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Hercules today debuted two new iPod speaker sets alongside an iTunes-specific remote control at Apple Expo in Paris. The i-XPS 250 is a home system that focuses on quality for the price, balancing its audio by including a built-in subwoofer and producing 25W of sustained power. The i-XPS also features a wireless remote and an aux-in jack. The shockproof, water-resistant i-XPS 120 is constructed with outdoors in mind, according to Electronista, featuring rubber corners to shelter the iPod cradle in a watertight casing. The i-XPS 120 can run on four C-cell batteries, or via a car adapter. Both speaker sets are slated for shipment in Europe in November for $130. The company also unveiled its iTunes Explorer Wireless, an RF-based remote that displays track information in iTunes while offering basic controls for either Mac or Windows computers. The iTunes Explorer Wireless will ship in October for $100.
In brief: iFixit has posted internal photos of Apple's revamped iPod nano digital media player, along with disassembly instructions.... Airvana has established a multimedia/VoIP laboratory to test and demonstrate commercial IP-based mobile broadband 1xEV-DO Rev.... Broadcast Unifying Gears (BUG.tv) today announced that the American broadcaster NBC has chosen its Mac-based Class-BUG HD as its platform of choice for the playout of HD motion graphics during the presentation of Sunday Night Football.... Other World Computing (OWC) today announced 2GB memory upgrade kits for Apple's iMac Core 2 Duo with matched pairs increasing the system memory for as little as $135.... Graphisoft has announced its recent test results of ArchiCAD 10, which runs at up to twice the speed on Apple's new Xeon Quad Mac Pro workstations as compared to previous generation Power Mac G5 desktops.... IK Multimedia has begun shipping its IK Total Bundle series, offering musicians the necessary plug-ins to compose, mix, master, and produce in three packages.
As part of its presence at Apple Expo 2006 in Paris, Hercules on Thursday announced two new iPod speaker sets as well as an iTunes-specific remote. The pictured i-XPS 250 is a home system that focuses on quality for the price. It balances its audio by including a built-in subwoofer and producing 25W of sustained power. A wireless remote and an aux-in jack are also part of the design. Second in the company's announcements was the shockproof and water-resistant i-XPS 120. Made with the outdoors in mind, it features rubber corners and shelters the iPod cradle in a watertight casing. The i-XPS 120 can also be run entirely on four C-cell batteries or through a car adapter. Both speaker sets will sell for £69 ($130 US) when they ship to Europe in November. Beyond these, Hercules has also revealed the Tunes Explorer Wireless, an RF-based remote that shows track information in iTunes and offers basic controls for either Macs or Windows PCs. It will arrive in October for £50 ($94 US). Photos of the i-XPS 120 and Tunes Explorer Wireless are after the jump.
Leica today issued a final round of camera announcements, with four new cameras sharing the company's traditionalist design that cater to serious amateurs. The 7.5-megapixel Digilux 3 is the company's first purely digital mirror-lens reflex camera that uses a unique blend of old and new technology, according to Electronista. The Digilux 3 features automatic image stabilization as well as a dust removal system with the kit lens, and relies on manual adjustment rings for aperture, exposure, and zoom. The camera comes bundled with a 1GB SD card. Leica has yet to announce a launch date or price for most of its new camera models.
Pentax today unveiled two new compact cameras in its Optio range, as well as a new entry-level DSLR. The Optio T20 is one of the thinnest cameras with a 3-inch LCD at 0.77 inches, according to Pentax, and uses a touchscreen interface to keep physical controls to a minimum. The 7-megapixel camera also has a lens with 3X optical zoom, 12MB of internal memory, and a movie mode capable of 30 frames-per-second at 640x480. Pentax anticipates shipping the T20 in October for $350. The company also released the Optio E20, a replacement for the virtually identical E10. A 6-megapixel sensor, 3X optical zoom, and 13MB of built-in memory define its largely standard features, according to Electronista. The E10 will ship in the near future and should match the $200 price tag of its predecessor. The 10-megapixel K10D features built-in image stabilization and dust removal designs. The K10D also offers a special 22-bit analog-to-digital converter that can produce 1,024 times more image gradations than more common 12-bit converters, according to Pentax. The K10D is slated for shipment in mid-October for $1,000.
