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HP today became the first PC maker to incorporate a multi-touch display in a home-focused notebook with the TouchSmart tx2. Stylistically similar to the tx2500 series convertible tablets, the new model now accepts two-finger gestures to pinch, rotate and otherwise control media both in the MediaSmart front-end (which also makes its first notebook appearance) and in general apps such as the Office suite. Users can drag objects or flick to scroll quickly, and still have the option of falling back to a stylus for handwriting or more precise actions.
Technology company Epson has introduced the WorkForce Pro GT-S50 and GT-S80, its first sheet-fed scanners. The devices can both handle documents up to 6.5 inches by 36 inches, along with rigid ID cards, with automatic paper size detection. A dual-color CCD sensor and mercury-free Led technology are claimed to eliminate warm-up waiting time. The interface is displayed on an LCD panel that allows one-touch scan or scan-to-PDF. Both sides of a document are scanned in just one pass, with functions for automatic de-skew and background color removal.
Toshiba on Tuesday unveiled a new 500GB 2.5-inch SATA drive featuring whisper quiet operation. The flagship MK5055GSX offers an 8MB buffer, and a read/write power consumption of 1.4W. Toshiba claims that the improved servo mechanism not only decreases the operational noise, but also increases durability of the hardware. Pricing was not readily available, but Toshiba expects to ship the drive in January, and will exhibit the drive at CES 2009 in January.
Microsoft is set to launch its New Xbox Experience, beginning Wednesday. The update pushes beyond the standard-definition video stream and into the realm of the next-generation Netflix HD. Users will initially have access to 300 movie and TV show titles, with more to be added in the future. Although a Netflix subscription and Xbox Live Gold member ship are both required for the HD content, the system diverges from competitors by allowing unlimited streaming instead of charging for each viewing.
Cygnett has released its latest product for iPods and other media players, the GrooveBassball portable speaker. The device integrates a rechargeable battery, claimed to last for three hours of playback time. The speaker resembles the shape of a ball, but extends when the end is twisted. The additional length is designed to improve bass response. A USB cable is included for recharging the lithium-ion cells. Any MP3 player or device with a 3.5mm jack can be connected.
The Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has developed a color electronic holography technology that can project captured images of moving subjects under normal lighting conditions and reproduce them. Instead of a laser or darkroom, the technology relies on a video camera with a fly-eye lens and a number of integrated microlenses. The same lens is used to later display the 3D images.
Velocity Micro on Monday announced it is launching a range of PCs powered by Intel's newly released Core i7 CPUs. The Core i7-920, 940 and 965 Extreme chips will be offered on various Edge, Raptor, ProMagix and Vector models in the Velocity Micro range of offerings. The very first system with a 2.66GHz Intel Core i7-920 CPU, the pictured Edge Z55, will include 3GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive and a DVD burner and cost $2,199. Buyers will be able to upgrade to the 2.93GHz Core i7-940 chip for an extra $360 or the 3.2GHz Core i7-965 Extreme for $965.
HP is working on developing a digital photo frame that will be able of accessing the Internet, reading e-mail, accessing RSS feeds and other downloadable widgets and simple programs, according to a Monday report. While no detailed specifications are known at this time, the frame is believed to include an Intel Atom CPU, integrated Wi-Fi module, and a 10-inch display.
The UK's The Medical Phone Ltd. is about to release the iCEphone, a powerful handset meant to act as a portable video game platform, a personal navigation device, 3G-capable smartphone and micro notebook. It has a three-way hinge, allowing users to access its QWERTY keyboard, 3-inch, 240x400-pixel touchscreen display, mouse tracker pad and gaming controls all at the same time or just some of the time, to minimize its footprint.
Reseller of consolidated patent license portfolios MPEG LA on Monday announced flat panel HDTV maker VIZIO has entered into an MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License with the company. As a direct result of the new agreement, a few other clients of MPEG LA with essential MPEG-2 patents have dropped their lawsuits against VIZIO. Filed in the summer of 2008 in New York, the lawsuits allege VIZIO failed to enter into a licensing agreement for MPEG-2 video compression technology necessary for its HDTVs.
Just two months after introducing its third-generation Zune platform, Microsoft is already dropping prices on its flash-based models to improve their competitiveness, the company's Zune marketing director Adam Sohn has confirmed in an interview on Tuesday. The company's largest cut will apply to the outgoing 4GB Zune, which drops $30 to reach $99. Zune 8GB players will drop $10 to $139, while the 16GB player is being slashed by $20 to $179. Americans will see the cuts as of Wednesday, while Canadians will see a similar effect on Friday.
Cellular carriers are effectively damaging their own business in mobile games by refusing to adopt a more iPhone-like business, a new study by Juniper Research says. Although the total value of the market is set to nearly double in the next five years from $5.4 billion to about $10 billion, game publishers producing Java titles and other typical mobile games are actively quitting their regular industry due to deals with providers that make it difficult or impossible to continue selling their usual games.
Despite a recent overturning of a ban on Qualcomm chip sales, the company is once again found in contempt of an injunction of 3G cellular phone chip patents held by wired and wireless semiconductors maker Broadcom. Broadcom announced on Tuesday that a federal judge on Monday found Qualcomm in contempt of an injunction agreed to last November preventing it from shipping products using two Broadcom patents.
LG today marked the launch of the Prada II in the UK with news that the phone will come bundled with its own smart watch. Called the Prada Link, the wristwatch makes a Bluetooth link with the Prada II or other phones and serves as a more discreet method of monitoring the phone itself; it warns of incoming phone calls with vibration and caller ID while also flagging inbound SMS messages. The black-and-silver look appropriately matches the phone itself.
