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Just in time for Black Friday shoppers, Consumer Reports has released its guide to recommended electronics gifts, with Apple receiving several nods from the list. The independent non-profit organization tests and rates products, and has set up a web page grouping ratings for HDTVs, digital cameras, blu-ray disk players and more. Each section highlights best values and highest rated performers and links to full reviews of the products.
Nikon on Wednesday night inadvertently confirmed the existence of a flagship D3x camera through the posting of a product entry (note: now pulled) on its own site as well as matching photos. Little is revealed about the camera, though the x label is typically used to indicate special high-resolution models of Nikon's cameras and has been used both for the D40 and D2 in recent memory. The D3x appears to be externally identical and includes the same back controls and optical viewfinder as the stock, 12-megapixel D3.
Cineversum on Tuesday announced the launch of its BlackWing One digital video projector for the North American market. The high-end digital projector supports 1080p24 output and has three 0.6-inch LCoS panels to generate its complete picture. Its dynamic contrast is rated at 15,000:1, and it has two HDMI 1.3 connections.
T-Mobile has announced on Wednesday that the T-Mobile G1 handset will now be available in a new color, white, adding to the currently available G1 in black or bronze. It will be priced at the same $179 with a two year contract as the other two handsets. Like the other handsets, the white G1 will support T-Mobile's HSDPA- or UMTS-based 3G service a full HTML web browser to take advantage of the fast data network or its built-in Wi-Fi connection.
VIZIO on Wednesday announced it is lowering prices on five of its HDTVs in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. The 42-inch VS420 LCD offers 1080p resolution will cost just $698 at Sam's Club stores throughout the US starting on Friday. Some prices are in effect for the holiday weekend only, while others are extended until December, with the VS420 expected to sell out quickly as it has no end-of-sale date specified. A 37-inch LCD model with 720p HD resolution, the VW37, will be priced at $500 at Costco for the duration of the weekend.
The Nuvifone from Garmin is still due for an early 2009 release despite being delayed earlier this year. It will be a carrier-exclusive offering, though the company is not revealing its choice of partner network to the public. As Garmin is traditionally a portable navigation device manufacturer, the Nuvifone will bring many of the company's technologies to its GPS mapping functionality, as well as access to high-speed 3G data networks.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced on Tuesday it will begin sending text or e-mail messages to riders that will inform them of any delays or problems on the subway or bus lines, according to a New York Times report. To get the updates, riders must first sign up on the authority's website and provide their phone number or e-mail address. They can then sign up for updates on a specific subway line, bus route or commuter rail line and at what time of day to get them.
The N-trig multi-touch technology will remain confined to mobile PCs, as per N-trig's VP of Business Development, Lenny Engelhardt, according to a Tuesday CNET report. Currently, the N-trig interface is available in Dell's Latitude XT tablet PC and, more recently, the HP TouchSmart tx2 tablet, with the interfaces sporting some minor manufacturer-specific differences. N-trig uses a thin and transparent capacitive touch sensor with its circuitry located on either side of it.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S10e netbook is reportedly shipping in Germany with a new, higher-capacity six-cell battery, according to a Wednesday report. In comparison, US versions make do with a three-cell battery. Furthermore, with a price of 329 Euros (about $425) for the Linux model, the netbook is the least costly 10.2-inch model of any brand with an Intel Atom chip and six-cell battery.
Orange, a wireless provider and brand of France Telecom on Tuesday announced its future technologies at the La Collection show in Paris. Key among them is the planned introduction of High Definition Voice technology that aims to improve voice clarity during calls. The software will find its way into certain Orange handsets starting in December, and promises to reduce background noise by doubling the handset's ability to pick up the human voice.
Warner Music sub-label Atlantic Records today said it became the first major music company whose digital sales outpaced its conventional CDs. The group's sales of full songs, ringtones, and other content online now accounts for 51 percent of Atlantic's revenue. The label, which represents artists like Kid Rock and T.I., credits the change to spreading out where and how users can get music rather than depending heavily on a single source.
Telus may charge a high enough premium for its version of the BlackBerry Storm that it no longer directly competes with its intended rival from Apple, a controversial leak from BGR claims. The touchscreen phone is now said by an alleged source to be priced at $300 CAD ($243 US) on a three-year plan -- as much as Rogers' high-end iPhone 3G with 15GB more storage and $43 US more than Verizon's pricing in the US for a shorter two-year term.