Scant hints are at least something! DailyTech reports that Blizzard has licensed the Havok 4.0 physics engine for its future games, most of which are currently shrouded in secrecy. Paul Sams has been quoted as saying there are at least three new Blizzard games in the works. Engines like Havok are mainly useful in titles with real-time 3D, where writing proprietary physics code would waste many weeks of game development. The 4.0 revision allows games to use spare processing power on videocards by ATI or Nvidia.
While Apple has garnered much attention for previewing its iTV streaming media device this week, Sling Media has quietly built a reputation for its existing Slingbox that can stream video not just to televisions but also to handhelds and smartphones. The company is planning its first revision to the device since its release in 2005, according to an FCC filing. The new version, which has been given the early title of Slingbox A/V, appears to be a shrinking of the three-piece original design into a single unit. Sling Media has also exchanged its earlier 3-in-1 video adapter for direct RCA and S-video connections that will let users record or stream directly from a standard-definition source. Features of the device itself are still a mystery, but the presence of the FCC article indicates a likely release by the end of 2006.
A 360 demo for 2K Sports' NBA 2K7 is out on the Xbox Live Marketplace. It's sized at about 1 GB, and probably because of graphics: 2K has focused on adding things like stadium detail, new lighting effects, and signature player animations. The 360, PS2 and Xbox versions of the game are due on September 25th, while a PS3 port will be finished in 2007. The game's principal rival is EA's NBA Live 07.
A final round of large-scale camera announcements was made by Leica today in advance of the Photokina expo later this month. The four new cameras share the company's traditionalist design and cater to serious amateurs. Beginning the announcements is the 7.5-megapixel DIGILUX 3 (pictured), Leica's first purely digital mirror-lens reflex camera. The camera uses a unique blend of new and old technology: automatic image stabilization and a dust removal system are standard with the kit lens, but the camera relies on manual adjustment rings for aperture, exposure, and zoom. Bundled with the camera is a 1GB SD card. Leica has not announced a launch date or price for most of the new models. Photos and information for the D-LUX 3, V-LUX 1, and the distinctive M8 can be found after the jump. [via DPReview.com]
Not all the news can be good. Perrin Kaplan has told Joystiq that the Wii will have no support for DVD playback, as this would add to the cost of the machine, and many gamers already have players. Meanwhile, a banner put up by British retailer Argos proclaims a UK release of March 2007. This is premature on Argos' part, but since Nintendo's European press conference is scheduled for tomorrow, it could be that Argos has just let some info slip early. March would be an interesting release window - it would mean splitting four million consoles between the Americas and Japan, not to mention going toe-to-toe with the Playstation 3. Of course, that may be what Nintendo is hoping for.
Wingspan today unveiled iLoad-plus, an add-on for the company's iLoad device that stands to compete with Apple's upcoming iTV. The iLoad-plus transfers audio and video content from a cable or satellite box directly to an iPod or USB-enabled storage device without requiring a computer or an internet connection. The iLoad-plus does not limit content to items available from the iTunes Music Store, as any content available to a subscriber is recordable and playable on an iPod or TV. Wingspan is also planning to make additional music and video content available to users via private cable and satellite channels. The iLoad and iLoad-plus scheduled for availability in November for an estimated $250 and $100, respectively.
Microsoft has formally unveiled its Zune portable media player, offering 30GB of storage for music, photos, and video that will compete with Apple's digital music offering. The Zune player allows users to share contents with nearby Zunes via Wi-Fi, and allows users to flag songs for later purchase. Zune users can download and play complete songs from other Zune owners up to three times over a three-day period. The Zune player also features a built-in FM radio, and incorporates a customizable interface theme, according to Electronista. Microsoft's Zune Marketplace is launching alongside the new player to offer customers entire albums and songs individually -- as Apple's iTunes Music Store does -- or via a subscription service. Microsoft has yet to announce a price for its new digital media player, but said the device will ship in time for the holidays.
