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Disney has collaborated with Asus to produce a Disney-branded netbook, known as the Netpal, that focuses on the market for kids aged six to 12. The device is based on the computer maker's Eee PC, with a 8.9-inch display, Wi-Fi connectivity and an Intel Atom processor. Each machine will run on Windows XP, but with a customized interface featuring themes such as Mickey Mouse, Cars, Toy Story and WALL-E, among others.
T-Mobile is reportedly set to launch a new Android-based handset sometime this summer, unnamed sources told the Wall Street Journal. The new device is allegedly called myTouch 3G, with a slightly rounded back and gloss finish, and will be manufactured by HTC. Confirming FCC filings, the myTouch carries the same basic design as the HTC Magic, an Android device currently limited to Vodafone distribution in the UK.
Syabas Technology on Tuesday released a couple of photos and announced the specifications of its latest Popcorn Hour network media hub, the C-200. Compared to the company's existing products, such as the A-110, the C-200 has front-panel mounted 3.5-inch drive bay that can house a Blu-ray drive; it also gets a gigabit Ethernet connection.
The Palm Pre handset will be coming to some European markets by the end of September, says the official distributor of Apple products in Romania, Apcom/IRIS. Zsolt Kadar, the marketing director of Apcom/IRIS, said the late September European availability depends on how well the Pre sells in the US. Palm products are distributed in Romania by Omnisoft, which has not released any statements.
Sony has recently taken the wraps off its latest portable music player, the Walkman NWZ-B142F (JE) Zappin, which is effectively an update to the company's B-series players. Chief among the changes is a Zap button that is also found on other Walkman players, such as the W series, that lets users find tracks by listening to five-second samples. The Zappin has an integrated USB interface and contains 2GB of memory that is filled simply by users dragging and dropping MP3 and WMA audio files into it, without having to install any special syncing software. An FM tuner is built in, as is a voice and FM radio recorder.
Wireless provider Cricket on Tuesday announced it is now offering the Samsung MyShot II SCH-r460 handset. The flip phone is a replacement for the current MyShot and sports MP3 music playback capabilities, a microSD memory card slot, stereo Bluetooth, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. It will be the first Cricket phone to offer MyHomeScreen, which lets users customize their home screen with their choice of widgets to quickly access account information, Internet websites or social networking services.
Samson has released the R16, a new addition to its Zoom audio capture roster. The R16 is used to record up to eight audio tracks simultaneously (16 if a second R16 is attached) while controlling the sound of each track individually. The device is portable, running on 6 AA batteries, and can take a 32GB SDHC card to help make the device lighter. The SD card also simplifies file transfers, is less susceptible to crashes and holds up to about 100 uncompressed audio tracks.
BenQ recently announced the upcoming release of its ultra-portable netbook, the 13.3-inch Joybook Lite T131. Weighing in at just under 4lbs, the 13.3-inch T131 sports a 1.6GHz AMD Sempron 200U processor based on the same platform as the Athlon Neo and which should give performance better than netbooks without a major increase in bulk. A minimum of 1GB of RAM is onboard, as is an ATI Mobility Radeon X1270 graphics chipset that can drive HD video playback. The standard 250GB hard drive -- a 320GB drive is an option -- comes preloaded with Windows Vista Home Basic.
The iPhone 3G's price drop to $99 is a large enough move that it could overhaul the entire cellphone industry, according to research by Nielsen. Analyst Roger Entner believes the cut "completely changes" the worth of every phone already on offer and won't just hurt smartphones, where the comparisons are more evident, but any limited "feature" phone that nears the price point. Any cellphone over $49 is "kneecapped" and will look like either it costs too much to make or that the carrier is asking too high a price, Entner says.
Altec Lansing today expanded into more serious in-ear listening with its Backbeat Pro in-canal earphones. The set uses neoprene ear tips and dual flanges for a close fit to a wearer's ear in order to isolate it from ambient noise. Each earpiece has a single armature but is characterized as balanced rather than emphasizing bass.
Dell at a Parisian event today briefly showed a mystery notebook likely to be the company's first based on Intel's Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) initative. Without naming the model or detailing its features, Phil Bryant and Michael Tatelman of the company told Engadget and observers that it's part of an "entirely new model line" of thin notebooks. No release information has been given and echoes the Adamo teaser at CES, which preceded an actual launch by months.
A US Senate committee today has started taking testimony today from representatives of major carriers over concerns of climbing text messaging rates. The questioning of AT&T, Cricket and Verizon officials follows recent concerns raised by Senator Herb Kohl that the carriers may be colluding on price hikes for SMS even though the actual cost of delivering each message remains the same or is decreasing due to economies of scale. Most major cellphone services have often increased their rates within short succession of each other and rarely if ever drop prices.
