Apple, Google now spending more on patents than original research
At a 2006 meeting, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told people that the company was going to "patent it all" when it came to the iPhone, according to a former Apple executive reached by the New York Times. The decision was reportedly inspired by previous losses in intellectual property cases, mostly notably to Creative, which it ended up paying $100 million in order to settle a dispute over a "portable music playback device" patent. Following the meeting, Apple engineers are said to have been brought into monthly "invention disclosure sessions" where just about any idea was treated as patentable by lawyers.
Wired, wireless version ship at end of September
At the German GamesCom expo today, Creative Technology announced both a wireless and wired version of the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage gaming headset for PC and Mac. The headsets feature 50mm full-spectrum drivers, with a frequency response of 20Hz through 20KHz.
Creative announces new Bluetooth speaker range
Creative has taken the covers off its new range of Sound BlasterAxx Bluetooth wireless speakers with built-in mics for making calls. The three speaker line-up is comprised of the SBX 20, SBX 10 and the (tethered) SBX 8, with all powered by Creative’s own SB-Axx1 advanced audio effects processor. The speakers will stream music from Android and iOS devices using a free companion app over distances of up to 33 feet, as the video embedded below shows.
Smart Audio aims to profit from others' audio work
Mostly unknown Smart Audio Technologies has hoped to skim profits from the audio industry after filing a low-key lawsuit late last week that was publicized Tuesday. The Delaware-based complaint accuses Apple, Creative Labs, and Philips of violating the same February 2001-era patent for car audio system with a random access player that supports playlists. Smart Audio isn't clear what products are violating its technology, although iOS and iPod devices are possible candidates.
HN-900 & Aurvana X-Fi 2 cancel noise by 85 percent
Creative has introduced a pair of noise-canceling headphones. The HN-900 integrates an in-line microphone with the over-the-ear headset. The Aurvana X-Fi 2 is a pure headphone, but supports a multi-dimensional surround-sound effect.
Packard Bell to ship refreshed oneTwo PC soon
The UK's Packard Bell this week unveiled a redesigned oneTwo all-in-one desktop. It's now 65 percent thinner than its predecessor, though the numbers aren't available. It will be available in 21.5- and 23-inch screen sizes, both with a 1080p resolution and touch input.
iPod introduced 10 years ago today
Apple's iPod on Sunday marked its tenth anniversary in a very different landscape. The MP3 player was unveiled on October 23, 2001 at an event in Apple's Town Hall at its Cupertino headquarters in what's now considered one of the late Steve Jobs' crowning achievements. Its first iPod, available in just a 5GB capacity with only Mac and FireWire support, reached stores on November 10 that year for $399.
Sound cards get quad-core Sound Core3D tech
Creative unveiled a long-in-waiting revamp of its Sound Blaster sound cards branded with the Recon3D name at IFA. They will use the company's Sound Core3D tech, which it bills as the first in the world with a quad-core sound and voice processor. The sound cards will accelerate THX TruStudio Pro processing and also improve vocals with CrystalVoice.
Creative intros new, capable Zen X-Fi3 players
Creative unveiled its latest portable multimedia players at the start of the IFA show in Berlin with the new Zen X-Fi3. The devices, available in 8GB and 16GB capacities, have a two-inch but sharp 640x480 LCD, Bluetooth 2.1 and a built-in speaker, a microphone and an FM radio. The storage space can be expanded thanks to a microSD memory card slot.
Unveil 7 and 10 inch designs
ZiiLabs has announced the Jaguar family of reference design tablets. Available in seven-inch and ten-inch HD touchscreen versions, they run Android 3. ZiiLabs is making these reference platforms available to OEMs and ODMs to customize into their own tablet designs.
Series includes WP-450, WP-350, and WP-250
Creative has expanded its audio products with several new headphones that focus on wireless connectivity via Bluetooth. The WP-450, WP-350 and WP-250 models integrate "invisible" microphones, enabling users to place and answer phone calls when the headphones are paired with a smartphone or other handset with Bluetooth capabilities.
Creative intros Zen Style M300, ships to US early
Creative had a slew of introductions on Thursday headlined by its own take on the concept behind the iPod nano. The Zen Style M300 and M100 have the square, compact frame but replaces the touchscreen with touch-sensitive buttons at the edges. The M300 adds a rare touch at its size with Bluetooth 2.1 to support wireless headphones and speakers.
PMP features Bluetooth, WiFi, touchscreen
Creative has filed for FCC approval for the Zen Touch 2 media player. The certification is needed due to the 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1 wireless capabilities of the Android-based device. The filing also confirmed that Creative will offer two versions of the player, one with GPS and one without.
Budget tablet starts at $270
Creative has begun shipping its seven-inch tablet, the ZiiO 7. The device is aimed at budget-conscious consumers, while retaining the company's focus on its X-Fi audio processing and connection with wireless speakers. A new audio codec is claimed to bring improvements to latency and quality when the tablet is playing audio through Bluetooth connections.
