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Microsoft tonight aired its first second-phase ad and started its more direct campaign to combat the image portrayed by Apple. Shifting significantly from the company's approach of avoiding Windows discussion, the spot begins by playing on Apple's "I'm a PC" message but calling it a "stereotype" with a replica of John Hodgman's character; it quickly shifts to reveal different users in different fields of work ranging from astronauts to teachers, all of whom repeat the "I'm a PC" mantra to illustrate how Windows PCs are used in many different situations than what Apple implies.
Plantronics on Thursday introduced its newest Bluetooth headset, the Voyager 835, which uses dual microphones in conjunction with AudioIQ noise-canceling software to reduce ambient noise. What the company calls Windsmart technology reduces wind noise heard by parties on the other end. Meant for business users, the headset is capable of quickly pairing up with Bluetooth devices, and can keep two devices in memory thanks to multipoint tech.
Recording industry insiders are reporting that Sony Ericsson is due to launch a music service soon similar to Nokia's Comes With Music. According to CNET, the service is a partnership with Omnifone, which will allegedly provide a limitless supply of music downloads from the industry's four big labels. Sony Ericsson and Omnifone both could not be reached for comment on the matter.
Motorola on Thursday introduced a pair of universal Bluetooth, noise-canceling headsets with the MOTOPURE H15 and stylish H780. The MOTOPURE H15 Universal Bluetooth Headset features a folding design and, says Motorola, has the best background noise cancellation performance among dual-microphone Bluetooth headsets as judged by independent testing. It will automatically adjust volume and noise-canceling levels as the ambient noise rises.
Korea's ORACOM on Thursday announced it will soon launch a digital music player, the W30, that features a haptic user interface for its 240x400, 3-inch touchscreen. Like in the Samsung Instinct cellphone and numerous other devices, a haptic interface simulates pressing a real button when users press a virtual key on the touchscreen, often making a sound and vibrating the device via a built-in gyroscope.
Hitachi on Thursday announced significant changes in its operations for LCD and plasma HDTV production. The announcement comes after earlier promises of upcoming changes, spurred by $1,062 million in lost profits in fiscal year 2007. The majority of the loss stemmed from HDTV business. The electronics maker said it would focus on offering higher-value HDTVs in order to better compete with other HDTV makers, including integrating Internet access into future products. Video content on the web available thus far only via computers will be made accessible to Hitachi HDTV users via the company's website.
Palm on Thursday afternoon reported mixed results for its summer quarter, which ended in August. The company posted a net loss of $41.9 million versus a just $0.8 million loss from the same period a year ago. The company attributed somewhat more than half the loss, or $24.4 million, to increasing stock prices and related compensation as well as securities, but left most other concerns to performance-related problems.
Mac-based BlackBerry fans may no longer need to rely on third party utilities to synchronize their Macs with their RIM-build handsets, since the company is preparing to announce a new port of its BlackBerry Desktop Manager software. An anonymous source from within the company has informed CIO of the company's plans, who, up until now, has been suggesting Mac users run the PC software through virtualization options such as VMWare Fusion or Parallels.
Toshiba Japan on Thursday introduced three new DVRs with the company's proprietary eXtended Detail Enhancement (XDE) near-HD quality upscaling technology that was first introduced in the XD-E500 DVD player. The newest models to use the technology are headed up by the RD-X8 DVR, which comes with a 1TB hard drive to record TV from its digital TV tuner. In addition, it will burn dual-layer DVDs and supports both MPEG-4 and AVC/H.264 formats. Of the new additions, the RD-X8 alone has Deep Color HDMI outputs.
Antec recently introduced its Skeleton enclosure, seemingly aimed at gamers and those who are never happy to leave enough alone. The open design of the original enclosure, combined with the 3.6-inch front fan and a huge, top-mounted 9.8-inch three speed fan, effectively renders overheating a non-issue. The top-mounted fan also sports mutlicolor LEDs below it for a disco-ball like effect on dark ceilings. A standard ATX motherboard mounts on the upper level, while a slide-out, rack-like lower level has appointments for a power supply, a pair of optical drives and two hard drives.
Hillcrest Laboratories recently filed a lawsuit and patent infringement against Nintendo Co Ltd. over its use of the motion controller technology and a Wednesday report indicates the US International Trade Commission has agreed to investigate the matter. If the ITC finds Nintendo used infringed technology, it could bar the sale of the Wii gaming console from the US market. Nintendo, meanwhile, has said it did not infringe on Hillcrest's intellectual property and intends to "vigorously defend" itself.
ASUS and Skype have collaborated to bring the AiGuru SV1 videophone to market, announcing its release on Thursday. The ASUS AiGuru SV1 has a 7-inch, 800x480 LCD and a built-in 640x480 webcam that allow users to make free video calls to other users of the Skype VoIP phone service without relying on a computer; the device is the first of its kind, the firms claim. Skype reveals more than a quarter of all Skype-to-Skype calls involve video, and the AiGuru SV1 is seen as a response to that trend.
The e-book reader designers at iRex today revealed through a teaser page that they plan a major update to their devices next week. While short on details other than to point to a "new era" of reading, the company adds in its blog that the Monday launch will include both new hardware and new software and is not a simple upgrade.
