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iRiver at CES unveiled its latest multimedia devices including the Wave-Home multimedia device and several portable media players. The Wave-Home interface is displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen that resembles a digital photo frame, but the device also integrates a phone and webcam. A wireless handset fits into the back of the housing for calls made while moving around, or the webcam can be used for video conferencing. Games, weather, news, radio and other widgets are supported.
Hitachi was drawing crowds at the CES show with its gesture-controlled HDTV that uses infrared technology (IR) to see user's hand motions and respond accordingly. The display itself was Hitachi's existing 42X902 UltraThin HDTV, while a specially-designed IR sensor and interface were developed to control the TV's basic functions. Users were urged to wave to the TV to turn it on, while changing channels was performed by waving horizontally to bring up a channel menu, then moving an open or pointing hand in a clockwise circle to advance through the channels or counterclockwise to go down through them. Adjusting volume levels was done in similar fashion.
At the CES show on Friday, Intel officially released its second-generation Classmate PC, which is the first low-cost educational notebook to use a convertibe tablet design with a touchscreen. The 8.9-inch notebook will use a 1.6GHz Atom processor and be manufactured by local computer makers in the various countries it will be sold in. At the same time, the company announced the Intel Learning Series initiative that combines hardware, software and services designed for education, supporting companies that build products to enhance children's learning experiences.
US Cellular on Friday picked up the Samsung TwoStep. The new music flip phone recalls iPod design with a jogwheel on the outside for controlling volume and skipping tracks on the outside screen without opening the full device. Samsung also outfits the phone with stereo speakers, a dedicated music key on the inside and a microSDHC slot that holds cards up to 8GB.
Alpine took the opportunity at the CES show to introduce three new head units that will soon be available on the market, with the iXA-W404 and nearly identical iDA-X305 and iDA-X303. Neither has a traditional optical disk drive, relying instead on digital media as their soruce files. The W404 has a double DIN form factor in order to better fit into the dashboards of modern cars, while the latter uses a more traditional single-DIN layout. The Digital Media Station iXA-W404 has an iPhone-like interface, where users can glide their fingers over the 4.3-inch touchscreen to navigate their music libraries.
TomTom at CES brought out an Americanized version of the GO 740 LIVE, its first real-time aware GPS navigator. It earns its name from a constantly updated GPRS data link that automatically determines the best route based on short- and long-term traffic information. Updates on drive times and accidents are delivered every few minutes and give an immediate option to reroute if conditions delay the optimal route; route histories are also collected over the long term to predict the quickest route based on traffic on particular days or at different times.
Relatively new competitors now have the advantage in the smartphone business, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer said late yesterday to the Financial Times (registration required). Although the executive was well-known for believing in early 2007 that the iPhone wouldn't get market share, he now says that both Apple and BlackBerry creator RIM have "clear market momentum" and that the two are part of an industry likely to survive the poor world economy.
Networking company TRENDnet has announced two new Wi-Fi routers (not pictured), beginning with the TEW-673GR. The unit is a dual-band 802.11n model, capable of broadcasting in both the conventional 2.4GHz band and in the 5GHz range, which avoids interference from other wireless hardware such as microwaves and Bluetooth transmitters. Like many 802.11n devices the 673GR has a theoretical peak of 300Mbps, though practical speeds are closer to 200Mbps; as an alternative, gigabit Ethernet connections can be used. Pricing and availability are currently unpublished.
Gateway's appearance at CES has been accompanied by two new notebook models, each of which is hope to bring upscale features to the mainstream. Starting the launches, the UC series is Gateway's first system with a 13.3-inch screen and borrows design cues from its sibling brand Packard Bell, including the unusually circular trackpad and aluminum trim. The system is relatively light for Gateway's lineup at 5.3 pounds and has extras sometimes omitted from the class such as a 1.3-megapixel webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi and HDMI video out.
Apple may be looking to exhibit at next year's Consumer Electronics Show, a report claims. Citing second-hand sources within Apple, the story suggests that while the company has decided to pull out of future Macworlds, it is already laying plans for CES, which is hosted in Las Vegas every January and populated by over 2,700 hardware and software companies, including a number of PC builders and key rivals, such as Microsoft. CES 2009 is currently ongoing.
At CES this week, Asus introduced two new tablet netbooks, the Eee PC T91 and T101H, and several full-size notebooks including the M90GF and W90Vp. The Eee PC T91 features an 8.9-inch touchscreen with LED backlighting. The system runs on Windows XP Home and uses an Intel Atom Z520 processor, while customers can add an optional GPS receiver or TV tuner. The T101H offers a 10-inch screen and an Atom N270 CPU running the same version of XP as the smaller model but with a keyboard size closer to an average notebook.
As promised during Microsoft's keynote at CES, the company today released the public beta of Windows 7. The ISO image gives users a largely feature-complete version of the next-generation operating system but sets the software to expire on August 1st. Microsoft warns that the software isn't officially supported and that downloads will be limited to the first 2.5 million who start the download.
VIA Technologies has announced the NSD7800, a home server capable of storing large quantities of information from multiple computers. Designed for small or home offices, the NSD7800 supports up to eight 3.5-inch SATA II hard drives. The storage device is powered by a 1.5GHz VIA C7-D processor, and comes equipped with a mini-PCI port for security related add-in cards, a bootable CompactFlash type 1 slot, and four USB 2 ports. It also offers automatic data monitoring and allows users to access their personal information while away from home.