Clearwire on Tuesday officially released its 4G WiMAX wireless broadband network in Atlanta, making it the largest city in the US to offer the service. The service, CLEAR, is available to about three million people in a 1,200-square mile area, offering users DSL-like cable speeds wherever they are, wirelessly. Running on a WiMAX radio system from Motorola, the service is said to deliver realistic download speeds between 4 and 6Mbps, with burst speeds greater than 15Mbps. In comparison, existing 3G networks provide download speeds between 1 and 1.7Mbps.
Plans are underway to spread the Kindle format, and open up access to the dedicated hardware, says Amazon's CEO. Speaking at a Wired conference, Jeff Bezos has explained that Kindle books should continue to sell for $10 as they go on sale through the iPhone plus "other mobile devices and other computing devices." A Kindle app is already available for the iPhone, though purchases must currently be made via the web.
Opera on Tuesday unveiled its Opera Unite service that breaks with tradition by allowing users to share files with other computer users via their web browsers and not a third-party server. Ease-of-use is being touted as an advantage of the new software, and Opera expects even devices with modern web browsers, such as smartphones, will also be able to access the files. As Opera Unite services are based on current open web standards, creating a full web service is said to be as easy as coding a web page.
The E-P1 will be supplemented by more distinct Micro Four Thirds models and with more professional features, Olympus product planning manager Akira Watanabe said in the wake of the new camera launch today. He explains to DPReview that the E-P1 is just the first in a larger range and that at least one future model will have an electronic viewfinder, much as Panasonic's Lumix G1 and GH1 have now. More lenses should also come in tow and may include more prime lenses beyond the new 17mm f2.8.
Garmin-ASUS at CommunicAsia on Tuesday said that its decision to launch Android phones next year will mark the end of the partnership's custom Linux variant. The nuvifone G60 will now be both the first and last phone to run the in-house OS and all future nuvifones will either use Android or else, like the M20, Windows Mobile. Reasons for the switch haven't been explained to CNET but likely center on both the true smartphone-level feature set as well as the reduced work of using an existing OS rather than developing from scratch.
Western Digital this morning entered into the solid-state drive field in earnest and launched its SiliconDrive III range. The result of its buyout of SiliconSystems earlier this year, the drives are targeted at professionals where longevity is more important than sheer speed. Although they don't have read and write speeds faster than 100MB and 80MB per second respectively, they have a unique predictive feature that calculates the remaining lifespan of a drive so that it can be replaced before it fails.
Storage device maker Kingston Technology on Monday announced it has released a new USB flash drive series, the DataTraveler 200, with the first-ever 128GB USB flash drive available. The range also offers 32GB and 64GB models. All have password protection in the form of Password Traveler security software for Windows. The DT200s have a capless design, with the USB connector retracting into the device's body for protection.
Logitech on Tuesday added a new mid-range notebook mouse to its catalog in the M555b. Although simple with just a four-button design, it borrows the metal scroll wheel from the MX and VX lines to either freely spin through very large documents or else to click step-by-step through smaller content. It also abandons RF wireless in favor of Bluetooth to free up a USB port.
GPS hardware maker Garmin on Tuesday announced it will double its wrist-mounted Foretrex range, adding to the current Foretrex 201 and Foretrex 101 with the Foretrex 301 and 401. The devices are flexible enough to be used by families or military personnel, and feature a built-in, high-sensitivity GPS receiver, waterproof and rugged construction with a USB interface. Hikers or mountain bikers can save their trail as a series of points via the TracBack feature, and up to 500 waypoints can be saved in memory.
Cisco today gave its Flip cameras a key update with the launch of FlipShare.com, its matching Flip Channels and a new iPhone app. The new feature gives users their own collection of videos on the Cisco-run website but, unlike YouTube or similar pages, lets users more specifically share videos only with with certain groups rather than just the entire public or all of a user's friends. In addition to a software update launching today, all Flip cameras shipping from today onwards will have the feature.
ARM has teased the future of the iPhone and other smartphones with added early details for its first dual-core mobile processor design. The Cortex A9 will shrink the manufacturing process from the 65 nanometers used on the single-core Cortex A8 used in the iPhone 3G S to 45 nanometers, letting it add the extra core without significantly affecting the power draw. Although it consumes more energy at peak, the smaller process and multiprocessing should ultimately lead to longer battery life.
Olympus today finally launched the E-P1, its first camera using the Micro Four Thirds system and the first to adopt a non-SLR profile. Meant to recall the company's PEN cameras, it has a consciously retro but compact design that allows a large DSLR sensor and removable lenses but without the depth needed with a conventional mirror box or large optics. In a unique approach, Olympus doesn't have a dedicated electronic viewfinder beyond the 3-inch LCD but does give the choice of an optical add-on viewfinder.
Ending a degree of speculation, Research in Motion on Tuesday launched the BlackBerry Tour 9630. The smartphone is the first modern QWERTY keyboard device for CDMA networks and inherits the overall design of the Curve 8900, including its larger 2.44-inch 480x360 screen, but the keys of the Bold. It's also the second 3G world roaming phone for these networks in recent months and has both CDMA and EVDO Revision A for North American carriers but GSM and EDGE for the Americas as well as HSPA for European 3G services.
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