Bitbliss Studios today announced Pile & Pop for both Mac and PC platforms. Pile & Pop is a "game of quick and clever thinking for all ages and involves a unique design of picking up and dropping colored bricks around a gameboard. Form sets of colors to 'pop' the bricks and create huge combos to score big points. Sounds simple? You’re in for a surprise! The strategic depth is amazing and time is always against you. Download the free demo to see if you have what it takes." The game features two different modes of play: Arcade Mode is a test of quick thinking and fast reflexes as the pile of bricks grows faster, while in the Strategy Mode, each move you make adds more bricks to the pile, so efficiency becomes the keyword of this high-thinking game. The game features many power-ups which can be earned through smart moves, ranging from stopping time to destroying entire rows of bricks in a fell swoop. Each mode of play has three difficulty levels, making Pile & Pop accessible for all age levels. It is available for Mac OS X 10.2 or later for $20.
Ultralingua today released Ultralingua dictionaries 6, offering significant speed increases and enhanced functionality. The update automatically detects the forms of words, and deciphers misspellings made by users. A new sleek interface is designed to ease the process of using Ultralingua on any platform. Ultralingua dictionaries include verb conjugators, number-to-text converters, and extensive language references such as full grammar manuals for several languages. Version 6 is available for Macs, Windows, Palm OS, or Windows Mobile systems for $30 per language. All Mac dictionaries require Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Thought Out today unveiled its PedN iPod nano holder, a stand made from solid steel featuring a baked-on white powder coat finish. PedN is designed to provide a safe, visible location for an iPod nano on a desk or other platform while managing cables to keep them off the floor. Thought Out's PedN is compatible with first- and second-generation iPod nanos, requiring a standard sync cable with a typical connector such as that supplied by Apple. The PedN is available for $15.
The U.S. has asked foreign governments to consider the effects of interfering with popular new technologies, pointing to recent scrutiny of Apple's iTunes Music Store as an example of erroneous judgment. The U.S. Justice Department's antitrust chief Thomas Barnett cited recent foreign proposals to impose restrictions on Apple's iTunes service as an example of strict regulation which could discourage innovation and hurt consumers, according to Reuters. A rise in regulatory second-guessing threatens to harm the consumers it claims to help, according to Barnett, who spoke at an antitrust law conference in Washington D.C. in the presence of antitrust officials from Europe as well as Asia. [corrected]
A few more morsels about the Wii have found their way onto the Web. Wired's Chris Kohler has spoken with Nintendo marketing VP Perrin Kaplan, who says that the Wii will, by default, be completely region-free. Developers may be able toggle on region-blocking if they so choose, but it's unlikely that Nintendo will restrict its own games. Likewise, Virtual Console titles will be tied to accounts rather than consoles. Losing (or swapping out) a Wii shouldn't mean losing access to everything you bought. Furthermore, Kaplan says that the Opera browser may yet be free. Nintendo is still discussing arrangements with the developer, so the matter of cost is up in the air. UPDATE: Now we have the good stuff - Game Videos is brimming with new footage, such as a montage and clips of Big Brain Academy and Trauma Center: Second Opinion. One of the games in the montage is Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles, a first-person title which seems to be set in the mansion from the original Resident Evil. UPDATE 2: IGN says Opera will be free until June 2006.
Months of rampant speculation have come to a close as Microsoft has formally launched its first self-branded music player after years of collaboration with other manufacturers. As widely expected, the Zune is a 30GB music, photo, and video player designed around the concept of sharing music with other listeners. Music and photos can be shared with nearby Zunes through a wireless connection; interestingly, users can not only flag songs to purchase later, but can even download and listen to a complete song from another player up to three times over three days. The player also includes a built-in FM radio and lets owners personalize the interface theme. Microsoft's similarly new Zune Marketplace is launching alongside the player and will give the choice of buying albums and songs individually or subscribing to an unlimited Zune Pass service. Players are shipping this holiday for an unannounced price. Click through for a photo of the Zune in its shipping black, brown, and white colors as well as the full press release with details on accessories.
Creative and Sonos today stepped up the competition for Apple following the Cupertino-based company's special event on Tuesday. Creative has unveiled the Zen Vision W (site not updated) widescreen digital media player with a 4.3-inch color TFT display and support for Amazon Unbox. Creative's latest video player will ship in 30GB and 60GB capacities for $300 and $400, respectively. Comparatively, Apple's new video iPods are already available via the company's online store for $250 and $350 in 30GB and 80GB capacities, respectively. Sonos, meanwhile, is offering plug-and-play access to millions of songs via its Sonos System Software 2.0, an update to its digital music system that allows users to connect directly to thousands of radio stations without installing an application or turning on a computer. The new offerings stand to compete with Apple's latest iPods and revitalized iTunes software, as the iPod-maker works to maintain its dominance in the digital music industry.
