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LG at an evening event Thursday opted to unveil a major reworking of its LCD HDTVs first in the US. The SL80 and SL90 together have a near-seamless look that tries to hide the separation between the bezel, the LCD and the speakers. Of the two, the SL90 is also LG's technology leader and has an LED backlight that ramps the dynamic contrast ratio up to a company-best 3,000,000:1. Appropriately, it also gets a 240Hz refresh rate, an ambient light sensor and audio tuning that adjusts the volume for spoken dialogue without touching most anything else in a movie or TV show. It becomes one of LG's thinnest at 1.15 inches deep.
LG tonight at last confirmed some details of the first-ever touchscreen phone in its Chocolate line. Now known to be the BL40, the device revolves around a one-off 4-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio display with an 800x345 resolution that makes it ideal for watching movies without cropping or losing interface elements. While narrower than some 800x480 phones, the ratio permits an unusual twin view option that can show two types of content simultaneously.
Sonic on Wednesday announced CineVision Adaptive HD, a codec developed specifically for streaming HD video content to Internet-connected devices. The technology combines the CineVision HD encoding process, claimed to be used for Blu-ray production, with Widevine's adaptive streaming system.
Game maker THQ's chief Brian Farrell recently corroborated last week's report that Microsoft's Project Natal body controller for the Xbox 360 will be out late in 2010. Speaking in a conference call regarding THQ's earnings report, Farrell said Natal from Microsoft is a "platform addition, coming late next year," when asked about market changes in the upcoming cycle.
A leaked internal document from Verizon indicates that a couple of new handsets will be made available at the wireless provider. According to the document, the previously spotted Samsung Rogue U960 will replace the Glyde on August 15th, while a device known as the Verizon Razzle will replace the Blitz on August 31st. The Razzle is due to get a swiveling bottom section that reveals a QWERTY keyboard, a 1.3-megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth support and will include a 1GB memory card.
Onkyo has recently announced the upcoming release of two 7.1-channel home theater systems with advanced audio processing, including support for all current audio formats, including the vertical dimensions added by ProLogic IIz. The HT-S7200 and HT-S6200 surround sound systems are rated at the same 130 watts per channel, with a speaker system that includes an active 230W subwoofer. Onkyo's U-Port iPod dock is included with each system.
GPS maker Mio has announced it will soon offer two new portable navigation devices, the Moov M300 and M400. The identical devices are called Navman M300 and Navman M400 over on Mio's English website, with the former offering a 3.5-inch screen that has a 320x240 resolution, and the latter sporting a 4.3-inch LCD with 480x272 resolution. The Moov M300 will come with a map of France pre-loaded, while the Navman M300 will have a map of the UK and Ireland loaded onto its storage space. The M400s get mapping data for 23 European countries. Either way, users get speed radar locations, and free updates for one year.
Smartphones from Apple and others should help the number of GPS-aware smartphones surge this year, according to a Strategy Analytics study. Shipments of the devices should spike a large 34 percent to 77 million phones and are chiefly credited to rapidly growing sales of devices like the iPhone, Nokia N97 or BlackBerry Tour. Many often have stronger mapping tools like BlackBerry Maps, Google Maps and Nokia Maps built-in, encouraging GPS use right away.
Deals from DealNN today include a variety of items from MacBooks to digital cameras. Most notable is a price drop on the 13.3-inch unibody MacBook from MacMall.com, it is now priced at $924.99 after mail-in-rebate. The unibody MacBook features a 2.0GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive as well as a glass multi-touch trackpad, built-in iSight webcam and microphone.
Rumors of an N97 Mini gained traction on Wednesday with images that may represent the device. The smartphone seen by Engadget almost exactly mirrors the larger Nokia phone but removes the directional pad and moves buttons to shrink the overall size, including the screen. The rear camera has also lost the protective cover present on the full N97 and many other Nokia smartphones.
Onkyo has announced it will soon begin offering its newest Blu-ray player, the DV-BD507, in the US. The device supports BD Live 2.0 content, enabling it to access bonus online content of compatible Blu-ray movies. The HDMI 1.3a connection delivers both high resolution mulit-channel audio and 1080p video to connected home theater systems and HDTVs, respectively. There is an SDHC memory card slot for playing back multimedia content stored on the storage cards, with support for AVCHD formats commonly used in HD camcorders.
HP's netbook line should get a larger 11.6-inch model if a source today proves true. Computer industry contacts for DigiTimes say Quanta is about to mass-produce such a system next month. Other details aren't published, but the larger size likely means a 1366x768 screen resolution instead of the more common 1024x600. One of HP's 10-inch netbooks should also get a revision and is purportedly slated by its manufacturer, Inventec, to be mass-produced in September.
Joby this afternoon shifted the GorillaPod past its original camera focus and launched the GorillaMobile. The tripod can attach to the back of many devices, particularly pocketable devices like the iPhone or a Flip camera, and relies on the company's signature adjustable ball joint legs to give it a stable surface regardless of where it's placed. It works as a conventional stand but can be bent to grab on to surfaces such as a bicycle handle.
Two separate slips have confirmed a pair of new BlackBerries in development for the new future. The first confirms that a CDMA version of the Curve 8520 is in development. It should be fundamentally similar, but according to BGR will be one of the first devices to reflect Verizon's acceptance of Wi-Fi and will come with both the short-range networking as well as EVDO-based 3G and GPS. The lower resolution 320x240 screen, 2-megapixel camera and optical trackpad will still carry over, but it's now expected to be one of the first phones loaded with BlackBerry OS 5.0.