X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro and X-Fi Go! Pro, December
Creative has launched two USB Soundblaster audio enhancement solutions for PCs, the X-Fi Surround Pro and the X-Fi Go! Pro. The X-Fi Surround Pro can be connected to either a desktop or a notebook to upgrade it to as THX TruStudio Pro entertainment system. The X-Fi Go! Pro is the size of a traditional USB drive, which is aimed at notebooks, but which like its big brother will work on a desktop too.
Creative intros WP-300 headphones and Zen Touch 2
As part of the same launch that brought the Ziio tablets, Creative today put out both a sequel to its Zen Touch MP3 player and a new set of Bluetooth headphones. The Zen Touch 2 is a rare Android-based MP3 player and outputs Bluetooth audio with the same apt-X compression as the Ziios, theoretically supplying lossless wireless sound over Bluetooth. Equally unique is the option of GPS in some models that lets them use stand-alone GPS apps without having to use a cellular connection.
Ziio 7, 10 debut as 1st Creative Android tablets
Creative entered into the tablet arena today with a pair of Android 2.1 tablets. The Ziio 7 and 10 both make audio their strong points and combine Creative's usual X-Fi audio processing with the use of apt-X's new audio codec. The format allows high-quality audio over Bluetooth with reduced lag, making them better fits for wireless headphones and speakers than the usual compressed sound.
Origin PC shows The Big One PC with Xbox 360
Origin PC has taken the wraps off its ultimate gaming PC, dubbed the The Big O. It's unique in having built-in slim Xbox 360 gaming console. Both the Xbox 360 and a Core i7 930 overclocked to 4.0GHz are liquid-cooled, and the base system gets 6GB of RAM. There are also two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards with liquid cooling, and a Rampage III Extreme mainboard is hooked up to the flowing water system to ease overclocking.
Creative Sound Blaster Wireless MultiPlay hits FCC
Creative is near launching a wireless audio system in the vein of a Sonos ZonePlayer, an FCC filing uncovered today. The Sound Blaster Wireless MultiPlay discovered by Engadget would attach directly to a PC and share its audio over 2.4GHz RF wireless to stereo speakers through receivers adround the house. A Wireless Touch Controller would, much like Sonos' CR100, give owners a way of steering music away from the computer.
Creative intros THX gaming headsets, headphones
Creative on Wednesday introduced two new gaming headsets and two headphones. The high-end Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Alpha and Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma gaming headsets feature THX TruStudio Pro technology and customizable profiles. The two new full-size headphones include the HQ-1600 and HQ-1450.
Cambridge SoundWorks ships i525 iPod dock
Cambridge SoundWorks on Monday introduced a new iPod speaker system, the SoundWorks i525. It's the company's first SoundWorks system with support for its parent label Creative's X-Fi audio processing to restore detail to compressed tracks. The system sports two speakers powered by actively equalized stereo amplifier,s while a smart volume leveler will retain a consistent sound across all sources.
Creative outs ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth speaker
Creative has just released its ZiiSound D5 Bluetooth speaker system. The company claimed to have avoided the usual compression problems and is using apt-X for streaming high-quality audio over the 3Mbps link. It should support any A2DP-capable Bluetooth device, including smartphones such as the iPhone as well as other handhelds like the iPad and iPod.
Creative intros entry-level portable BT speakers
Creative recently introduced its D200 and D100 Bluetooth speakers for mobile devices such as smartphones. The D200 is being described as a more affordable version of the ZiiSound D5 and gets 9W of sustained power for each of its two built-in speakers.
Creative details new range of ZEN Style PMPs
Creative on Thursday revealed two new product lines for overseas, the ZEN X-Fi Style and ZEN Style. Either is meant to be stylish and offer a choice of colors. All ZEN X-Fis use a 2.4-inch display with a 320x240 resolution, a built-in speaker and a claimed 25-hour battery life for music or five hours for video. It can be had in 8GB, 16GB or 32GB capacities, and there is no expansion memory card slot.
Creative to begin pre-selling WoW gaming headset
Creative on Thursday announced it will begin offering the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset for pre-orders on Friday. The special edition headset, as suggested, is themed around Blizzard's online RPG. The headset has two interchangeable lenses that feature either Horde or Alliance artwork and pack 16 million-color LEDs.
Nintendo Zii TM may snub Creative hardware
Nintendo raised speculation late Monday by quietly filing for a trademark on the name "Zii" in Japan. The name rights would cover both video games as well as other electronic devices and appears intended to block Creative from using the Zii name on devices in the country, such as the Zii Egg developer media player or the ZiiSound speaker line.