Digital Heaven today released two new plug-ins for Final Cut Pro (FCP), and launched a free video podcast based on the pro application. The DH_RetroTV plug-in is designed to replicate an old TV, featuring a "Switch On" mode to make the picture appear from black with optional picture scrolling. A "Channel Change" mode is usable between two clips with controls for the amount of wiggling and noise. The company's DH_Dream plug-in attempts to recreate the classic ripple and blur transition commonly used for flashbacks or dream sequences. The plug-in provides control over the amount of wave as well as blur, and features two specially created royalty-free harp glissando sound effects. Digital Heaven also released VideoSpace 1.5, an update to its free widget that calculates the disk space required for video files. DH_RetroTV and DH_Dream are individually priced at $20, while VideoSpace is available as a free download.
Due to comments an employee made at the Penny Arcade Expo, Telltale Games says they've received a substantial amount of requests for a Wii port of the upcoming Sam & Max games. Since the PC episodes (starting October 17th) will use a point-and-click interface, the gamers argue, why not take advantage of the Wiimote for a console port? Telltale is inclined to agree, but the catch is that the company needs a Wii developer's kit, and they'd like gamers to pressure Nintendo into sending one. So if you want to see "true" adventure gaming on a next-gen console, now would be the time to say so.
Further camera announcements have been made today by Pentax, which is updating its camera line with two new compact cameras in its Optio range alongside a new entry-level DSLR. The Optio T20 is one of the thinnest cameras with a 3-inch LCD at 0.77 inches, according to Pentax, and uses a touchscreen interface to keep physical controls to a minimum. The 7-megapixel camera also has a lens with 3X optical zoom, 12MB of internal memory, and a movie mode capable of 30 frames per second at 640x480. Pentax anticipates shipping the T20 in October for $350. Click through for information and photos for the E20 and K10D cameras.
In brief: Apple has indicated that it will host a special event on September 25th, one day prior to the start of Germany's Photokina event via an invitation with the phrase "Start photokina a little early this year".... Apple has filed for a "Method and apparatus for filtering email" patent application, which is noted as a continuation application of co-pending U.S. patent application No. 09/881,986, which was filed in June of 2001.... Virgin Atlantic is the third airline to ban passengers from using Apple and Dell laptop batteries on its flights, asking those users to remove the battery from their notebook.... The Iconfactory today released a new family of icons dubbed "Renaissance," bringing the number of unique styles of icons to 19.... Apple has set end-of-life prices for its remaining stocks of older (pre-Showtime) iPods.... PC Magazine has posted a list of steps to take should users encounter a "white screen of death" when downloading video clips onto a video iPod, a problem that has reportedly appeared in various forums around the internet. [corrected]
The CTIA expo in Los Angeles has seen the introduction of numerous phones to North American shores, including yesterday's announcement of the Cingular 3125 and the RAZR V3i with iTunes. The latest and perhaps most technically advanced release so far at CTIA is the HTC Libra. Also known as the UTStarcom 5800, the Libra will be one of the first handsets to support the higher speeds of EVDO Rev. A. It will also shrink in size compared to other HTC models by using a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for messaging. The CDMA-based phone will be available through North American carriers by the first quarter of 2007; a GSM version likely to use EDGE or HSDPA mobile broadband should arrive later that year. Prices and other details have not been announced.
Grumman -- the company responsible for handling the Grants.gov system which allows Windows users to submit grant proposals online -- has lost its contract with the government, begging the question of whether Mac users will remain in the cold before the company picks up to leave on November 1st. The Department of Health and Human Services -- a central manager of the Grants.gov system -- assured Mac users that by November the system would support their needs, according to The Washington Post. The statement was based on promises made by Grumman, leaving Mac users wondering if support will arrive before the company moves on. "That's a question we have," Grants.gov program manager John Etcheverry said. Grumman reportedly delivered its first attempt at a Mac-compatible version of its grant application, which is said to be "early" but "working."