Microsoft this afternoon launched an uncharacteristic mid-cycle Zune software update that adds new features in addition to usual fixes. The 3.1 upgrade now has a significant visual overhaul for the Zune Social feature and should be easier to navigate. It also adds a "like minded listeners" feature that shows users other Zune Social members that tend to play similar music. Three new Zune games, Checkers, Sudoku and Space Battle, will also be loaded on to Zune hardware with its next sync.
NVIDIA on Tuesday announced the availability of its GPU-based Tesla architecture Personal Supercomputer, which, the company promises, has as much as 250 times the computing performance of a PC thanks to NVIDIA CUDA parallel computing architecture and up to 960 parallel processing cores. Along with its partners, buyers can now opt for desktop PCs with the sort of computing power previously reserved for supercomputing clusters.
Dell's SP2309W LCD, first revealed quietly through a Canadian website listing, has now been formally launched in the US. The monitor is notable mainly for supporting resolutions up to 2048x1152, a figure beyond the 1080p maximum common to most modern displays. Dell also claims an unusually high 80,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and a built-in two-megapixel webcam with twin microphones.
Motorola on Tuesday officially confirmed its previously leaked upcoming handset, the MOTO VE66 slider phone, the first Motorola phone with widget integration, allowing users to access stock tickers, RSS feeds from blogs or sports scores, among other applications. The handset will also feature a 5-megapixel camera with integrated autofocus, an LED flash and auto stabilization functions. The phone will also have an HSDPA/UMTS radio for 3G cellular access in both Europe and North America along with a Wi-Fi module.
Expanding the REDFLY beyond its initial niche of Windows Mobile devices, Celio today launched two new versions of its notebook-style smartphone add-on. The REDFLY C8N adds a new media port and matching cable that can either serve as an extra USB port or as a composite video input for handhelds that simply need the external screen rather than the keyboard and trackpad; it can now serve as a larger 800x480 screen for an iPhone, Zune or most other portable devices for up to eight hours without plugging in. It ships with VGA output for $299, while its matching cable costs $20.
Sony on Tuesday rolled out a broad-based update to its earphones with a new model in each of its key categories. The DR-BT160 headset is targeted at runners who want to eliminate cables over Bluetooth without losing a stable fit or phone support. The in-ear buds are worn with over-the-ear hooks and a behind-the-head band; while functioning as a full A2DP stereo Bluetooth device for cellphones, computers or audio devices with adapters, the headset can also take hands-free cellphone calls.
AT&T today added a second full touchscreen phone in as many weeks through the LG Incite. Unlike the earlier Samsung Eternity, the Incite is a full Windows Mobile 6.1 smartphone and comes with an LG-customized front end that both encourages more use of finger input over a stylus and takes advantage of an accelerometer to provide a landscape keyboard when tilting the phone on its side.
Apple's new 24-inch LED Cinema Display, first announced back in October, is now available for order at the Apple Store. It is the company's first monitor with a Mini Display Port connection, and additionally hosts three USB ports plus a MagSafe power connector; both this and the Display Port link are intended to support Apple's new range of MacBooks. Thanks to LED technology, the monitor offers more light and better color accuracy than regular LCD displays.
Certain movies bought through the iTunes Store appear to be taking advantage of the inherent copy protection hardware in the new MacBook lineup, a report from one Ars Technica reader. Attaching an external display without HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) encryption support, such as a projector with VGA-only input, produces a warning from some titles that the display isn't authorized to play protected movies and so refuses output.
Art Lebedev Studio's namesake founder today noted that the company's Optimus AUX keyboard has been turned into a final prototype that hints at the production model. The 15-key OLED pad will use an anodized aluminum case and should have the same key style as the full-size Optimus Maximus. The AUX is a balance between the Maximus and the basic Mini-Three and is meant for content editors or frequent users who need a significant amount of visually customizable keys for specific tasks.
Japanese electronics company Funai's research and development arm, the Funai Electric Advanced Applied Technology Research Institute, has developed a reflective display without a backlight, unlike conventional LCD displays. The company, which makes Sylvania-, Symphonic- and Emerson-branded LCDs, says the new display uses just one percent of the electricity per square centimeter needed by conventional LCDs. In place of the backlight, the display uses dyes that change color when exposes to an electric current. Fittingly, Funai says the clarity can be compared to that of characters printed on a piece of paper.
VUDU today catered to custom home theater installations with a second-generation networked media hub. The XL2 has the same 1TB of hard drive space for videos as the original XL but drops VUDU's favorite curved shape in favor of a thin, single-unit (1U) box design that can be rackmounted in a media cabinet or another part of a customized home theater. It also improves on the stock VUDU Box by adding control over infrared or over most network-based home automation systems using the Ethernet connection.
Kodak late Monday filed a lawsuit against LG and Samsung, accusing the two Korean companies of infringing on digital photography patents. The complaint, filed in a Western District court in Kodak's home state of New York, charges both LG and Samsung with copying Kodak techniques for capturing, compressing, previewing and storing photos and still images.
A somewhat predicted conclusion to Yahoo's recent rough ride sees company co-founder Jerry Yang leaving his post as CEO after a suitable replacement is found to take Yahoo to "the next level." CNN Money reveals that chairman Roy Bostock is conducting interviews internally and externally, which will then place Yang back in his former position of "Chief Yahoo," remaining on the company's board of directors.
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