Creative outs ZiiSound speakers docks
At the Zii Summit in Singapore on Tuesday, Creative showed off a new range of iPod speaker docks branded as ZiiSound. Despite the name, the speakers will not have Creative's Zii stemcell processor integrated into them. The ZiiSound D5 iPod dock sports a wireless iPod connector and sends the audio to the actual speakers using Bluetooth.
Zii Trinity serves as reference Android phone
Creative entered the phone arena for the first time today by launching its Zii Trinity platform. Like the Zii Egg, the Trinity is a reference design rather than a full product and gives those building hardware or software a full-touchscreen Android (or Creative's own Plaszma) smartphone to work from. It supports quad-band GSM/EDGE as well as tri-band, 7.2Mbps 3G over HSPA but still carries the ZMS-05 chip that provides 1080p video decoding and hardware accelerated OpenGL ES 3D.
Walmart, Dell, NewEgg show CyberMonday deals
As it's Cyber Monday, which follows Black Friday, many companies continue to offer sales on their wares, with electronics included. Among them are Walmart, Dell and Newegg, with the three retailers showing off what's on sale today. Walmart is taking the sale and extending it for the entire week, calling it Cyber Week. Standout deals from the retailer's 150 sale items include a 12-megapixel digital camera with a memory card and accessory kit for $89, a 10.2-inch Acer netbook with a case and USB flash drive for $268 as well as a 22-inch Samsung LCD HDTV priced at $248.
Vado HD 3G offers better IQ and more
Quickly turning around its pocket camcorders, Creative today added a third-generation Vado HD to its range. The new model carries a slicker design but more importantly addresses the image and audio quality that's sometimes been an issue for these cameras: it has a new sensor with better light sensitivity and manual exposure. A stereo microphone output gives it much cleaner input.
Device marks Creative's foray into cellular market
Creative subsidiary ZiiLABS has announced that it will unveil the Zii smartphone platform at the upcoming Zii Summit event. The ZMS-05 system-on-a-chip (SOC) components are claimed to be the first to offer 1080p video playback capabilities on a handheld device. The Media Rich Processor also boasts OpenGL ES 3D graphics with acceleration for web browsing, video playback and imaging.
Developer Zii EGG gets Android, due for ZMS-05
Creative's sub-brand ZiiLABS on Tuesday released the previously unveiled optimized implementation of the Android operating system for its Plaszma development platforms, including the Zii Egg media player and ZMS-05 system module. The Android Plaszma release is based on Android 1.6 and lets supporting handheld devices play back 1080p videos for the first time.
Creative MediaBook reader to have web access
At its recent annual meeting, Creative unexpectedly announced plans to release an e-book reader it calls the MediaBook. While the name may change before the device makes it to production, features such as a touchscreen, text-to-speech functionality and an SD memory card reader are not expected to change. It should also feature Creative's Zii processor and have the ability to browse the Internet, both of which differentiate it from other e-book readers on the market.
Creative ZEN X-Fi2
Creative today entered touchscreen players in earnest by launching the ZEN X-Fi2. Unlike the currently developer-only and Android-based Zii Egg, the new model is a direct replacement with a custom interface for its 3-inch touchscreen that simplifies the controls. The namesake X-Fi audio engine has also been given a boost and should restore details lost to audio compression not only in music but FM radio and video.
Creative Vado HD 2nd Gen
Creative tonight launched a small but tangible update to its Vado HD pocket video camera aimed at making it more affordable. While its only conspicuous change on the outside is a two-tone color scheme, the company now has a 4GB model that makes the camera more competitive with the falling prices of cameras like the Kodak Zi8. For the first time, the Vado line also gets Mac support: a new app known as Vado Central will let the Vado HD and earlier Vados shuttle videos directly to iMovie.
Creative Zii Egg ships
Creative has begun its first shipments of the Zii Egg, reports say. The device is Creative's first touchscreen media player, equipped with a 3.5-inch, 480x320 multi-touch display. It supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS, and it is also notable for including two VGA cameras, plus HDMI output at resolutions up to 1080p. The current model is actually meant for developers, and uses an open-source operating system.
Creative T3130 T6160 Audio
Creative in mid-week has switched its attention to its computer speakers with two new Inspire speaker offerings. The range is topped by the T6160, a 5.1-channel surround setup that produces 30W across its satellites and supports them with a 20W subwoofer to handle low-end frequencies. It tries to improve high frequency audio through a phase cap that separates the mid-range.
Creative Zii Egg
Arriving late to touchscreen players, Creative today unveiled the Zii Egg. The device is in its stock form a competitor to the iPod touch with a 3.5-inch 480x320 multi-touch display that supports music, photo and video playback as well as web browsing. Creative however sees the device as a development platform. The built-in Plaszma operating system is Linux-based and therefore open-source, letting companies or end users add software, change features or even replace the OS; the device is ready to use Google's Android almost out of the box.