Yesterday, a student went on yet another shooting rampage at a school; this time it was Kimveer Gill at Dawson College, located in Montreal, Canada. One girl died while 19 people were injured, six of them critically. Gill subsequently killed himself. Already, however, media outlets are beginning to associate the crime with videogames. The Associated Press writes that Gill liked to play Super Columbine Massacre RPG, a game built with RPG Maker by Danny Ledonne. Meant as an artistic statement, it nevertheless takes place during the 1999 school shootings in Littleton, Colorado. Gill also liked to visit a Website called VampireFreaks.com, where the CBC quotes him as saying, "Life is like a video game, you gotta die sometime."
Sonos today released Sonos System Software 2.0, a software update to its digital music system. In collaboration with RealNetworks, Sonos 2.0 enables users to connect directly to millions of songs and thousands of radio stations without ever installing an application or turning on a computer using the company's Rhapsody music service. Other features include alarm functionality, improved multi-national Internet radio, additional language support, and other feature enhancements. The computer-free, direct-to-service architecture of Sonos 2.0 allows users to instantly browse and play music. The Sonos Digital Music System is a wireless multi-room music system with a full-color Controller that lets consumers enjoy digital music all over the house. Pricing for Sonos' music systems starts at $1000 for a Sonos system.
Macfair.org today announced that the Southern California MacFair 2006 is returning for its fifth year with more than 40 companies participating at the event. Taking place at Cerritos College in Norwalk on November 3-4th, companies such as Xerox, ProVue Development, MacAlly, Prosoft Engineering, FastMac, and others will attend alongside classroom training workshops in Mac labs. Instructors teaching at this year's event include James Rea, Stephen M. Burns, Scott Immerman, Marni Melrose, David Barrett and Michael Levin. This year users not residing in Southern California can attend a limited selection of MacFair seminars at the event live via Skype communications software. One-day advanced online registration for the vendor expo, presentation seminars, and door prize entry is $17, and tickets will be available for $20 at the door.
Tunewear today unveiled its new Icewear Nano 2G for second-generation iPod nano players. Icewear Nano 2G features "Rib-Technology" to protect the new player during everyday use, and is constructed from the same high density silicone used in diving masks, according to Tunewear. The new case protects the body of the iPod while leaving the screen and clickwheel exposed for use while maintaining protection, featuring embossed edges around the screen to help prevent scratching. For additional protection, the company is including Tunefilm, a clear protective film designed to cover the LCD and clickwheel of the iPod. Icewear works with 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB iPod nano models, and is priced at $13.
As reported by Gamer Scan, Nintendo has officially announced details of its upcoming Wii console's release and platform details. Most surprising amidst the announcements is that Wii users will have access to Internet-enabled "channels" that let Wii owners use their system outside of traditional game functions. A photo channel can be used to display and edit photos accessed from the included SD card slot; news and weather channels keep track of relevant information; a Mii channel also exists for creating personal avatars. There will be over a dozen games at launch alongside 30 emulated NES, SNES, and Nintendo 64 games available to purchase online for between $5 and $10. The game Wii Sports will be included with the system when it ships to North and South American stores on November 19th for $250.
Canon on Thursday announced four new cameras in the company's PowerShot line, which occupy the mid-range field of ultra-compact and 'prosumer' models, according to Electronista. All four use Canon's new DIGIC III processor, which Canon says will add hardware-based face detection, improve color accuracy and movie mode quality, and reduces noise at high ISO settings. The 7.1-megapixel SD40, an update to the style-oriented SD30, is designed to be narrow and thin enough to carry in a small bag and, while limited to 2.4X optical zoom, has a high ISO 1600 sensitivity suitable for low light. It will ship in October for an unspecified price in four distinct colors. Canon's SD800 IS, due in October for $450, is the first SD-series camera to include a wide-angle lens for panoramic shots; it also features image stabilization, a 7.1-megapixel sensor, and a 3.8X optical zoom.
