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Sony has almost immediately followed up on late rumors with an official update to its Reader line of e-book devices. The new PRS-300 Pocket Edition and PRS-600 Touch Edition readers are less expensive than the PRS-505 was when new but have a similar 600x800 e-paper display and in some cases make significant improvements: while both have just 512MB of memory built-in, either will take not only Memory Sticks for extra storage but also SD cards. They also get a new, native Mac client for loading books over USB in addition to the existing Windows version.
A leak Tuesday evening suggests Sony's new Reader devices should come in step with a price drop on the e-books themselves. Pointing only to an individual "briefed on the matter," the Wall Street Journal both confirms the pair of devices leaked earlier and says that prices on bestseller books will drop from $12 to $10, falling in line with both Amazon's Kindle Store and the Barnes & Noble store. Sony has already helped drive lower-cost books by adding Google's catalog of free, public domain titles.
Palm has quietly swelled the ranks of its marketing team with another one-time Apple executive, a discovery made today shows. Although unpublicized, the company has chosen Jeff Zwerner as its Senior Vice President of Brand Design and takes an executive who has worked twice with Apple to create its image, once between 1995 and 1996 as a Senior Art Director and again between 2001 and 2003 as its Creative Director for Packaging. He has also worked at numerous high-profile companies, including Coca-Cola, Disney, The Gap, HP, LL Bean and Nike.
A new USBConfiguration.plist in the latest iPhone firmware v3.1 beta lists an unknown Apple device tagged as "iProd," according to Ars Technica. The original v3.0 firmware beta contained code for iProd0,1. The latest version, however, has changed the designation to iProd1,1.
In spite of high-profile launches, notebooks based on Intel's Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) aren't having much success in the market, contacts in the PC industry said Tuesday. Sales were expected to pick up in July and August but, DigiTimes said, have been modest even when the ultraportables were bundled with coupons to upgrade to Windows 7 for free. These companies are now counting on systems actually shipping with Windows 7 to see a jump, which for many won't occur until November.
HP has released a pair of business notebooks, with the 14.0-inch Compaq 515 and 15.6-inch Compaq 610. Either sports an LED-backlit display with 1366x768 resolution, and the 515's processing power coming from a choice of AMD Athlon X2 or Turion X2 processors paired with as much as 8GB of RAM. Graphics processing is handled by the integrated ATI Radeon HD 3200 GPU. Otherwise, users can opt for a 250GB hard drive, and there is a standard-issue DVD burner and optional 2-megapixel webcam. Wi-Fi is integrated, and the systems start at 5lbs with a standard 6-cell battery.
First rumored in June and more recently spotted, the Nokia N97 Mini has finally received some detailed information, including unofficial specs, thanks to a recent Mobile-Review report. A smaller version of Nokia's flagship device, the N97 Mini is expected to be formally introduced at the Nokia World 2009 expo on September 2 in Germany. As the suffix in the name implies, the device is smaller than its namesake, sporting a 2.9-inch touchscreen display with 640x360 resolution and automatic brightness control, which is very close to the Nokia 5530XM.
To coincide with the launch of the myTouch 3G handset at T-Mobile on Wednesday, TeleNav on Tuesday said it will begin offering a free 30-day trial of its GPS Navigator service for the handset at the same time. The turn-by-turn GPS navigation service will be launched with a 30-day free trial, to which subscribers have to sign up via TeleNav's website.
Epson on Tuesday introduced the V500, its latest scanner designed for small offices or home-based businesses. The device integrates a 30-page automatic document feeder with scan speeds of up to three pages per minute. ReadyScan LED technology is claimed to eliminate warm-up time when starting a scan or switching between reflective and film scanning.
Dell's return to handhelds in the US may be led by a mid-size device with an unusual sales strategy, one rumor maintains. A "well-connected" source in the industry for Wired says it would have a 5-inch touchscreen but would be based on Intel hardware, likely an Atom chip, rather than the ARM architecture normally used in phone-class devices. Rather than insist on a full price, though, Dell would give the tablet away for free in return for agreeing to a content subscription; users would agree to take books or "other media" that would be viewable on the tablet.
At the SIGGRAPH show that kicked off on Tuesday in New Orleans, the Khronos Group announced the release of its latest OpenGL graphics standard, OpenGL 3.2 (PDF). This update, the third major one in the last year, improves performance, quality, accelerated geometry processing and greater flexibility in dealing with 3D applications. Open GL 3.1 was released in March.
Best known for its optical storage, Maxell today entered the realm of flash memory with its first four products in the category. The first offerings are headlined by a USB flash drive that, in an uncommon turn, has its own microSDHC card reader to support memory from phones and other small handhelds without giving up permanent storage of its own. A microSDHC card line is also coming from Maxell itself.
A handful of images have leaked today of the Zune HD ahead of a more official announcement for the device expected later today. Aside from confirming a black color in addition to the known silver, the shots also show that the music player has a significantly reworked music interface that lets users browse content more visually than on current Zunes, which only show a very small thumbnail. They also show the interface for HD Radio's sub-channels and replace early shots' "more" menu item with an "Internet" item, hinting that all non-Marketplace features, like web browsing, will go into that category.
Intel on Tuesday afternoon upped the performance of its Xeon line by adding a new flagship model as well as three new models for simpler workstations and servers. The 3.33GHz Xeon W5590 boosts the speed of the quad-core, dual-socket Xeon beyond its previous 3.2GHz ceiling. It has the same 6.4 gigatransfer per second (GTps), point-to-point interface bus as Intel's best processors as well as 8MB of Level 2 cache. At a peak thermal power of 130W, it's intended for full-size systems.
