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News Archive for 06/11/22

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Briefly: MacNN reviews; holiday sales

11/22, 6:20pm

Reviews, holiday sales

In brief: MacNN has reviewed the Bass Fréq earbuds ($50, shown at right) from V-MODA, its bass-oriented earbuds for iPod listeners.... MacNN has also reviewed the Luncheon ($100) from Crumpler, a lightweight messenger bag with a vertical profile designed to tote Apple's MacBook, iBook, or 15-inch MacBook Pro.... GizMac Accessories today announced a 50 percent off sale for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, offering its Titan Nano cases for first-generation iPod nano for half price ($20) starting Friday and continuing until midnight on Sunday.... is offering its own 50 percent off sale on Friday, November 24th, with many products scheduled for availability at half the original price.... Human Software is gearing up to host its own holiday sale beginning Thursday, November 30th for eight days by offering its entire platinum collection of plug-ins for $400.... in conjunction with M-Audio has announced its Torq Vinyl Producer Contest, allowing users to download free loops to create a track for a chance to release it on vinyl.

ViewSonic unveils faster, thinner LCDs

11/22, 5:55pm

Thinner, faster ViewSonics

ViewSonic is shipping three new widescreen LCDs in 19-, 20-, and 22-inch models. ViewSonic claims the monitors are specially built to shrink space consumption, and each uses a new housing format that reduces bezel size as well as space by tucking the speakers and power supplies away into the displays' bottom edges. The VX2035wm features an 800:1 contrast ratio, whereas the VX1935wm and VX2235wm LCDs each offer 700:1. Each of the three monitors has a response time of 5ms, making the displays suitable for numerous applications. The ViewSonic widescreen LCDs are shipping for $199, $349 and $399 in the respective escalating sizes.

Forums: 'Missed' market, AppleStore Hell

11/22, 5:45pm

Forums November 20

Forums roundup: One user believes Apple has missed a clear opportunity to create the much fabled headless iMac, pointing out the high demand for a prosumer tower in Apple's line up.... Other users discuss one poster's story of an experience in 'AppleStore Hell' where it seems his MacBook returns more damaged after each visit.... A user shares his outrage with Apple for failing to acknowledge the damage done to his computer when the liquid cooling system leaked corroding a portion of the G5's case.... Others are discussing turning off the screen of an iMac so one owner can sleep while music plays from the sleep-free computer.... Meanwhile, other users look at the newest great debate over the power of integrated graphics versus dedicated graphics and whether Apple would be better off simply sticking an inexpensive ATI Radeon or Nvidia GeForce card into its consumer products.

Buffalo AirStation NFINITI WiFi LAN adapter

11/22, 5:35pm

Buffalo WiFi LAN adapter

Japanese manufacturers Buffalo have announced the AirStation NFINITI, a WiFi adapter based on the draft 802.11n standard. The adapter connects to a computer through a 6.5-foot USB 1.1/2.0 cable and has an extremely compact form factor, allowing the antennas to be turned in many different directions. The transmitter can reach speeds of up to 70Mbps with an 11n connection, but also supports lesser speeds with 802.11b/g. Configuration can be managed with a single button press. The product goes on sale in Japan in late December for the price of 11,500 yen ($97).

Cozy Tunes pillow provides both music and rest

11/22, 5:00pm

Cozy Tunes Speaker Pillow

British retailer Advanced MP3 Players is now carrying the Cozy Tunes Speaker Pillow. The uncommon audio system accepts sound from any 3.5mm minijack source such as an iPod or CD player and plays it through hidden speakers. The company notes that the hardware is covered by a soft polyester layer that remains comfortable enough to sleep on without threatening component damage. Similar to headphones, the Cozy Tunes pillow requires no additional power beyond its music source and has its own adjustable volume control. It ships in black, green, pink, or purple from the reseller's online store for £15 ($29) after tax.