Wireless network provider T-Mobile and Nortel Networks on Thursday announced the successful test of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) high-speed wireless data network in a moving car, according to a new update. Tested on a highway in Bonn, Germany in a vehicle moving at an average speed of 42mph, the upcoming LTE network achieved 170Mbps download speeds and 50Mbps upload speeds. Throughout the trip, the car was in range of three cell sites.
Early adoptees of the iPhone 3G have been using much less data on AT&T's network than expected since the device became available, the company's chief technical officer John Donovan noted at Goldman Sachs' Communacopia XVII conference today. The carrier had braced itself against a fivefold increase in traffic with the advent of the phone, which makes video and other data-intensive tasks more feasible, but has only seen a relatively mild threefold increase over the earlier EDGE version.
MSI has plans to expand its Wind netbook range past the U100, according to an interview. Beyond the current system, the company says it is developing the U91, a new 8.9-inch computer whose other specifications are as yet unknown. Also in development is the U120, a system with a 10-inch screen and built-in HSDPA reception.
Sprint's Xohm WiMAX is still on schedule to switch on in September, the company tells Gearlog. While less than two weeks remain in the month, the carrier says its already-delayed 4G Internet service is still on track despite the absence of announcements or other signs the network is ready to go live. Sprint previously said in June that it would first deploy Xohm in Baltimore, Chicago and Washington, DC this month with expansion to other cities shortly afterwards.
Toshiba UK on Thursday announced that its first netbook entry, the NB100, will arrive on the UK market next month. The device will be built around an 8.9-inch, 1024x600 LCD display, with processing power coming courtesy of Intel's 1.6GHz Atom chip. Virtual memory will top out at 1GB, while onboard storage comes by way of a 120GB hard disk. The device will be available with either Linux Ubuntu 8.04 using OpenOffice 2.4 or else Microsoft's Windows XP Home.
The RIAA has filed a motion (PDF) in an attempt to silence an outspoken lawyer defending the targets of its anti-piracy lawsuits. Calling many of his actions "overzealous," the American music industry group accuses New York attorney Ray Beckerman of frustrating its attempts to sue Marie Lindor and other defendants for allegedly sharing music online and violating individual music labels' copyrights.
T-Mobile's G1 smartphone will match the pricing of the iPhone 3G when it's announced next week, according to tips supplied to the Wall Street Journal. The paper hears that the first Android phone will cost $199 on contract, equaling the price for an 8GB iPhone 3G under similar terms. This same alleged insider also claims that T-Mobile will introduce "aggressively priced" new data plans to capitalize on the G1's faster 3G data access.
Imation's Apple-friendly label XtremeMac today launched a trio of speaker docks all tuned to support iPhones, including the iPhone 3G. The Luna Voyager clock radio is new to the range and is small enough to be carried on trips. In a unique touch, the system can set its time from an iPhone rather than rely on manual settings. It also has its own battery backup both for the clock and the buzzer/iPhone/iPod alarm to prevent a power outage from affecting the Voyager overnight. While not as powerful as larger systems, the portability should help drop the price to $90 for the miniature Luna's November launch.
Memorex set a new record today by becoming the first major electronics maker to launch a Blu-ray player below $300 at an ordinary price. The MVBD-2510's $270 price tag puts it well below the $400 average asking price for players from Sony and others but still gives it features that are common to the more expensive players, including Profile 1.1 support for picture-in-picture commentary and HDMI output that supports 7.1-channel surround through Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD and raw bitstream audio. It also plays 24p video natively without pulldown conversion.
Imation started its Thursday with a new set of Apollo hard drives that includes one of the first Wireless USB disks. Called the Apollo Pro WX, the device uses the near-wired speed of the ultra-wideband signal to duplicate the features of a normal USB hard drive without the need to string a cable for the roughly 30-foot range of the standard. The storage is as secure as physical USB, the company claims, and comes with a reportedly unique automatic backup utility that exploits the drive's ability to stay connected without necessarily using an extra USB port.
T-Mobile today revealed that it will significantly expand its 3G network in the next few weeks to include several key areas. Although just 13 major cities are covered today, the cellular carrier plans to grow that number to 21 by mid-October and will include key technology hubs such as San Francisco and Seattle as well as Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia and Sacramento.
LG Display on Thursday said it has started mass-producing the world's first notebook displays to be truly color-accurate. Using an RGB LED backlight versus the one-color backlights of other notebook displays, the 17.1-inch, 1920x1200 LCD pushes its color reproduction up to 105 percent, or about 40 percent more than a typical notebook display with a fluorescent backlight at the same size. The breakthrough should give AV professionals a display they can use for image editing and gamers a more vivid image, LG says.
Samsung on Thursday started off a new line of music phones that draw on the company's own media player experience. The BEATb (bar) and BEATs (slider) both have dedicated music controls but also have motion-sensitive functions. Users can shake the phone iPod nano-style to skip tracks, tap it to play or pause, or put the phone on full mute by placing it face-down on a table. The company's Digital Natural Sound Engine from its MP3 players carries over to enhance the sound field, and the third-party app Shazam is preloaded to sample and identify a song to buy later.
Pioneer recently announced it would start selling its LCDs in North America and Asia during the first half of 2009, after unveiling the 32- and 37-inch models in Europe last month. CE Pro reveals that Pioneer will follow up the North American and Asian releases with Japan in 2010, opting to focus mostly on small- and medium-sized LCDs for the Japanese. Pioneer also said it would offer a high-end range of LCDs, manufactured with Sharp LCD panels.
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