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Pinnacle Systems on Monday introduced its PCTV HD mini Stick and Pinnacle TV for Mac HD mini Stick which act as HDTV tuners for PCs and Macs, respectively. Pinnacle claims its USB-powered products are the smallest on the market to offer high reception sensitivity thanks to their integrated signal booster technology. Each includes a remote control and telescopic TV antenna that picks up digital over-the-air TV (ATSC) and unencrypted digital cable TV (ClearQAM) for SDTV and HDTV signals with maximum resolutions of 1080i.
The dual-core Atom CPU from Intel will make its debut in a special edition of system builder Tranquil PC's T7 Home Server, the T7-HSG, easily identifiable by its blue body. Another product from the company, a media center PC, will also use the 1.6GHz Z330 chip, though detailed specs, prices and release information on this system was not revealed. The 64-bit CPU will be paired with a Gigabit LAN port in both the T7-HSG and the media center PC.
Several market indicators suggest the market growth for PCs is slowing down for the second half of this year, according to a UBS Equity Research Report. Several companies have been lowering their third quarter forecasts for unit growth. Compal, original design manufacturer for companies including Dell and HP, has reduced its expectations five percent due to slowing US and Europe sales.
(Updated with official shots, details) Microsoft today confirmed the recently leaked third-generation Zune details that appeared over the weekend as well as filling in new details of its own. The new hardware will be the first from Microsoft to support over-the-air downloads to the Zune, allows tagging songs on FM radio to buy them later, and supports dynamic, themed Channels that can be updated equally wirelessly.
Wireless network provider T-Mobile announced on Monday it will launch its stores and provide service in the markets formerly occupied by SunCom, as well as effectively taking over SunCom's client base. These markets include North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Puerto Rico as well as the US Virgin Islands. T-Mobile's acquisition of SunCom Wireless, first announced in September of 2007, was completed in February of 2008 for a sum of $2.4 billion in cash and assumed debt.
The much-anticipated open source Google operating system for cellphones that is thus far known as Android will make its debut in the UK as early as November, says a Sunday report. Set for battle with Apple's highly successful iPhone, the OS will operate the T-Mobile G1 handset, offered exclusively by T-Mobile in the UK. Stateside, the phone is expected to hit the market during a similar time period.
Sony on Monday announced it will soon begin shipping three new mini sound systems, two of which are network capable and all of which feature built-in drives. The NAS-M500HD and NAS-M700HD sport 160GB hard drives and a 4.3-inch LCD display, while the CMT-E300HD has an 80GB drive and makes do with an 8-color monochrome LCD screen. In addition, the two NAS systems will connect to users' existing home networks via their Ethernet jacks. All will be capable of ripping music CDs and storing the contents on their built-in drives, though the NAS drives can do it at 16x speeds versus just 4x for the CMT-E300HD.
Sony today dropped hints of a significant update to its Reader e-book device through an invite sent to CNET and other technology news outlets. The teaser is unspecific on details but alludes to a "new chapter" in digital reading and makes the current Reader the centerpiece of the accompanying image. The announcement would come in the evening of October 2nd and so suggests more than just a straightforward feature addition.
HP today heated up competition against Dell by announcing a special trim level of the EliteBook 6930p that it believes sets a new record in battery life. Through new firmware and graphics drivers, an Ultra Capacity battery pack, an LED-backlit display and Intel's just-launched 80GB SSD, the 14-inch notebook can last for as much as 24 hours on one charge. The figure if accurate would beat Dell's claimed 19-hour record and would be enough to last an entire Newark-to-Singapore flight with extra power left.
Sony uncharacteristically chose Monday to slip word that it has started shipping the VAIO USB Docking Station, the company's first notebook dock with USB video support. The brick-shaped adapter borrows DisplayLink's technology to give certain VAIO notebooks support for an external DVI or VGA display up to 1600x1200 without using a second cable just for video or for those who already have a second display.
Microsoft's next Windows Home Server may share some design cues from Mac OS X, a job posting by the company reveals. The firm is searching for a software engineer that would design a "slick" user interface for the networked media storage hub, with examples of the intended changes coming from other software. The device will ideally have a visual restore tool similar to Mac OS X Leopard's Time Machine; it should also integrate tightly with Microsoft's own Windows Media Center and Live Mesh interfaces.