NVIDIA will apparently soon roll out a less potent version of its Ion platform, according to a Tuesday Fudzilla report. The LE moniker has been used to designate an entry-level product at NVIDIA in the past, and the product PR manager for EMEA ION/notebook products, Igor Stanek, said the Ion LE chipset was designed specifically for use in Windows XP notebooks and nettops.
Chipmaker AMD has announced that its ATI FirePro M7740 GPU will find its way into Dell's Precision M6400 series of notebooks. The chipset provides 1GB of DDR5 memory, along with 30-bit DisplayPort and dual-link DVI output. It is aimed mainly at graphics professionals, such as CAD users.
Olympus is already preparing a sequel to its E-P1 that would address at least one main complaint about the Micro Four Thirds camera, according to a claim by French magazine Chasseur d'Images. Coming from the same issue that accurately leaked the Nikon S1000pj under its working codename, the assertion intercepted by Photo Rumors has an Olympus E-P2 adding a built-in viewfinder. The current model only has an optional viewfinder that needs to use the camera's hot shoe, preventing it from using flash at the same time and providing a view separate from what the lens itself sees.
Kensington on Tuesday announced the upcoming release of its TwoFold Notebook Stand and TwoFold Notebook Stand and Sleeve, either of which is designed to elevate the viewing screen on users' notebook PCs for reduced eye and neck strain, whether they are sitting, lying or sitting at a desk. The stands can accommodate notebooks between 14.1- and 15.4 inches in size, with straps that keep the notebook from sliding down. Either is available in either gray and blue or gray and green.
The number of 3G phone users in the US should overtake those in Japan for the first time in the space of two years, a new TeleGeography study says. Although Japan has had the largest 3G base since becoming the first country to get the speed in 2001, it's expected that the sheer number of users in the US will eclipse Japan's by 2011. The delay comes partly because of very quick adoption in the Asian country, where about 85 percent of all its users have 3G hardware.
Bell this morning finally committed to a ship date and price for its version of the Palm Pre that make it only the second carrier in the world after Sprint to offer the smartphone. It should ship on August 27th and will sell for $200 when paired with a typical-for-Canada three-year contract that includes at least a 500MB per month data plan. The new carrier's version doesn't vary sharply from the reference version reviewed here but, as a result, should have full HTML web browsing, multi-network instant messaging and deep integration with Facebook and Google services, including Google Maps.
UK phone maker INQ Mobile on Tuesday announced it will soon offer two new 3G handsets that will bring quick access to social networking site Twitter, push Gmail compatibility and the capability to sync via iTunes on PCs and, in a rare instance Macs. The INQ Chat 3G is the provider's first QWERTY phone while the INQ Mini 3G sports the more traditional candybar form factor with number pad. The phone are sold on pre-paid plans, and Twitter compatibility is new to either, as previous handsets from INQ had support for Facebook, Skype and instant messaging programs.
Sony could be in the last stages of winding down existing PlayStation 3 sales in preparation for its slim 120GB version launching soon. A leaked note from a Japanese retailer has the 80GB PS3 unavailable for order after August 9th as the result of a Sony request; the move also asks the store to take down displays advertising the 80GB console. As the 160GB edition isn't sold in Japan, the move would leave the retailer without any PS3s until a future revision.
Microsoft today rolled out its first modern wireless desktop intended for comfort first. The Wireless Comfort Desktop 5000 combines a more specifically designed ergonomic curve in the keyboard itself as well as a softened palm rest to keep it use for hours at a time with less risk of pain. Although not tied to any particular operating system, it's one of Microsoft's first combination kits optimized for Windows 7 and turns the My Favorites keys into Taskbar Favorites, automatically switching to open apps based on their relative position.
Logitech on Tuesday introduced the slim USB Unifying Receiver, a new approach made to pair up multiple Unifying-compatible wireless Logitech mice and keyboards. Thus far, Logitech's system includes the new K350 and K340 wireless keyboards as well as similarly new M705 and M505 mice. The USB receiver is shaped like the existing Nano Receiver and protrudes less than a third of an inch from the side of a notebook or desktop PC or Mac, allowing users to leave it plugged in without worrying about catching it on anything.
NEC on Tuesday entered into the field of DisplayPort-capable displays through the 23-inch MultiSync EA231WMi. The full-size connector gives owners of newer computers a future-proof display option and comes alongside DVI and VGA inputs for those using older or less compatible formats. It also brings new features for the company outside of this, such as an ambient light sensor and a new multi-directional pad for navigating on-display menu options.
Panasonic this morning gave all of its Viera Cast Blu-ray players support for Amazon's Video On Demand service. The feature gives the company's more advanced disc readers from 2009, including its portable reader, the option of streaming purchases and rentals directly from the reader without needing the storage for a complete copy. Using VOD isn't dependent on having a matching Panasonic TV (which already supports the feature) and supports HD with a sufficiently fast connection.
Nikon today quickly validated last-minute leaks by launching four Coolpix cameras, two of which are company if not industry firsts. The S1000pj is the first known still camera to have its own projector and can output images up to 40 inches across, including during slideshows with background music. The 12-megapixel camera is similarly advanced for compacts outside of this and has a 5X stabilized lens along with smart portrait enhancements for face detection and masking skin imperfections; it shoots at up to ISO 6,400 at a reduced resolution.
Toshiba this morning broke ground with its first storage card using the new SDXC standard. The 64GB card is both the largest SD card of any type but also offers performance closer to a CF card: it's the fastest SD card at write speeds of 35MB per second and read speeds of 60MB per second. Such speeds render the card fast enough for continuous still shooting with a DSLR or HD video capture, especially when offloading footage to a computer.
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