated lower if not dropped voluntarily.
ASUS late yesterday set out tentative American pricing via LAPTOP for its Eee PC 901 and 1000-series micro notebooks. The 8.9-inch Eee PC 901 will sell for $599 in the US for both the 12GB Windows XP-based version or the 20GB Linux model; the 10-inch Eee PC 1000 will sell for $699 with as much as 40GB of flash memory. The special hard drive-based 1000H will use its less expensive rotating storage to drop the price to $649 while doubling capacity again to 80GB.
Qik on Thursday added iPhone compatibility to its live internet streaming capture service – Qik is avidly used by investigative journalist Robert Scoble, among others. Qik allows users to create a live stream from an internet-enabled camera device (such as the iPhone) for live reporting coverage, or other similar instances. The service requires users to be signed up with a data plan -- an unlimited plan is highly recommended for the amount of data used by the app.
Dell's foray into the mini-notebook market has been dubbed the new "Dell E" series, which will include two different screen configurations: the 8.9-inch model is designed to take on the Asus Eee 900, and the 12.1-inch "E Slim" may be a rival to the MacBook Air and Lenovo X300 (and its successors), according to Engadget. Defining a new product category called the "Mobile Internet Device" for 30 minutes of web experience (vs. 3 min on an Smartphone: "iPhone" pictured), Dell says the new Atom-based mini-notebook line is designed to bridge the content/usability gap between cell phones and full notebooks. The light-weight "mini-Inspiron" notebooks, first revealed earlier this month, tout "no moving parts" with flash-based drives, DDR2 RAM configs, 802.11g WiFi access (with WiMax expected sometime after October of this year), user-replaceable batteries, 'instant-on' functions for quick/convenient access, full-size keyboards, and a built-in low-res 0.3MP Web camera; they will be available with "limited configurability" and limited colors starting in August with a second version due in the second quarter of 2009.
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