Paris-based Musinaut on Monday introduced its MXP4 (Multiplied Experience Platform in 4D) product suite which is made up of the MXP4Creator and MXP4Player. The former is designed to allow artists to add to, edit or transform their original tracks to enhance them, while the latter is made to let listeners enjoy these new creations. The new MXP4 file is a single download, and contains the original song and variations the user created, called skins, that can include acoustic or dub versions of a track, or other information including lyrics, album release dates as well as a commentary.
A second run of the One Laptop Per Child project's Give 1 Get 1 program will begin on November 17th, writes Laptop Magazine. The founder of OLPC, Nicholas Negroponte, has announced that beginning on that date, shoppers at Amazon.com will be able to pick up an XO notebook of their own for $399, with a second system being sent to one of the poor countries it was designed for. The first 100,000 to 150,000 people to buy an XO will get theirs immediately, claims Negroponte.
ASUS on Friday announced it will soon release its first handset, the P552w smartphone, or what the company calls a PDA phone. While closely resembling the HTC Touch with a pseudo-3D touchscreen user interface that also looks very close to HTC's TouchFLO -- nicknamed "Glide" by ASUS -- the ASUS smartphone features a faster 624MHz processor versus the HTC's 201MHz CPU. ASUS also equipped its phone with 3.5G HSDPA data access, a GPS receiver that works with Google Maps in some countries outside of North America, and an 802.11b/g Wi-Fi module.
Intel has quietly begun shipping its first company-designed solid-state drives. The Mainstream SSDs are aimed at more affordable notebooks and ultraportables and trade some of the data write speed of the Extreme drives in exchange for a lower cost. The final versions of the Mainstream drives write at a still-fast 70MB per second comparable to desktop hard drives but read at a far faster 250MB per second with just 85 microseconds of latency; Intel claims this speeds up an outfitted computer's loading speed by as much as nine times in boot times as well as some general use.
Nokia's first touchscreen phone, the 5800 XpressMusic, could be due in exactly one month, according to a purported leak from a source to JAMP. The apparently UK-based insider claims that the mid-range device will ship to the island country on October 8th and may be joined by additional launches in other countries as well; the source doesn't name any carrier exclusives.
AT&T has come in last or near-last for call quality in virtually all of the US, according to JD Power's second wave of 2008 call quality rankings. The carrier placed last in four out of six regions and was never able to produce better than a three-out-of-five rating in the results, which measure the number of dropped or failed calls as well as the quality of calls themselves and the responsiveness of the text and voicemail systems. Verizon led the results with the top spot in three of the areas and was followed by Alltel with two wins; both Sprint and US Cellular tied for third with one lead each.
Some 32.2 million smartphones were sold worldwide in the second quarter of 2008, says the Gartner research group. While this was a 15.7 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago, the poor surrounding economy is said to be hurting the ability to buy such expensive products, whether new or as a replacement. The market was in fact buoyed substantially by the release of Apple's iPhone 3G, along with a slate of other touchscreen devices, all of which should help restore normal growth in Q3. Smartphones continue to account for about 11 percent of total phone sales.
Sony on Monday reversed another one of its longstanding blocks against third-party support with news of a Designed for Walkman program. Similar to Made for iPod, the program finally allows third parties to develop and sell accessories for Walkman players based on Sony's proprietary WM-PORT connector; similar to the program for Apple's Dock Connector, it allows speaker docks and other add-ons that put out audio and video as well as charge the player.
Plastic Logic this morning launched an e-book reader it hopes will tackle the Amazon Kindle and other high-profile readers. The device is one of the few to have a letter-sized, 8.5- by 11-inch display but uses the company's unique plastic screen backing to generate a much thinner and sturdier design than most readers, which need a toughened shell to protect a glass back. This produces a device with the shape of a magazine or small newspaper but the changeability of an e-ink device.
Real early on Monday introduced a potentially controversial app that could affect the legality of media transcoding. RealDVD would be one of the first DVD ripping programs from a major developer but claims to dodge the legal setbacks that have shut down earlier apps: the software preserves Macrovision's CSS encryption and limits sending copies to a maximum of five authorized PCs. The solution would let notebook owners or a whole home play a DVD movie from anywhere, Real claims.
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