Apple today has started shipping early orders for its 24-inch LED Cinema Display, according to reader reports. The word comes two days ahead of previous official estimates and potentially sees some orders arrive by the weekend depending on timing alongside the US Thanksgiving holiday. Availability at Apple's own retail stores should also follow soon.
Commodore today seized on the holidays to launch a new set of MLB custom skins for its gaming PCs. The initial lineup lets buyers of any of the company's existing systems choose a theme based on the Boston Red Sox, New York's Mets and Yankees, or the Philadelphia Phillies that covers nearly the entire outer surface of the mid-tower case. The company's assembly process applies the artwork directly to the case and so is more scratch-resistant and permanent than a sticker or vinyl cover.
In time for Thanksgiving, Data Robotics today started offering a $50 holiday discount in the form of an instant $50 coupon for the driveless model of its of its Drobo storage robot as well as the preloaded 2TB and 4TB versions. This comes in addition to recent, permanent price cuts to the 2TB and 4TB Drobo. As before, all offer a hot-swappable drive functionality that lets users keep a perpetually upgradable redundant backup by adding or replacing SATA drives of any capacity that automatically merge their storage existing content.
Streaming of high-definition Netflix movies should soon be added to a pair of Samsung Blu-ray players, the latter company has announced. The feature will be delivered in the form of a firmware update for the two Blu-ray drives, the BD-P2500 and BD-P2550, as of the first week of December. The players were enabled for streaming standard-definition Netflix content in late October.
Creative will launch a version of its Vado pocketable camera with a flash drive that is capable of recording high-definition video on December 7th in the US as per an Amazon product page. The small camcorder will record video using H.264 compression at up to 1280x720 resolution (720p), with its 8GB of integrated capacity good for two hours of HD video or double that at VGA resolution. It will be priced aggressively at $199 and should have more storage and small feature improvements over the well-received Flip Mino HD.
Sony today set out an official launch date for the PS3 Wireless Keypad as well as a relatively newer, multi-device AC Adaptor. The former is now due in the first week of December for $50 and supplies a full QWERTY keyboard for chat and messaging in supporting games. It also has a unique surface that doubles a touchpad for the PS3's web browser and is based on Bluetooth, allowing it to pair with both the console and devices like cellphones.
Sling Media today officially kicked off the public beta of Sling.com, its new video portal. The website is aimed at competing with sites hosting commercially produced content like Hulu or Joost and primarily syndicates content from about 90 major TV and online producers, including channels Hulu omits such as CBS as well as the very same Fox and NBC content. It also offers a similar range of full-length movies.
Micron has developed an extremely fast solid-state drive that could set new records for internal storage and shown the drive in an early test. The claimed new breakthrough in storage uses two SSDs with 16 data channels for the flash memory to generate a total transfer speed of 1GB per second. The performance tops 200,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second) and is quick enough that Micron has to drop Serial ATA II's 300MB per second bandwidth cap in favor of PCI Express.
Rogers' plans for its BlackBerry lineup will include both an aggressive launch of the Curve 8900 and an expansion of the smartphones to its budget brand Fido, tips from BGR suggest. The Canadian provider should get the 2G-only but GPS and Wi-Fi equipped device in January and will reportedly price it substantially under the Bold, offering it at $150 on a three-year plan with both voice and data.
Microsoft is planning a major update to the Zune that may presage the rumored Microsoft-built phone, according to an alleged tip given to CNBC's Jim Goldman. A claimed "good" source tells the reporter that a new Zune device, codenamed "Pink," is due to surface as early as the CES show in January and would represent a cross between existing Zune design and elements picked up from Microsoft's acquisition of Danger, which is believed to have been absorbed into the Entertainment division at the company that handles both the Xbox and Zune lines.
Toshiba started its Wednesday with news of a much higher-capacity 16GB microSDHC card as well as faster full-size SDHC cards. The former doubles Toshiba's previous best and gives cellphones and some newer still cameras a large amount of storage for music and photos. The card is relatively slow with a minimum Class 2 (2MB per second) transfer speed in exchange for the capacity. Toshiba starts mass-producing the cards in January and should deliver them shortly afterwards.
Apple has again lost ground against several competitors in the Greenpeace Greener Electronics ratings, despite a slight increase on the scale to 4.3 points. The environmental group cited positive changes in the computer manufacturer's processes and materials, including the removal of PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from some products, but noted that the company would have to completely phase-out such chemicals to score higher on the list. Greenpeace also noted that Apple needs to commit to timelines detailing the elimination of other hazardous materials from its products.
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