Kodak on Wednesday announced it has updated its Theatre HD Player, equipping it with the ability to view YouTube HD content, browse the web and read RSS news feeds. For this, the Theatre HD requires an Internet connection via networks over a Wi-Fi or wired link, though local photos and videos can also be played back. There is DivX, XviD, H.264 and WMV-9 video support. The updated system, Version 1.4, can now also play back 1080p videos, rather than the older setup's 720p playback.
People have already managed to crack Windows 7 Ultimate and distribute it online, accounts say. The pirated version is based on a Lenovo OEM release, from which an ISO file was created and posted on a Chinese forum. Hackers subsequently managed to extract the OEM-SLP key and the activation certificate, allowing users to bypass Microsoft's Genuine Advantage copy protection. The technology normally requires online validation.
BenQ on Wednesday announced the upcoming release of a new LCD TV, the 23.6-inch MK2442. The set is meant to act as a secondary unit or for dorms, where it can double as a computer display. The MK2442 outputs at 1080p (1920x1080) with the option of handling 24FPS movies without conversion. For all sources, it has a 5ms average pixel response time as well as a dynamic contrast ratio of 10,000:1. An HDMI 1.3 input feeds the set with both audio and video signals. Computer inputs aren't mentioned but should be available.
Activision today provided more details of its controller and bundle for the limited-run version of DJ Hero, now called the Renegade Edition. The special version will have a black turntable with special gold-effect sliders and other trim. A special hard case doubles as a stand for the turntable itself, bringing up the controller to standing height. CDs from Eminem and Jay-Z will also come with the bundle and offer some tracks that haven't been released before.
Electronics producer LG today said it has teamed up with Vudu to integrate the latter's on-demand movie and TV services into its HDTVs. This will allow the Internet-connected TVs to browse and view a full library of content, including in HD. Currently, Vudu offers set-top boxes that need to plugged into a TV and network connection, which adds to the clutter and complexity of a living room, as well as adding another remote control. With the partnership with LG, Vudu hopes to make its service more accessible to customers.
Microsoft's first retail stores will launch in two cities where Apple already has a major presence, the company confirmed today. The Windows developer has signed leases both in Mission Viejo, California as well as Scottsdale, Arizona and will be surrounded by Apple retail shops. The California store will be the only one to open in the same mall as its rival, launching in The Shops at Mission Viejo, but all of them will have five Apple stores within driving distance.
Kodak on Wednesday announced it will soon add three new 12-megapixel digital cameras to its range, including the Z950, the M381 and M341. All also share Kodak's Smart Capture feature, which automatically adjusts focus, flash and exposure in any setting. The Z950 sports the biggest lens with 10X optical zoom and image stabilization. Framing shots is done via a 3-inch LCD, and Kodak has reduced the time between clicking the shutter button and the actual photo capture to under a third of a second. A face detection feature is built-in, and users can edit their photos and videos on the camera itself.
Logitech today overhauled nearly all of its webcams at once with seven new models, including two high-end models. The Webcam Pro 9000 is one of its first to capture in HD and supports 720p for those apps that recognize it. It has other similarly high-end features with a native 2-megapixel sensor, automatic light compensation and Carl Zeiss optics. Shipping begins in August for this and all other cameras mentioned today; the 9000 should sell for $100 and will be matched by the C905, an equivalent intended for notebooks.
Eye-Fi on Wednesday announced it will soon add a Geo wireless SD memory card to its lineup that will be capable of geotagging photos exclusively for Mac computers. The 2GB SD card automatically saves GPS mapping information for captured photos and videos before transferring them to a given computer. It's primarily intended for Mac users and fully supports Apple's iPhoto '08 and '09 as well as MobileMe. As with other Eye-Fi cards, the photos are wirelessly transferred to a pre-selected folder on a Mac over a user's Wi-Fi network.
T-Mobile today confirmed frequent rumors by launching its own version of the HTC Touch Pro2. The Windows Mobile 6.1 phone reaches the US carrier with 1,700MHz 3G native to T-Mobile's network and replaces the Wing in the company's phone roster. Its centerpiece is a 3.6-inch, 800x480 touchscreen that provides a much larger view, particularly for the web or for HTC's TouchFLO interface for contacts and music.
Among a number of camera launches, Kodak this morning unveiled one of the first pocket camcorders to record at 1080p. The Zi8 can capture at a full 1920x1080 at 30 frames per second, producing movies that show at the full resolution of a Blu-ray movie. It can also capture at 720p using a fast 60 frames per second and is unique in having a microphone jack to support more professional-sounding audio.
Microsoft and Yahoo today at last announced a partnership between the two companies for both ads and search. The 10-year deal will see Microsoft's Bing search engine replace Yahoo's own in most areas and will give the Windows developer a license to Yahoo's search technology to use for itself. In return, Yahoo will sell premium ads for both companies and will collect revenue from Microsoft for traffic sent its way during the first five years. Microsoft also vows to guarantee Yahoo's revenue for the first year and a half the new arrangements take effect in a given country. It should improve Yahoo's cash flow by about $275 million per year.
Sprint on Wednesday revealed spring quarter results that show the Palm Pre having relatively little impact on its health. The company's losses widened to $384 million compared to $341 million a year ago and it reported losing about 257,000 total customers, shrinking to 48.8 million users. While it gained 938,000 prepaid customers on Boost Mobile, this and other gains were offset by losses across the board, including 393,000 of its core CDMA phone network users.
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