Verizon has announced the completion of its move to acquire Alltel Wireless, cleared by the Federal Trade Commission early last month. Verizon is paying approximately $5.9 billion for Alltel's equity, though it will still have to deal with the latter's $22.2 billion in debt. The purchase should make Verizon the largest cellular carrier in the US, bringing in 12.9 million customers for a total of over 83.7 million; by contrast, AT&T has only 74.9 million. Potential coverage is said to be 290 million people.
Dell today at a press conference at CES revealed the Inspiron Mini 10 (not yet pictured), its third netbook. While only slightly larger than the Mini 9, the new portable is more advanced than either the smaller model or the Mini 12, including through its display. The namesake 10-inch screen is sharper than on other netbooks and produces a 720p (1280x720) resolution closer to full-size notebooks. The system also incorporates a multi-touch trackpad that not only helps with scrolling and zooming but also the ability to jump to a home screen or automatically scroll the contents of a page.
Circuit City on Friday morning made public that it's currently in talks with an unnamed company to potentially sell off its assets following its bankruptcy. The retailer declines to provide any more details than required by a hearing pushing the details into the open but confirms that two "highly motivated" companies are discussing the possibility of deals that would either give the company enough money to continue on and restructure itself or else to effectively buy out the resources of the entire store chain.
The Palm Pre is already poised to run on more widespread GSM networks but may be more costly regardless of network, according to separate reports. Company European sales VP Paul Ghent tells site Pocket-lint that while the initial version of the Pre is limited to CDMA, a version with at least GSM is enroute to the region for the second half of the year. No mention is made of UMTS or HSPA, though all new Palm GSM phones above the Centro have shipped with both 3G technologies in the past year.
Palm's new Pre smartphone borrows heavily from the Apple iPhone, but shows a lot of promise, writes Needham analyst Charlie Wolf. Palm announced the Pre at a major CES event on Thursday, revealing a device with features signature to the iPhone, such as an accelerometer and multi-touch controls. Wolf argues that the phone may in fact be better in some regards, particularly in terms of its ability to sync contacts and calendars across numerous devices.
TRENDnet has announced two of its latest devices, the 300Mbps Wireless N Travel Router, and the 300Mbps Wireless N Gaming Adapter. Standing only 2.5 inches wide by 3.25 inches long by 0.75 inches high, the Wireless N Travel Router is claimed by the company to be the smallest of its type in the world. The compact size nonetheless allows MIMO antennas to improve reception. Feature support is likewise the same as for larger routers, including up to WPA2 encryption.
Imagination Technologies has quietly introduced a new PowerVR SGX chipset at CES that may point to the future of the iPhone and other graphics-intensive smartphones. The PowerVR SGX543 is the first to use a new platform which its creator estimates is much faster than older SGX and MBX chips. Its new, more vector-friendly graphics engine is about 40 percent faster than the previous SGX series in very effects-heavy graphics, the company claims, and is much faster in floating point math, geometry setup, and culling unneeded parts of the scene than the previous generation.
AMD entered the second day of CES with a formal unveiling for the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4000 series of notebook graphics chips. The new wave of hardware is based on the same core architecture as the desktop 4000 series and in many cases are much faster for the power used than earlier generations; AMD estimates that performance is as much as twice as fast on a given part versus its 3000 series ancestor. Much of the gain comes from both a cooler 55 nanometer proccess as well an increased number of stream (graphics) units, with the top-end Mobility Radeon HD 4870 and 4850 carrying 800 of the effects generators versus just 320 on the 3870.
JVC Mobile at CES introduced a unique car audio head unit known as the KD-AVX77. The 5.4-inch wide touchscreen unit forgoes nearly all buttons for its control interface. Instead, the device also has a proximity sensor that can register a user's moving hand in front of it to exit its screen saving mode. As the controls are virtual, users can switch the positioning of commonly used functions such as the volume controls. The head unit can play back DVDs as well as CDs, displaying movie content on its display, which is nearly ideally suitable for widescreen movie playback, where the black lines on top or bottom of the image are removed.
At the CES show, Pioneer showed off a number of new products for the home theater crowd. Made up of four new A/V receivers and three new Blu-ray players, the products bring new features at a lower price level than before. Among the new Blu-ray players is the flagship DBP-09FD with DVD upscaling to 1080p resolutions and 24fps. It is BD Live ready and support Bonus View. Apart from 48-bit deep color support, there are dual HDMI 1.3a outputs and a Pioneer 16-bit video processor.
Memorex at CES launched several new audio products including three iPod docks and a touchscreen MP3 player. The Mi9490P offers a 30-watt speaker system, slot-load CD player and an FM radio, with an integrated dock for the iPod or iPhone. The all-black housing is designed with slightly rounded edges and a white-on-black LCD. The Mi4290P provides clock-radio functions in addition to the dock capabilities. Users can control the system with a remote or set the alarm to play an iPod track.
Compositor at CES unveiled several MeeSeries products including the MeeBox media storage device, MeeFrame digital photo frames, MeeTV LCD and a MeeCeiver attachment for other televisions. The MeeBox includes two hard drives with capacities up to 2TB, although half of the space is used for automatic backup of any data. The device serves as the central unit for the system, controlling the wireless distribution of media to the digital frames or TV.
Electronista got a first-hand look at several new Griffin accessories featured at CES and Macworld, including the Navigate controller and upcoming IFM app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The Navigate controller features an integrated FM tuner and a white-on-black LCD screen. The track information was easy to view but subtle, while the control buttons allowed easy browsing through the songs, playlists or FM channels.
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