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Interlink Electronics today announced the sucessor to its Navigator presentation remote control. The latest edition, known as the Champagne Edition includes numerous new features including dedicated 'forward' and 'previous' slide buttons, an integrated laser pointer and an extended wireless operating range of over 50 feet. The Navigator easily works with Mac or Windows platforms to allow users to control their Powerpoint or Keynote presentation without the need for additional software. The Champagne Edition Navigator retails for $150 and is available now.
Canon unveils four cameras
Canon today launched new PowerShot A-Series (site not updated) digital cameras, as well as its EOS Digital Rebel XT digital camera. The company's new PowerShot A710 IS, A640, and A630 compact digital cameras feature a compact form factor that fits snugly in the hand. The 7.1, 10.0 and 8.0 megapixel cameras offer high resolution and are expected to ship this October for $400, $400, and $300, respectively. Canon's new 10.1 megapixel EOS Digital Rebel XT camera is expected to ship in mid-September for under $1,000, and will be offered in both sleek brushed silver patina and "pro" matte black finishes. Users can purchase the device in two kit configurations: with and without Canon's EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens.
Canon debuts new printers
Canon today unveiled four new all-in-one printers (site not updated) and two compact printers, expanding its offering of printing solutions for students, home users and small business owners. New models include the PIXMA iP4300 Photo printer, MP510 Photo all-in-one multi-function, PIXMA MP810 all-in-one multi-function, PIXMA MP600 all-in-one multi-function, PIXMA mini260 inkjet photo printer, SELPHY CP730 compact dye sublimation photo printer, and SELPHY CP720 compact dye sublimation photo printer. Canon's new lineup of printers are expected to ship for $150 (PIXMA MP510) $100 (PIXMA iP4300), $300 (PIXMA MP810 Photo), $200 (PIXMA MP600), $200 (PIXMA mini260), $150 (SELPHY CP730), and $100 (SELPHY CP720).
The DS Lite's new colours
Just as we heard that Europe will get a pink DS Lite in October, the United States will be receiving two new colours for the system in September. The Onyx and Coral Pink DS Lites will join the standard Polar White on September 13th. Onyx, for sake of reference, is a shade of black named after the mineral.
Ricoh Caplio R5 Camera
Smaller camera manufacturers are also announcing new models this Thursday in preparation for the Photokina expo. Ricoh today sends word of its new Caplio R5 point-and-shoot camera, an update to the prior R4. Though it offers the increasingly common blend of a 7.2 megapixel sensor and 2.5-inch LCD, the new Caplio stands out courtesy of unique optics. It boasts a 28-200mm wide-angle lens with an impressive 7.1X optical zoom, eliminating some of the traditional barriers to quality photos in compact cameras. The R5 can also achieve ISO 1600 sensitivity at full resolution and has image stabilization to help with difficult shots. Neither a price or release date has been set, though it will likely arrive in stores this Fall. A full photo of the camera in an optional red shell is available after the jump.
Mac mini bulk order denied
Apple may be planning to release a newer, faster version of its Intel-based Mac mini system in the near future. One blogger who works for a colocation company says he was denied a bulk order of Mac minis, and was told by an Apple representative that the store was not allowed to place new bulk orders until after Labor Day, according to Electronista. That same blogger in late February reported the same behavior, with Apple denying his bulk order of Mac minis. Days later, the Cupertino-based company updated the Mac mini with Intel processors. The report coincides with an expected broader availability of Core 2 Duo mobile chips from Intel, which are likely to form the basis of a Mac mini update, were Apple to released faster versions of its sub-desktop system.
No Wii CoD3 multiplayer
Activision has corrected an article from Game Informer that claimed the Wii port of the FPS game would have 16-player Internet play. The correction brings some especially bad news for Wii fans: an Activision representative is quoted as saying, "That was a misprint on Game Informer's part. We wanted to clear up that the Wii version will not have online multiplayer, but is being developed to take advantage of the unique controls and provide an amazing single player interactive experience." This is a rather weird decision for Nintendo's first Internet-enabled console, especially since the Wii port will ship a few months after the 360 and PS3 versions, which are due Q4 2006.
Denied Mac mini Orders
In late February of this year, a blogger reported that Apple denied his bulk order of Mac minis for his server colocation company that depends primarily on the small systems for its business. Days later, Apple followed suit by updating the Mac mini with Intel processors. This pattern is beginning again, says the same blogger on his website. While trying to order a large number of Mac minis through a reseller, he was told that the store was not allowed to place new bulk orders until after Labor Day, strongly implying that new Mac minis would be announced during that future timeframe. This coincides with the expected broader availability at that time of Core 2 Duo mobile chips from Intel, which are likely to form the basis of a Mac mini update.
Toshiba High-Speed SD Card
Professional photographers often choose CompactFlash cards over the Secure Digital format due to transfer speeds. The latter is often considerably slower than its larger rival, severely limiting the burst rate for photos or the extraction of those photos after a completed shoot. Toshiba seeks to change this perception by releasing a new line of high-speed SD cards that narrow the considerable gap between CF and SD. Starting this fall, Toshiba will ship SD cards in its new "ultra high-speed" series that meet the newly-established Class 6 transfer rate, which signifies a minimum 6MB per second when the cards are plugged into devices that can match their speed. These cards will also reach burst speeds of 20MB per second in ideal conditions. The first models range between 512MB and 2GB in capacity and will ship to Japan in October, with international shipments following in November.
GTA4 Marketplace content
Rockstar has locked itself into a deal providing Microsoft with "exclusive episodic content" for Grand Theft Auto IV, to be delivered through the Xbox Live Marketplace. Microsoft had already scored a coup when it was announced that the series would no longer be a Sony-first exclusive, as it has been since GTA3. GTA4 is scheduled to ship for the 360 and PS3 on October 16th, 2007. If the game otherwise follows the pattern of the series, there should be a PC port sometime in 2008.
Dell and Sony Investigate
Shortly after Apple issued its own battery recall amid concerns that it too was affected by the Sony lithium-ion battery problems plaguing Dell, the Japanese government on Thursday ordered Dell and Sony to study the potential design flaws that have destroyed numerous laptops through battery fires. Both companies are expected to submit reports to the Japanese trade ministry by the end of August that identify the root causes of the fires and explain the steps each company will take to avoid future incidents. The companies also face a potential fine under Japan consumer laws should they be unwilling to meet the deadline. Additionally, other Japanese electronics firms were advised to verify their own battery quality as a safety measure.
Leipzig: Gray Matter
Story and gameplay details have been announced for Gray Matter, the new adventure game from Gabriel Knight designer Jane Jensen. The central protagonist is Dr. David Styles, an English neurobiologist. In the wake of his wife's accidental death, Styles has retreated to the sanctuary of his home at Dread Hill House. The game's events kick off when he receives a visit from an American named Samantha Everett. She's a student (slash street performer) who wants work as a research assistant; as the two begin to work together however, Styles' wife comes to haunt them, and the player will switch between the pair as they plumb the depths of Dread Hill. Styles' puzzles will revolve around the human mind while Everett's will make use of her street magic. The game is in development at Hungarian outfit Tonuzaba Entertainment, and should ship for the PC at the end of 2007.
AOL Selling Movies
As a further move to diversify its content and offer free services in place of paid Internet access, AOL today said it would begin selling full-length movies and television shows through its portal website. The programming available through the initial version of the service will include content from Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Pricing will be more flexible than the previously announced Fox service, ranging between $10 and $20 for movies and $2 per television episode. Some content from Sony will be available for free with built-in advertising. Buyers cannot burn to DVD - often cited as a significant obstacle to movie service adoption - but can transfer movies to a combination of up to 4 computers or portable media players for movies and 10 for television shows. Currently limited to Windows PCs and media players that support the protected Windows Media Video format, AOL's new video offerings are available immediately.
SuperCard goes Universal
Solutions Etcetera today released SuperCard 4.6 as a Universal Binary, offering native compatibility to Intel Mac owners. SuperCard allows users to create games, teaching aids, utilities, personal productivity tools, automation tools, kiosks, and multimedia-rich projects. Users who purchased or upgraded to SuperCard 4.5 on or after January 25th, 2006 are entitled to a free upgrade via download from Solutions Etcetera, while users who purchased version 4.5 prior to the afore-mentioned date can upgrade to the standard edition for $50 or the developer edition for $100. Upgrades for users of all previous versions are priced at $130 and $180 for standard and developer versions, respectively.
Revolution mice ship
Logitech has launched Revolution, a new line of cordless mice designed for users who work with large documents. The wireless Logitech MX Revolution ($100) and Logitech VX Revolution ($80) mice feature laser tracking and built-in lithium-ion batteries. Both devices include a new type of scroll wheel technology that supports normal click scrolling with extra precision, as well as "free scroll" which allows users to flick the wheel resulting in continued spinning up to seven seconds, instantly stopping wherever desired. Both mice also feature a one-touch searching button as well as a battery status indicator. The MX Revolution features a document quick-flip wheel on the side of the mouse, while the VX includes a storable USB mini-receiver and zoom control. Both mice are available for Mac OS X as well as Microsoft Windows. [images included]
WoW expansions, Starcraft
A slew of stories has hit the Web regarding expansions for World of Warcraft and the upcoming possibility of Starcraft 2. Let's start with Warcraft - yes, The Burning Crusade will be just the first in a series of paid expansions to WoW, much as Ultima Online has had packs like Third Dawn and Samurai Empire. The plan is to release a new pack every 12 months. A blogger at 1UP, meanwhile, has spotted what could be a leak of talents waiting for characters past level 60, a barrier removed in Burning Crusade. Blizzard is apparently cracking down hard on those who link the info on official forums. Finally, IGN managed to weasel this out of COO Paul Sams while at Leipzig: "As you probably already know, there is no doubt that we will continue the StarCraft and Diablo franchise, and trust me, I will be the happiest person in the world when we announce StarCraft 2." One might think he was speaking about the distant future; however, he also happened to add that on top of three anonymous projects, Blizzard "will have a major product announcement in 2007." It's almost certainly either Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3, given the clamouring that's existed for these sequels. UPDATE: There's been slow progress towards the creation of a Warcraft movie. Blizzard, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures are now attempting to pin down a director and a screenwriter for the film, projected to be a blockbuster costing more than $100 million.
Recent audio player designs from East Asia have centered around a reduction in every element beyond the screen, such as iRiver's designs that remove all visible controls from the front face. The Chinese manufacturer MobiBLU, already known for this technique through its DAH-1500 cube player, will soon release a larger player that still retains a diminutive size relative to its display. Called the BOXON, not much is known about the player outside of its native China. It has straightforward functionality as an MP3 and FM radio player with 256MB of flash storage. As is often the case with MobiBLU, its signature is the design: all the physical controls are at the top or back of the player, leaving much more room for a 1.7-inch OLED screen facing the listener. Details of a North American release are unknown, though the player is likely to appear on this continent following the relative success of the company's earlier players.
Apple recalls batteries
Apple today in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of its rechargeable lithium-ion batteries with cells manufactured by Sony for certain iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 notebooks. The recalled batteries can overheat, according to Apple, posing a fire hazard to consumers. Apple said it has received nine reports of batteries overheating, including two reports of minor burns from handling overheated computers and other reports of minor property damage. Affected models include the 12-inch iBook G4, 12-inch PowerBook G4, and 15-inch PowerBook G4. Apple is instructing owners of these notebooks to remove the battery from the computer to view the model and serial numbers labeled on the bottom of the unit.
Leipzig: The Wheelman
Running with their new strategy of games that are cinematic yet nevertheless original property (see John Woo's Stranglehold), Midway has given the press a better glimpse at The Wheelman, a 2007 game (and subsequent movie) starring actor Vin Diesel. The Leipzig game trailer features Diesel driving a client in a high-speed chase, one with plenty of jumps and Hollywood one-liners. Though the trailer is CG it's reportedly in the visual style of Stranglehold, from which Wheelman will borrow its game engine. No further images or details have been made public. UPDATE: Here's the video.
74 wh NuPower 14" battery
NewerTech has introduced a new NuPower replacement battery for Apple's 14-inch G3 and G4 iBooks. The battery boasts 34 percent higher capacity in comparison to the original Apple battery and features a 74 watt-hour capacity delivering up to eight hours of battery life (compared with the 6-hour life offered by Apple's original battery). The NuPower replacement will work with all 14- and 14.1-inch iBook models between the G3 600MHz model and the most recent 1.42GHz G4-based model. The company is also offering a 59 watt-hour battery for the 14-inch iBook with approximately 7 percent more power than the original Apple battery. The new 74 watt-hour replacement battery is priced at $130, while the older 59 watt-hour model is available for $100. All batteries sold by NewerTech contain no mercury to remain environmentally friendly when disposed of or recycled, and a free recycle pass is included for the old iBook battery. [image included]
Logitech MX and VX Mice
Logitech today announced its new Revolution line of cordless laser mice targeted at computer users working with large documents. All Revolution models feature a scroll wheel that can be toggled between regular click scrolling and a free-spin mode that can scroll through as many as 10,000 Excel sheets (or similar files) through a single push. They also implement a One-Touch search button that will look up words under the mouse cursor. Two mice define the current lineup: the $100 MX Revolution is a desktop mouse with a side wheel for quickling scrolling between documents or programs, while the pictured VX Revolution at $80 is a laptop mouse with document zoom buttons and a built-in slot to stow the USB wireless receiver when traveling. Both models are shipping today and support MacOS X as well as Windows. Full-size photos are available after the jump.
Fall Nikon Coolpix line
Nikon has announced five new cameras for the fall season as part of its point-and-shoot Coolpix line. The new entry-level camera, the 6.0 Megapixel L6, completes the L-series fall line up alongside the new 7.2 Megapixel L5. The L6 ($200) features 3x optical zoom versus the L5's ($300) 5x optical zoom; both feature red-eye reduction, face priority focus, light adjustment, and USB/Pictbridge connectivity. The new L6 uses one lithium AA battery for 1000 shots, while the L5 uses two AA conventional batteries for 150 shots. Nikon is also launching the 7.1 Megalpixel 'ultra compact' S7c ($350); the 6.0 Megapixel S10 ($400); and the 6.0 Megapixel S9 ($250). The S7c features low-light operation, 3x optical zoom, wireless internet connectivity, and a 3.0-inch screen. The S9 and S10 both feature 2.5-inch screens, Nikon "in-camera" innovations, and metal designs. The S9 has 3x optical zoom, while the S10 (swivel design) features a 10x optical zoom. All cameras will be shipping during September in time for the Photokina expo, according to Electronista.
Apple files for trademark
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) today published Apple's latest trademark/service mark application (#78954417) representing the company's Safari RSS technology. The publication follows four additional patents also published by the USPTO on Tuesday which solidified Apple's right to use its DC connector assembly, a self aligning foot assembly, a method and apparatus for accelerating detection of serial bus device speed signals, and an electronic device holder. Apple in mid-August was granted three patents for its sub-desktop Mac mini system, fluid cooling, and improved image compression techniques. Apple, like other tech companies, is struggling to secure proprietary technologies before competitors patent the technology. Creative was recently awarded a patent on technology used in Apple's iPod line, resulting in a payment of $100 million from Apple to Creative for use of the technology.
Leipzig: Lost Planet
Capcom's Lost Planet has been one of the more heavily promoted games coming to the 360, and yet it seems that its "exclusive" label may not stick forever. Producer Jun Takeuchi says that a PS3 port may be necessary to break into the Japanese market. The 360 has had relatively little penetration there, just as with the original Xbox, which was famously accused of being too huge for Japanese apartments. The good news for 360 owners is that Takeuchi hopes another download (possibly a multiplayer demo) will be available before the game's release.
No BR HDDVD in Vista
Under considerable pressure to complete Windows Vista in time for its scheduled October release to manufacturing, Microsoft has already cut a number of features from the upcoming OS, including the Avalon presentation layer and WinFS file system. The latest feature to be removed from Vista is support for full Blu-Ray and HD DVD movie playback in the 32-bit version, reports APC Magazine. At the Tech.Ed 2006 conference in Sydney, Microsoft Senior Program Manager Steve Riley revealed that only the 64-bit version of Vista will play protected video in either optical format at the full 1080p resolution. "The media companies asked us to do this," said Riley, citing anxieties at movie studios about the ability of the 32-bit version of Windows to run unsigned code at the kernel level that can override copy-protection. Users will need to use the 64-bit version of Vista, which may not support hardware that requires unsigned drivers, to enjoy video at full quality. APC predicts that Microsoft's decision will frustrate the many owners who intend to upgrade their existing 32-bit PCs next year.
Just Cause demos out
The PC and 360 demos are now available for Avalanche's freeform action game Just Cause. There's no information on exactly what they contain, but the PC demo is 337.3 MB and available at several download sites: GameSpot, 3D Downloads, File Front, Worthplaying, and Shacknews. The full game will have over 100 vehicles, 32 square kilometres of explorable terrain, and gameplay concentrated on insane, Hollywood-style stunts - think True Lies.
FujiFilm FinePix S9100
FujiFilm adds to the wide range of Photokina-related announcements today with the introduction of the FinePix S9100 'prosumer' camera. Known as the S9600 internationally, the S9100 advances over the earlier S9000 through the use of a 9 megapixel sensor, 10.7X optical zoom, and an expanded 2-inch swivel LCD. Its ISO range has been extended as low as 80 for improved photos in bright scenes, while the autofocus response and shutter lag have been quickened to provider sharper photos of fast-moving subjects or at night. An intelligent flash system similarly helps eliminate lighting problems in low-light situations. The S9100 is set to release in the UK during October 2006 for an undetermined price and should see a North American introduction soon. Profile images of the front and back are available after the jump.
Sony stock falls on PS3
Reinforcing worries that Sony is overly optimistic, analysts at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities have predicted that Sony will only ship half of the six million PS3's the company has planned for the console's launch phase (not to be confused with launch date). The news caused Sony stock to drop 3.2 percent this morning. Mitsuibishi feels that Sony won't have the parts needed to assemble the desired quantities of the PS3, making it that much more difficult to recoup the company's investments.
New Nikon L and S Coolpix
Countering Canon's Fall 2006 camera line, Nikon today announced five new cameras in its point-and-shoot Coolpix line. At the entry level are the L5 and L6: the former is a 6 megapixel camera with 5X optical zoom, while the latter sports a 7.2 megapixel sensor and long 1000-shot battery life (though it only offers 3X optical zoom). Also unveiled were the ultra-compact S7c, a 7.1 megapixel camera with image stabilization; the more basic S9 with 6 megapixels, 2.5-inch LCD, and no stabilization; and lastly the S10, which features the 6 megapixels and 10X swivel lens of the previous S4 but adds image stablization and better ISO ranges. All five Coolpix models will be ready to ship in September in time for the Photokina expo. Click through for photos of the L5, S7c, and S10.
AAPL trading at discount?
Wall Street's current perception suggests that Apple shares are trading at a premium value, but analyst firm Piper Jaffray believes the stock is actually trading at a discount. "We believe many investors generally feel that Apple shares have a high relative valuation and, therefore, the Street remains split between those that believe shares deserve to continue to trade at a premium and those that believe shares should trade lower due to declining momentum," wrote Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster in a research report obtained by MacNN. "Apple is a unique company in that its business stretches into both hardware and software. As such, we believe a comparative valuation group should consist of Apple's competitors in both hardware and software." The analyst believes Apple will continue to outpace the growth of its competitors in the coming years, and that Apple shares should trade at a premium relative multiple based on profits, earnings, and growth (excluding cash).
Canon A-series and 400D
Still more camera announcements are arriving in the month preceding the Photokina show in Cologne. Canon today expanded its camera line to include three higher-end models in the A series. The A630 and A640 use 8 and 10 megapixel sensors respectively. Both feature 4X optical zoom, larger 2.5-inch LCDs, a Safety Zoom that limits digital zoom to maintain quality, and a Digital Tele-Converter that simulates a telephoto lens. At the top of the A series is the A710 IS, the first A model to feature image stabilization. It adds 6X optical zoom and a wide-angle 2.5-inch screen. Finally, Canon also unveiled the highly anticipated EOS-400D, better known in North America as the successor to the Digital Rebel XT. The new model improves through a 10.1 megapixel sensor, a larger 2.5-inch LCD, automatic dust removal, and a dramatically increased burst speed of up to 27 large JPEG (or 10 RAW) shots at 3 frames per second. Pricing and availability is not available at this time, but expect all four cameras to replace their predecessors by Photokina in late September for approximately the same price as current equivalents. See photos of the A630, A710 IS, and EOS-400D after the jump.
New Test Drive demo on XBL
Atari will be releasing a newer, more polished demo of Test Drive Unlimited today through the Xbox Live Marketplace. The demo area will cover 60 square kilometres of the island of Oahu, and feature four offline missions along with two online missions and the free ride mode. Four vehicles will be available: the Ferrari F430, the Ford Mustang GT, the AC Cobra, and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R. The one catch to the demo, such as it is, is that play is limited to an hour.
Batteries not safety risk
Apple's defective MacBook Pro batteries which had swelling problems (and were part of an Apple-sponsored exchange program) were not a safety risk, according to InformationWeek. The batteries--included with some MacBook Pro that shipped bew February and May--exhibited a "high-pitched buzzing sound", and although the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission found that the batteries were not a safety risk, it said that the batteries didn't meet the "high standards for battery performance." The U.S. CPSC did not reveal the manufacturer of the batteries, but when questioned if they were Sony and related to the Dell recall, the CPSC spokesperson replied: "We are looking at Sony batteries outside the scope of the Dell recall." The CPSC, however, reiterated, that unlike the Dell recall which has resulted in fires and claimed explosions, the recalled Apple batteries were not a safety hazard. Following the recent spate of battery-related issues, both Apple and Dell have joined a new battery standards conference, which will take place in San Jose, California later this year.
PopCap games on Steam
PopCap Games (Bejeweled, Zuma) has signed a deal to distribute their line of casual titles through Valve Software's Steam network. Starting August 30th, 17 games will be available for free trial or paid download on Steam. This may become a significant financial boon to Valve, since many of the products on Steam at the moment are games or mods already connected with Valve's first-person shooters. Independent offerings include the RTS game Darwinia and the World War II FPS Red Orchestra.
ABC on iTMS, movies soon?
The transition to feature length films is in full swing according RedHerring.com. The most recent important move to signify this change is the recent announcement by ABC-Disney Television Group in which it announced that it will place content on iTunes from ABC news which will feature celebrity profiles, news events through history, and moments such as "OJ Simpson Car Chase" and "The Fall of the Berlin Wall". The new ABC content will sell for $1.99 as usual from the iTunes Music store, but according to RedHerring.com, "The move is yet another appetizer before Apple unveils the main course: full-length movies." Recently, Lions Gate's president Steve Beeks revealed a feature-length film deal with Apple was in the works: "In terms of iTunes movie downloads, I think most likely some time before the end of the year."
New iPods news scarce
The back to school season and constant flow of rumors have industry watchers and consumers alike waiting for Apple to launch the next revision to its iPod line. One BusinessWeek columnist notes that Apple's recent settlement with Creative is the only current iPod news; the most recent iPod release was in June, and that release was just a new U2 edition. The lack of true news has only fueled other rumors of new Apple device--most prominently an Apple 'iPhone'. This rumor hit a fever pitch when Steve Jobs stating, "We don't think the phones that are available today make the best music players. We think the iPod is. But over time that's likely to change, and we aren't sitting around doing nothing." The report also notes increasing competition from players such as SanDisk, the lack of real updates to the iPod, and the possibilities of the next Nano. iSuppli analyst Chris Crotty expects Apple to release a hard-drive-based player with a landscape-oriented full-screen display, following the much-anticipated (but still rumored) iPod nano update.
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