Adobe Photoshop 9.02 (free update) fixes a number of problems and includes all the fixes contained in the earlier Photoshop 9.0.1 update. It includes fixes for crashes when encountering unsupported file types through the Acrobat Touchup workflow; supported files that incorrectly produced an "unsupported color space" message; opening TIFF files with layer data greater than 2GB; and a printing issue that could cause banding when using inkjet printers with Mac OS X v.10.4 has been resolved. [Download - 24MB] Intaglio 2.9 ($90) is a free update the modern MacDraw-like drawing application. Version 2.9 now includes improved pattern functions, including dozens of predefined patterns in the toolbar; new basic slideshow presentation funcions (integrated with ClarisDraw import); new support for CMYK and extended dynamic range images such as OpenEXR and Camera RAW (requires Mac OS X 10.4, Tiger); and improved PICT image export for QuickDraw based applications (e.g., Microsoft Word). It requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later and is a Universal Binary. [Download - 5.4MB] MediaCentral 2.2 ($30) is a media center solution for the Mac, allowing you to play movies, DVDs, IP TV streams, live TV streams (DVB-T). listening to digital radio channels, enjoy picture galleries, slideshows and more. Version 2.2 is now offered in French, Italian, Danish, Russian and Traditional Chinese (however, the manual is still available in English as well as German). It also includes many minor enhancements, improved stability and bugfixes. [Download - N/A] DiscLabel 3.3.2 ($30) updates the application that allows users to create, print, & share CD labels, jewel case inserts, and DVD covers; it fixes the import of track lengths from the new iTunes 7, as well as a bug related to .Mac sharing of templates. The company also released Music Pack 3 ($15), a new DiscLabel Template Pack that contains 15 music-themed designs for CD and DVD labels and packaging. Music Pack 3 is accessed from within the program by selecting it in the Template Category menu. DiscLabel requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 12MB] wKiosk Browser 4.6 ($70) is a solution for presenting Web-based content (HTML, Flash, PDF, videos, etc.) and applications in a safe and stable way on public access terminals with or without access to the internet. It leverages the Safari engine and users can individually restrict access to Web sites, the operating system, system settings, and applications. Version 4.6 features an updated user interface, better timeout management, improved favorites management, better URL control, AppleScript support, and more. It requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 and is a Universal Binary. [Download - 4.6MB]
In Brief: Apple today filed a continuation-patent application for ‘Integrated computer testing and task management systems’ as well as a new patent for ‘Automated creation of media asset illustration collage’.... One user has posted an interview with Steve Jobs on CNBC in which he discusses the new iPod/iTunes announcements as well as the stock grant irregularities.... iFixit has posted the first internal photos of Apple's 'Completely Remastered' iPod nano, along with disassembly instructions and has announced repair parts for the new Nano will be available immediately.... PC Magazine has posted a first look/review of the 8GB iPod nano, which received a 4.5 rating (out of 5).... Other World Computing (OWC) is offering 2GB memory upgrade kits for Apple's new iMac Core 2 Duo (1.83-2.33GHz--all sizes) starting at $260 with a Lifetime Advance Replacement Warranty as well as offering 2GB modules for $740 and 1GB modules starting at $132.
It seems that the Times didn't have the scoop on everything, because more information is coming out of the ongoing conference in New York City. We'll keep you informed. UPDATE: That's it for now. In case you missed it, the core details can be found here. UPDATE 2: The official US Website is live, highlighting a number of new videos. Much of the software depicted is in Japanese, strangely enough. In the words of Reggie Fils-Aime: "One price, one configuration, one colour." Every Wii will be white. The system will come to 25,000 retail locations (in the US, presumably). Launch games: Excite Truck, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Call of Duty 3, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Need for Speed Carbon, Madden 07, Elebits, Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz, Rayman: Raving Rabbids, and Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Reggie says there should be closer to 30 games by the end of the year, not 25. First-party prices will be $50 or less. Virtual Console games will be bought through the Wii Shop Channel. Nintendo figures an average of 10 new VC games per month. Super Mario World and Super Mario 64 will be two of the first VC games. NES games will cost 500 "Wii points," whereas SNES games will be 800 and N64 games 1,000. This is in line with the New York Times article, since you'll be able to buy a 2,000-point card at retail for $20 US. Yes, sending your Mii character to the Wiimote is for playing on a friend's Wii. You can view videos through the photo channel, adding mosaic effects or turning it into a slide puzzle. Messages can also be sent to cellphones. The Opera browser will actually cost you Wii points to purchase. No Web browsing out-of-the-box. The Wii Channels menu should come up instantly, with no load times whatsoever. There will be some internal memory, but you'll need SD cards if you plan to store anything substantial. The only first-party Wii games that will be ready before 2007 are Excite Truck, Twilight Princess, and Wii Sports. Speaking of which, the GameCube version of Princess is being pushed to December. Most Wii content, including all first-party games, will be available in 16:9 widescreen. It will not, however, be in HD. Nintendo will talk about Wii-DS connectivity at a later time. Metroid Prime 3 is now aimed for 2007. The first Wii game with online play will be Pokemon Battle Revolution.