Creative Zii at FCC
Creative's first touchscreen media device has been revealed today through an FCC filing. Just called the Zii, the player is only shown in outline but already reveals some of its key selling points. The name suggests it will be based on the dual-core Zii processor, and an "HD camera" logo near an appropriate port suggests the device will have that level of video capture and playback support.
Creative Aurvana Air
Creative on Wednesday took a different approach to earphones and launched the Aurvana Air. Taking some of its name and basic design philosophy from Apple, the design focuses on weight with unique nickel-titanium ear hooks that keep the earbuds light but which also remember their shape to save owners from readjusting the fit every time. The pair's neodymium drivers are also said powerful with slots specifically meant to drive bass; frequency response is estimated at between 20Hz and 20kHz with 32ohms of impedance.
MSI Syren Audio
MSI today stepped into audio devices with the launch of its Syren line. The series is headlined by the SyrenSound X-Fi, one of the few non-Creative sound cards to use X-Fi hardware. It uses the same technology as Sound Blaster cards to restore missing detail in compressed audio as well as to introduce EAX effects, and supports up to 7.1-channel sound while reducing the CPU overhead versus integrated sound chipsets. The PCI Express-based board currently requires Windows XP or Vista.
Creative adds ZEN MX PMP
Creative has added a new entry-level model to its portable audio player line-up with the ZEN MX. Available in models with 8GB or 16GB of internal memory, the new players look largely like the company's current ZEN players with detail changes to the control button layout. The same 2.5-inch LCD display with 320x240 resolution remains. Supported audio files include MP3, WMA (with DRM) and Audible 4. As for videos, only Creative's proprietary video-CMV format is compatible. Creative did include its Creative Centrale software that will convert videos into the format, however.
Adobe touts CS4 efficiency
The recession has brought a sea-change in the way Adobe is marketing CS4. Instead of focusing on fancy new features, the new mantra is ROI -- return on investment. To that end, the company has commissioned what it says is independent research proving CS4 can save "thousands of dollars a year" over the previous version thanks to built-in timesavers and other workflow improvements. In other words, CS4 can do more with less.
Amadana intros SAL VGA cam
Not unlike the fairly popular Flip Video that spawned the category and the near identical Creative Vado that followed it, Amadana on Monday announced the introduction of its SAL pocket video camcorder. The SAL uses a 3-megapixel CMOS sensor to capture 640x480 resolution videos in the MPEG-4 format, with a 320x240 LCD display acting as the viewfinder and playback display. Storage space is fixed at 2GB, or 2 hours of video that also matches the claimed battery life.
Creative MovieWorks HD
Without any formal announcement, Creative has introduced the MovieWorks HD iPod dock as part of the product lineup from its subsidiary, Cambridge Soundworks. The device allows iPod video to be played on an HDTV or audio receiver via HDMI, where movies can then be upscaled to 1080i. The system also supports 5.1-channel DTS surround sound from an iPod when using a compatible receiver.
Zii Android HD playback
Creative subsidiary ZiiLabs on Thursday announced it will showcase HD video playback capabilities on February 16th at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The capability will be thanks to the company's ZMS-05 media processor and platform on Google's Android platform phone. ZiiLabs promises to offer 1080p resolution video playback for the first time on handheld devices.
Sound Blaster for iTunes
Creative on Thursday announced its Sound Blaster for iTunes is being displayed at CES (booth 30651). Designed for use through the iTunes interface, Sound Blaster plugs into the USB connection on a PC or Mac, and plays back music through Creative wireless speakers or headphones while enhancing the quality. Sound blaster also works in users pre-existing speaker systems equipped with Creative Wireless Receivers. Users can select up to four different receivers for music playback.
Creative today finally confirmed the nature of the Zii. The one-time mystery device is now known to be a processor platform based on the notion of very generalized, software-based cores known as Processing Elements: the "stemcell" element from earlier teasers refers to an ability to repurpose any of the cores for a particular task. The process mimics the unified shaders processors of current video cards and is said to provide supercomputer-like acceleration without needing a large processor or a large amount of energy.
Creative Zii Early Details
Creative's Zii is actually a processor unlike much of the company's existing lineup, according to info obtained in advance by epiZENter. While the company's own teaser provides little information, the new update adds that the product will be "completely different" from the X-Fi audio processing chip in Creative's sound cards and MP3 players. It additionally won't be tied to any one product, instead finding its way into several devices of an unknown type.
Creative Zii Teaser
Creative today launched a teaser for an unusual product known as Zii. The company posts very little but suggests that the device revolves around the concept of "stemcell computing," suggesting that it may involve distributed computing or a parallel to the hardware or software of the Nintendo Wii. Aside from this, the firm only makes the claim that "everything you know is about to change" and provides no clues outside of four-leaf clover graphics.