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Microsoft has unveiled the next phase of its mysterious multi-stage $300 million advertising campaign, opting to embrace the PC character, played by John Hodges in Apple's ads. The New York Times reports that advertising giant Crispin Porter & Bogusky is soon rolling out the new ads, which Microsoft hopes will allow them to redefine the PC's 'personality'. Microsoft cries foul on Apple's presumptuousness, claiming the ads speak on behalf of the Redmond-based Windows maker, misconstruing what its intentions are with its products.
Car audio electronics manufacturer Kenwood recently introduced two new replacement car CD receivers with the DPX303 and DPX503. Either is rated to deliver 50W over four channels and will play MP3, WMA and AAC encoded CDs and feature an auxiliary audio jack on their front panels. The higher-spec DPX503 adds a USB port to the faceplate that will allow users to plug in their 5th generation iPods and control them via the receiver.
Onkyo subsidiary Sotec recently introduced the first PC with a built-in iPod dock as part of it E7 series of media center PCs. With styling that takes cues from iMacs, the E7 combines a 21.6-inch, 1680x1050 LCD display and the computer's associated hardware into one unit. The standard CPU is a 2GHz Intel Pentium dual-core, though a 2.53GHz CPU is optional, and other specs can be optioned up to include 2GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive. Standard fare is 1GB of RAM and 160GB hard drive.
Nova Media on Wednesday unveiled the iCON 401, a new wireless USB modem that boasts worldwide coverage, and upload speeds of up to 5.76 Megabits per second. The iCON 401 includes an integrated antenna, built into the swivel clip, but also includes a connector for external antennas as well. Nova Media also includes the launch2net connection software to provide connection settings for almost any wireless provider. The iCON 401 is currently available for Ç199 (~$280)
Sharp is adding to its recently introduced GX5 line of AQUOS HDTVs with the 65-inch AQUOS LC-65GX5. It replaces the 52-inch version as the largest in the range, and is likewise Internet-ready. The 1080p, 120Hz display panel also features a moderate 15,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and 450cd/m2 brightness. Sharp's ARSS speaker system features a 2.1-channel set-up, while the built-in digital amplifier sends 7.5W to each speaker and 15W to a subwoofer. The viewing angle is 176 degrees from all four sides.
Neuros Technology has recently began shipping its second open set-top box, this time with HD video capability, called Open Source Device 2.0 (OSD 2.0). The hardware uses a small processor module and a TI DaVinci 6446 chipset, along with 256MB of RAM and 256MB of NAND flash memory on the board. It was made available more than six months ago to developers who were offered a bounty for writing software for the OSD 2.0. The key to this customization is the Linux stacks used to run the set-up.
Sony recently announced it will soon release two new 4K projectors that make use of the electronic giant's SXRD technology, each capable of delivering images at 4096x2160 resolution, or about four times more than 1920x1080 HD resolution. The two liquid crystal on silicon projectors, the SRX-T110 and SRX-T105, offer 2500:1 contrast ratios and a pair of Xenon lamps, though the SRX-T110's are rated at 2kW, while the SRX-T105 has a pair of 1kW lamps. The former is capable of producing 11,000 lumens of brightness, while the SRX-T105 delivers 5,500 lumens.
Low-cost CRT and LCD display manufacturer AOC has recently introduced a 17-inch LCD monitor, the V17, that is just under half on an inch thick (12mm). The panel offers 1440x900 resolution while the contrast ratio is rated at 5,000:1. The 10ms response time is slightly below average for 17-inch screens, though none are this thin. Despite its slim profile, the V17 has a VGA webcam built into its transparent bezel meant for video conferencing, which is supported by an integrated microphone and included video conferencing software.
Universal Music may have finally reached the point at which purely digital music has become profitable, Vivendi Universal chief Jean Bernard LÚvy has told the Financial Times. Despite most major labels having seen rapid declines in CD sales that have yet to be compensated by online purchases, Universal now has a "surprise" for investors of a five percent boost in its first-half 2008 revenue to $3.1 billion where it would previously have posted a loss. The change is a sign that the company is nearing the point at which CDs can hurt its bottom line, according to LÚvy.
Verizon's BlackBerry Storm launch could take place as early as next week, the company hints in a pre-release campaign sheet. The provider is reputedly set to start the public side of its marketing campaign on the 22nd for business customers and will reach out to a wider audience on October 1st. The details would also suggest a complete launch as soon as November 1st and cast doubt on a rumor of a multi-week delay.
Nokia has made announcements about its next-generation Internet tablet based on the company's N810 device, according to a Wednesday report covering discussions regarding the company's Linux-based Maemo operating system. While there is no device release yet, the next-gen tablet promises to bring with it cellular data connectivity over the HSPA 3G network, a faster Ti OMAP3 processor and built-in high-definition cameras.
T-Mobile's G1 announcement should bring the Android smartphone to shops in less than a month, a leak to VentureBeat says. The news would have the touchscreen, 3G device start shipping on October 13th and reach stores in force by October 17th. The schedule would have the device reach stores slightly earlier than a rumored October 20th date and much earlier than some early reports of a November appearance.
As a counterpart to its SX10 IS, Canon has announced the SX1 IS, a version with some performance enhancements. While both cameras have DIGIC 4 processors, 20x image-stabilization lenses and a 10-megapixel ceiling resolution, the SX1 uses a CMOS sensor instead of CCD, something which Canon claims will let it shoot at up to 4fps in full resolution. The camera also uses a slightly larger LCD, measuring 2.8 inches instead of 2.5.
Microsoft's next major release of Windows may see the "ribbon" interface from Office 2007 spread throughout the operating system, veteran Microsoft-focused journalist Mary-Jo Foley reports in a new hands-on. The pre-beta Milestone 3 release of Windows 7 now shows the Office interface present in basic programs such as Paint and WordPad and would implement a similarly context-sensitive top bar that adds or removes options depending on the current mode. Microsoft has previously described the ribbon as a much-needed replacement for the tradition menu system, which it says sometimes hides important features due to sheer complexity.
In advance of this month's Photokina 2008 expo, camera maker Mamiya has announced a new digital back for medium-format cameras. The ZDb is a revision of the company's current digital back (pictured), and like its sibling, will sport a 22-megapixel resolution. The key difference will be a new buffer with twice the memory, able to shoot up to 22 full-quality RAW files before offloading. The current back is only capable of 10 shots.
Intel plans to launch its Core i7 architecture on the mainstream desktop this fall with three processors, a leaked roadmap shows when combined with earlier leaks. The 3.2GHz Core i7 Extreme 965 will ship in the fall as the chipmaker's gaming-oriented quad-core processor and should be accompanied by regular 2.66GHz and 2.93GHz versions (Core i7 920 and 940) at the same time.
(Updated with official response) Google may buy Half-Life developer Valve Software to give itself an edge in content distribution, according to a new rumor. Allegedly "well placed" sources of the Inquirer claim the early search engine company is aiming to buy Valve for its Steam platform, which so far has been used as a store for users to download free and paid games as well as a small number of videos and other content. The system has been heralded for making an end-run around traditional retail and provides an edge over some other online app downloads by remembering a customer's purchases should they lose an existing copy to a computer crash or upgrade.
Iomega on Wednesday announced it will soon release the external eGo Helium portable hard drive that is designed to match the styling of Apple's MacBook Air. Iomega is showing off the 320GB capacity drive at the Apple Expo tradeshow in Paris this week. The tapered aluminum shell of the drive houses a 2.5-inch HDD which comes formatted with the HFS+ file system used by Mac OS X. At its thickest, the drive is just 0.63 inches high.
Lenovo today began a sweeping update of its ThinkVision desktop LCDs that all focus on more eco-friendly performance. The 17-, 19-, 22-, and 24-inch displays largely use a new technique that improves the amount of light reaching the LCD while cutting down on the amount of backlighting needed, improving their power use between 30 to 60 percent depending on the model. A new range-topping model, the L2440x Wide, also uses an LED backlight and a low-halogen screen that let it use just 29W of power even with its large 24-inch panel.
Apple has seen the single largest jump in notebook market share of all top manufacturers in North America, according to a new DisplaySearch report. The company's spring 2008 market share in North America surged year-over-year from 6.6 percent to 10.6 percent, moving it up to fourth place in the market and handing the Mac maker the single largest jump in market share of the top five. This surge came at the expense of other established notebook producers, with Acer plunging from 18.6 percent to 14.4 percent over the same period while Toshiba also lost significantly, dropping from 11.4 percent to exactly nine percent.
Canon as part of its pre-Photokina expo camera launches released the PowerShot G10, its new flagship semi-pro compact. The semi-professional camera both sees a sensor upgrade from 12.1 to 14.7 megapixels as well as a key lens change. While dropping back from the 6X zoom of the G9 to 5X, the G10 switches to a 28-140mm equivalent (6.1-30.5mm actual) wide-angle lens that better assists in capturing large portraits, landscapes, and close-ups.
Kodak this morning set a new threshold for digital photo frames with an extremely high-end model. The OLED Wireless Frame is reportedly the first to combine both of its namesake technologies and centers around image quality well beyond ordinary photo frames: the organic 7.6-inch, 800x480 display is just a fraction the thickness of an LCD and has several times the contrast ratio of better rivals, at a TV-like 30,000:1. The viewing angle is also a full 180 degrees and essentially makes them color accurate regardless of viewpoints.
Canon on Wednesday continued with its digital camera announcements with the release of its PowerShot SD990 IS and PowerShot SD880 IS Digital ELPH cameras. Bringing features such as Optical Image Stabilization using the company's new DIGIC 4 image processor, the style-conscious cameras deliver significantly improved signal processing speed and higher image quality. According to Canon, the PowerShot SD990 IS Digital ELPH camera delivers 14.7-megapixel resolution, a 3.7x Optical Zoom with Optical Image Stabilization and Canon's new Quick Shot Mode for faster shutter speed, while the PowerShot SD880 IS Digital ELPH camera features 10-megapixel resolution and 4x wide-angle Optical Zoom with Optical Image Stabilization.
In addition to its flagship EOS 5D Mark II, Canon on Wednesday also expanded its ultra-zoom SX-Series with the PowerShot SX10 IS. The new compact digital camera features a wide-angle (28mm-560mm) 20x optical zoom lens, an Optical Image Stabilizer (OIS), Canon's new DIGIC 4 image processor and a new "smooth, curved grip." Canon notes that the new camera delivers 10-megapixel resolution, Genuine Canon Face Detection Technology, a 2.5-inch vari-angle (i.e, adjustable) LCD screen, a MovieSnap mode for capturing high-resolution still images while shooting video, and support for VGA movie mode (up to one hour or 4GB per clip).
Canon on Wednesday introduced its EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera, the successor to Canon's popular EOS 5D. The full-frame (24 x 36mm), 21.1-megapixel CMOS sensor is housed in a more compact and affordable camera body and offers HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 resolution. Leveraging the new DIGIC 4 imaging processor, the company claims the new sensor delivers lower noise along with an expanded sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 25,600 (three full stops higher than the original EOS 5D). Canon's proprietary DIGIC 4 Imaging Processor delivers fast 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion and continuous shooting at 3.9 fps for an unlimited number of full-resolution JPEGs (up to the capacity of the memory card) or up to 14 RAW images in a single burst when using a UDMA CF card. Compatible with Canon EF lenses, it is scheduled for delivery by the end of November and will be sold in a body-only configuration ($2,700) and in a kit version with Canon's EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens ($3,500).
Vuzix Corporation has announced the latest addition to its line of video eyewear, the iWear AV310 Widescreen, offering a 16:9 aspect ratio to replicate a home theater screen. Users will experience a virtual 52-inch screen, as if viewed from 9 feet, displayed from twin high-resolution LCD displays. The device is compatible with any NTSC or PAL devices with video output, including iPods, portable media players, gaming consoles, or DVD players.
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