Miglia today announced Diva 2.1, a stylish, contemporary-looking set of ultra-compact speakers. The solution uses two satellite speakers (1.5-inch drivers) and a subwoofer (2-inch driver) that ensures music has a powerful bass and spoken word is delivered in rich, deep tones, according to the company. The subwoofer is encased in an unique aluminium tube for a stylish look. Diva 2.1 allows users to playback music with a warm, clear sound and reproduces high sound quality from any source through a standard 3.5mm speaker jack. Each speaker features 3 watts of power and the subwoofer delivers 6 watts for a total of 12 watts RMS; the speakers offer a frequency response of between 38Hz and 20KHz. Diva 2.1 is available now for $100 and comes with a two-year warranty. It can be connected to any iPod, PC or Mac.
Canon on Thursday made a new series of camera announcements to complement the earlier release of entry-level DSLR and point-and-shoot models. The four new cameras in the company's PowerShot line occupy the mid-range field of ultra-compact and 'prosumer' models. All four use Canon's new DIGIC III processor, which Canon says will add hardware-based face detection, improve color accuracy and movie mode quality, and reduces noise at high ISO settings. First is the SD40, an update to the style-oriented SD30. The 7.1-megapixel SD40 is designed to be narrow and thin enough to carry in a small bag and, while limited to 2.4X optical zoom, has a high ISO 1600 sensitivity suitable for low light. It ships in October for an unspecified price in four distinct colors including Noble Blue (pictured), Olive Gray, Precious Rose, and Twilight Sepia. Click through for details and photos of the SD800 IS, SD900, and G7.
The option of full 1080p projection for home theater has been available for awhile, but virtually all of these systems have been priced well above the level of already-expensive 1080p televisions without necessarily adding any extra features. Sony hopes to change this state of affairs with the announcement today of its new VPL-VW50 front projector. The new system has many of the features common to high-end units beyond the full HDTV resolution: the SXRD (liquid crystal on silicon) design and automatically irising lens provide an exceptionally high contrast ratio of 15,000:1. A full range of connection options exists, ranging from RCA and VGA to two 1080p-capable HDMI inputs. All these features, however, are only made relevant by the price. When the VW50 ships for $4,999 in October, it will undercut the prices of even some new 720p projectors, such as the Epson PowerLite Pro 810 HQV. Also announced today was Stewart Filmscreen's special Firehawk SST projection screen designed specifically to complement the new Sony projector. It ships this month for an unspecified price.
The New York Times seems to have broken a news embargo and released details of today's Nintendo press conference. We'll break down the facts: The Wii will launch in both North and South America on November 19th, and cost $250 US. The box will contain an AC adapter, an A/V cable, a console stand, a sensor bar and stand, two batteries, and one Wiimote plus the nunchuck attachment. The US shipment will in fact be bundled with Wii Sports, which will include previously unknown bowling and boxing minigames. Nintendo expects to have 25 original Wii games this year; first-party games will be priced at $50, which is $10 less than most 360 games. Third parties can set any price they wish. About 30 Virtual Console games will be ready for launch, costing $5, $8, or $10 apiece. Represented franchises will include Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong. Wiimotes and nunchucks will be available separately for $40 and $20, respectively. The "classic" controller, closer to the GameCube's gamepad, will cost $20. One of the big surprises is a series of "channels," designed to appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike. A photo channel will allow you to display and edit digital images, while news and weather channels will keep you up-to-date. The Mii Channel will let you create avatars with various faces, hairstyles and color schemes. Those avatars can then be transferred to the Wiimote, most likely for playing with other people's Wiis. (Sorry, had to be said!) You can message other Wii owners using your Mii character. The system will ship with the Opera Web browser. Four million consoles should ship by 2007. Despite Nintendo being a Japanese company, the Wii will only launch there on December 2nd, at a price of 25,000 yen. This is a clear sign of how important North America is to the bottom line. Videos of Wii features can be found by browsing through the Japanese presentation's Webpage.
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Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes ÂPower Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO