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HP tonight updated its TouchSmart all-in-one PCs to push them into high-end home theater territory not covered by earlier models or rivals such as the iMac. The IQ800 series carries a 25.5-inch, 1920x1200 display that converts the touchscreen PC into a near home theater; accordingly, the system comes with a Blu-ray combo drive in one model while all of them have 1080p-capable video and ATSC/NTSC TV tuners. To match the HTPC focus, either system also has new ambient lighting on their chins that either illuminates the wireless keyboard on a desktop or just sets the mood.
After a brief absence of large notebooks, HP on Tuesday revived the HDX line with two systems that turn the focus from gaming to movies. Both the 16-inch HDX16 and 18.4-inch HDX18 are HP's first systems to use a 16:9 aspect ratio display better-suited to movies and have a built-in subwoofer, a remote and HDMI video out. Their performance is also friendly to full HD with a 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo and a GeForce 9600M GT to offload the decoding work.
As part of its larger introduction of devices tonight, HP today updated both its Digital Picture Frame and its options for mice and keyboards. The photo frames get both larger and smaller with a new 10.4-inch model, the df1000, and the 3.5-inch df300a1; choosing the df1000 nets a 800x600 resolution as well as 512MB of permanent memory to store a rotating set of photos without needing a memory card in the multi-format reader. It also brings video playback support for common video formats from still cameras, such as MPEG-1/4 and Motion JPEG. PictBridge hooks also let the frame print to any supporting printer without involving a PC.
The lack of Sony Ericsson staff commitment to future XPERIA-branded handsets suggests they may not use Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, alleges a Monday report. The news originated at the company's digital marketing campaign launch for the range-topping Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 handset, which, ironically, is the first phone from the company to make use of Microsoft's Windows OS.
With the successful completion of the 700MHz auction back in March, the only left-over segment of the band that did not sell was the one called D-Block and a Monday report has the FCC's chairman, Kevin Martin, unveiling new plans to auction off the segment. The new proposal will involve nationwide and regional licensing while retaining a public-private partnership approach as well as a lower reserve price of $750 million versus the original $1.3 billion. In addition, there will be more flexible build-out requirements imposed, now at 15 years instead of 10, and more public knowledge required of the operations and restrictions of current licensee holder, the Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corp, which was a concern from potential buyers the first time around.
Outside the Box Group on Monday introduced its newest product, the Plane Quiet Platinum headphones with active noise reduction technology. Meant to enhance the traveling experience in planes, buses and trains, the company claims the hardware reduces ambient noise by as much as 18dB, or 80 percent. The Plane Quiet Platinum headphones have a leatherette headband and ear cups that fully enclose wearers' ears. The 1.57-inch Neodymium magnets in the speakers allow them to attain a 40mW power rating, and a maximum of 100mW. Frequency response is above average as well, with a 20-20,000Hz rating.
A Sony Insider report published over the weekend suggests Sony will soon release a simple 2.1-channel home theater sound system that has its 200W amplifier and receiver built into the subwoofer enclosure. The specs of the new system should be very close to those of the company's current HT-CT100 3.1-channel system that uses a sound bar instead of the HT-FS1's pair of speakers.
A report published over the weekend has revealed a new smartphone from ASUS, a relative newcomer to the full-touchscreen handset game. Unlike the company's P552w handset unveiled last week, the device (codenamed Glaxy7) looks to feature a more original design, though it looks basically like Samsung's Omnia range. The unofficial specs for the quad-band GSM phone reveal it will not use the North American WCDMA frequency, only supporting 900MHz, 1900MHz and 2100MHz. Believed to wear the Zest name when it launches, the phone will feature a 3.5-inch touchscreen with an 800x480 resolution and ASUS' custom Glide 1.5 interface running on Windows Mobile 6.1.
XM's XMp3 handheld satellite radio has surfaced today in a Best Buy listing that confirms much more about the device. The device is now known to have been made by Pioneer, which made the preceding Inno, and will work as a traditional MP3 player as well as a tuner. A microSDHC slot should hold at least 8GB of MP3 or WMA tracks, including those recorded from XM itself.
Intel this afternoon fulfilled a promise and launched the Xeon 7400. The processor once nicknamed "Dunnington" is the first x86 architecture design to hold six cores and is targeted at very high-end computing where sheer parallelism is more important than clock rate; it's particularly useful for virtual machines and databases, Intel suggests. The chipmaker estimates a speed boost of as much as 50 percent and helps this in part by a similar increase in Level 2 cache to 16MB as well as dedicated virtualization features on the cores themselves.
Best Buy Mobile will have its formal debut in Canada this week, according to an invite sent out to the press. The e-mail notification indicates a formal event for this Wednesday and suggests a near-term launch of the previously US-only initiative. Best Buy is known to be planning a cautious rollout and will have just three locations for the cellphone-oriented stores by the end of 2008, which will be located either inside Best Buy stores or in smaller, stand-alone shops.
A sales sheet for the BlackBerry Storm has appeared on Monday and confirms most of the details of the anticipated iPhone rival. True to expectations, the Storm should have both CDMA and GSM to support world roaming as well as a unique touchscreen produces a tactile click when pressed, providing the physical feedback normally absent from touch phones but without using a vibration feedback system as with other attempts at solving the problem.
Redesigned MacBooks may already be enroute to stores, claims an analyst from Citigroup. Richard Garner cites "field checks," which suggest that the shipment process has begun. Garner says he has also learned of the computers' main features, which should include a "very thin" aluminum casing, LED backlighting, and an "aggressive entry-level price point." Some analysts have suggested that the cheapest MacBook could drop in cost to $999.
Dell announced on Monday it has partnered up with Sonic Solutions to make Qflix DVD drives that, together with software and special DVDs, will allow users to legally record downloaded movies to DVDs with formatting and DRM that works both on other PCs and in home theaters. The downloads will come from the CinemaNow service, though how many and which DVD titles or TV shows will be made compatible with Qflix is not known. The limit is a requirement to purchase DVDs from Roxio, which also supplies the software for the drive, to make the process possible.
Following its low-key posting of the Touch HD, HTC today has also tipped its hand regarding two more conventional touchscreen phones. The Touch 3G is a direct sequel to the original Touch with a slightly slimmer design and its namesake 3G Internet access over HSDPA. It also brings a sharper 3.2-megapixel camera and GPS but is separated from the Touch Diamond by its lower-resolution 240x320 screen, the absence of Wi-Fi and a dependence on microSDHC cards.
Several movie studios and hardware manufacturers have unwrapped plans to produce a universal approach to copy-protected video that would escape a dependence on any one format and would also loosen some restrictions on video. To be called the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), the initiative currently includes Fox, NBC Universal, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. as well as Windows Media creator Microsoft, Comcast and hardware makers that include Cisco, Philips and Toshiba. Best Buy and Verisign are also involved.
Western Digital on Monday introduced a 500GB capacity portable drive in its My Passport Elite and My Passport Essential lines. The small drives are small and light enough at seven ounces to be carried comfortably in users' pockets and connect to computers via a USB 2.0 port. They feature built-in 128-bit encryption for security and are compatible with gaming consoles such as Sony's PlayStation3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 for added flexibility in loading music or videos.
HTC this morning quietly published details of the Touch HD and set the foundations for a clearer attempt at fighting the iPhone. The posting confirms a late leak and shows a device that depends more heavily on its display than most rivals: the 3.8-inch touchscreen is both larger than the Apple model and also sharper, at a near DVD-level 800x480. Such a dense LCD is a decisive edge for watching movies and browsing photos, HTC claims. The smartphone is also HTC's first Touch to scrap the directional pad altogether and has just four physical buttons on its face, shifting most of the attention to the TouchFLO interface that sits on top of Windows Mobile.
The staff of Apple's recently acquired PA Semiconductor are working on a new, internally developed ARM processor for the iPhone, the LinkedIn profile former PA Semi senior manager Wei-han Lien has revealed. Although now changed to abstract his work, the entry at the job connection website has slipped that he is now managing an ARM architecture team at Apple working specifically on the iPhone. The news not only suggests that a self-made design will replace the Samsung chip but that Apple has no immediate plans to use Intel's Atom processor in its smallest handhelds.
The appearance of the Samsung Rugby flip-phone on AT&T's website is significant as the handset represents the first Mil-Spec certified device offered by the wireless network provider. The Military Standard MI-SID-810F approval translates to the aptly-named Rugby's heightened ability to withstand dust, shock vibrations, rain, humidity, solar radiation and altitude and temperature extremes. AT&T further claims the Rugby is the first rugged cellphone available with both a push-to-talk function and one-way Video Share calling.
Camera maker Leica has refreshed its line with a set of new models that keep it up to date with rivals. The M8.2 (pictured) refreshes Leica's retro rangefinder camera but primarily focuses on the design itself. The compact is the first professional camera to use a scratch-resistant, sapphire-coated LCD similar to luxury cellphones that provides much tougher protection than glass. The outside has also been reworked with a vulcanite-style finish that preserves the rest of the shell without altering the vintage looks.
Napster this morning made the surprise announcement that it has entered into an agreement that will see the online store acquired by Best Buy, putting an end to the company's independence. The terms of the deal are largely unavailable apart from a $121 million price but has seen Napster indefinitely delay its annual shareholder's meeting from its originally scheduled September 18th timeframe.
NVIDIA is quietly releasing an upgraded version of the GTX 260 to fend off advances made by the Radeon HD 4870, according to a claim from those in the industry. On top of price cuts earlier in the year, the California graphics maker is said to be bumping the number of stream (geometry and effects) processors from the original 192 up to 216, bringing the performance much closer to the GTX 280's 240 processors. Clock speeds would still be one of the key differentiators with the 576MHz core and 1.24GHz memory the same as for the version launched in the spring.
NAVIGON today rolled out one more GPS device aimed at raising the very entry level. The 2000S has just a 3.5-inch touchscreen but carries the same software features as larger models, including the real-time appearance of street signs, a lane assist mode and a special emergency mode that supplies both nearby locations and phone numbers without the step-by-step process.
Seagate this morning kicked off it yearly overhaul of its FreeAgent external drives with both a new look and some rare features. The FreeAgent Go (pictured) and Go for Mac are both claimed as the thinnest notebook-sized drives at 12.5mm (just under 0.5in) but also have an optional dock that cradles the drive at home, simplifying the process of porting the drive outside of the home. The Mac edition also switches from USB to a rare FireWire 400/800 interface and is pre-formatted for the HFS+ file system out of the box.
MicroNet has announced what it says is the "world's smallest" RAID subsystem. The OS-independent RaidBank4 device comes with eSATA and USB interfaces in sizes up to 4TB, with a 6TB version promised soon. At 6.5 x 4.75 inches, MicroNet claims RAIDBank4 is small enough and sturdy enough for users to carry between home and work.
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