Apple IMC Russia restructures again

11/22, 4:35pm

Apple IMC Russia

Apple IMC Russia -- Apple's official representative in the Russian Federation -- has completed another stage of business restructuring, according to OSP International. The efforts have already resulted in the setup of a separate company, iPro, to function as a provider of professional solutions. Apple IMC's general director said the initial reorganization was scheduled for February of 2005 when five new departments were created, which are all destined to become separate companies. Apple IMC has nine stores in Russia and has additional plans to extend the chain to 14 stores, according to the report: the company's reorganization efforts are designed to extend the business and increase management efficiency. The retail department is also expected to spin off into a separate company in the near future -- possibly before the end of 2006 -- which will specialize in end-user products.

Amazon offers Xbox 360 Core for $100

11/22, 4:30pm

Amazon 100-Dollar X360

Amazon today confirmed that it will be selling the Xbox 360 Core System for $100 during the American Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. After launching the company's first ever user-determined sale promotion, where customers were able to vote for their preferred sale item, the company declared that the Microsoft game console had won by a clear majority. The Core edition of the Xbox 360 normally retails for $299 and removes the 20GB hard drive of the Premium edition, which is needed for the console's recently unveiled video download store. The price differential is still expected to drive a sharp increase in the sales of the now year-old console, however, as adding the drive and other missing accessories will not approach the $399 cost of the Premium version, whose price remains unchanged at the online retailer.

Kingston ships 256-bit encrypted flash drives

11/22, 4:05pm

Kingston 256-bit flash

Memory specialist Kingston is shipping the DataTraveler Secure Privacy Edition, a series of high-security flash drives. Each uses 256-bit AES encryption built into the hardware, making anything stored on the drive virtually impossible to retrieve without a password. Access is further controlled by strict password rules and a lockdown after 10 failed entries. To protect against environmental damage, the drives are waterproof to a depth of four feet, and the shells are stainless steel coated in titanium. USB 2.0 ports allow the drives to read at 24MB/sec and write at 10MB/sec. Windows XP or 2000 SP3 is required. Four different models on sale, beginning at 512MB ($53) and escalating to 4GB ($218).

UK college relies on Apple

11/22, 4:05pm

UK college, Apple

Edinburgh's Telford College in the UK recently moved from a set of outdated buildings to a new, purpose-built premises and purchased a slew of Apple hardware for the faculty and students. The school now boasts ownership of more than 150 iMacs, as well as 35 MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. The school elected to use Apple hardware after pricing equivalent Windows systems, discovering that the cost of Apple's solution had the best pricing for the 20-inch cinema displays -- which are built into each iMac -- required by various departments. Another key consideration for the decision makers at Telford College was Apple's Boot Camp technology, which allows Intel Mac users to run Windows software to accommodate those users who still require Microsoft Windows XP installations.

ViewSonic unveils faster, thinner widescreen LCDs

11/22, 3:55pm

ViewSonic Thin Widescreens

ViewSonic today started shipping three new widescreen computer displays that it says are built for both performance and space-sensitive users. The 22-inch VX2235wm, 20-inch VX2035wm, and 19-inch VX1935wm all come with a new housing that significantly reduces the bezel size, simplifying multi-display setups. The three new monitors also produce much less clutter by shipping with chin-mounted stereo speakers and an internal power supply, according to ViewSonic. Each has a 5ms response time touted as superior for games and movies. The displays are similarly bright, as the 19- and 22-inch models offer a 700:1 contrast ratio while the mid-range 20-inch LCD offers a higher 800:1 figure. ViewSonic ships the displays today for $199 (VX1935wm), $349 (VX2035wm), and $399 (VX2235wm).

Sigma produces hybrid desktop/presentation mouse

11/22, 3:30pm

Sigma SGM2 Hybrid Mouse

Sigma says it offers a uniquely flexible computer controller with its recently introduced SGM2 presentation mouse. The trigger-like pointer is meant to be held in the hand for slideshows and other visual presentations, giving speakers the opportunity to retain full control over the mouse courtesy of a trackball. The SGM2 is instantly usable as a desktop mouse, however; Sigma adds that three points on the bottom of the controller allow it to rest on a solid surface for more conventional use. It connects to a Mac or Windows PC through USB and can toggle between 400 and 800 DPI to prevent mistakes during keynotes. Sigma is already shipping the SGM2 in Japan with open pricing.

Vodafone Mobile Modem ships in UK

11/22, 3:20pm

Vodafone mobile modem

A new Mac-compatible version of the Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Modem is scheduled to go on sale today in the UK, marking the latest version of the 3G broadband data card for Macs designed to work over USB. The modem allows Mac users to access the internet using Vodafone's 3G network, and offers download speeds of roughly 1.4Mbps. Vodafone offers its 3G broadband service in numerous countries including the UK, Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, and more. Customers will automatically be able to access the Web using Vodafone's existing 3G and GPRS services when outside of 3G broadband coverage, according to Macworld UK. The modem is priced at £50, and ships with driver software for Mac OS X with Intel Mac support.

ezGear debuts Original EZL iPod stand

11/22, 3:10pm

ezGear debuts EZL for iPod

ezGear today introduced its Original EZL, which the company claims is the first folding table stand for Apple's video iPod and other portable devices. The Original EZL is manufactured from high-strength lightweight ABS plastic, and lies completely flat to measure 0.125-incheswhen not in use. When opened, the EZL provides a solid stand to display an iPod while protecting the surfaces from scratching. The arms at the bottom of the EZL lift the iPod away from surfaces, offering access to the dock connector while neoprene pads provide further stability and scratch protection. The bottom of the EZL features non-skid pads to prevent slipping, making the stand ideal for aircraft tables. The EZL is slated for shipment on November 27th for $15.

I-O Data ups Rec-Top HD video recorder to 800GB

11/22, 2:55pm

I-O Data 800GB TV Recorder

I-O Data this morning updated its Rec-Pot HD DVR to a full 800GB. Previously limited to a much smaller 500GB, the low-profile system uses two 400GB hard drives to record as much as 66 hours of video in Japan's 1125i HDTV format and a greater-still 200 hours in standard definition. A rear USB port can add even more hard disk storage if necessary. Four-pin FireWire is also included to connect the recorder directly to a receiver as well as more recent TVs. The recorder also preserves this video in MPEG-2 format and thus eliminates many of the compression artifacts that might result from other standards. This highest-capacity model will arrive in early December for a dealer-specified price.

Marketcircle releases Daylite 3.2

11/22, 2:50pm

Marketcircle Daylight 3.2

Marketcircle has released Daylite 3.2, an update to its productivity suite, which includes functions for sharing calendars, managing contacts and projects,and more. Daylite offer PDA sychronization, activity management, import/export features for popular PIM and calendar formats, support for Mac OS X services, custom fields, HTML/RTF/PDF reports, live filtering for searches, a built-in OpenBase SQL database, and more. Version 3.2 of Daylite offers improved stability and more powerful features to help increase productivity, including improved calendar printing, streamlined setup process, the ability to estimat project time and activity time, improvements to the reporting engine, and a number of bug fixes and stability improvements. Daylite 3.2 is a free update to all users of Daylite 3. It requires Mac OS X 10.4.7. Pricing is $150 for a single-user license or $650 for a five-user license.

Linotype debuts Office Alliance fonts

11/22, 2:45pm

Office Alliance fonts

Linotype today introduced Office Alliance, four classic office typefaces reworked for easy weight-switching within each family while avoiding layout adjustments. The fonts include Metro Office, Trump Mediaeval Office, Neuzeit Office and Times Europa Office and are based on the original sans serif or serif typeface; each has also been reworked just enough so its four weights (Regular, Italic, Bold and Bold Italic) all share an identical width and can interact smoothly with each other. "Never before has such unifying weight compatibility been achieved," the company said. "Now, with a lot less hassle, Office Alliance supports a unique combination of weights for lively and eye-catching layouts, keeping corporate communication diverse and interesting." In each font family, the letters in all four weights have the same width and all letterforms also share the same cap height and x height, allowing anyone creating business documents to combine fonts of different weights without affecting the layout. Each font family is available for $180 (all four weights) in OpenType format for up to five workstations.

2G Shuffle sales may boost iPod sales

11/22, 2:35pm

2G shuffle, iPod sales

Steady second-generation iPod shuffle sales could boost iPod sales for Apple in November and December, potentially resulting in higher numbers than industry watchers initially predicted. Senior analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray today wrote that while it is too early in the quarter to know how sales of the new Shuffle will impact numbers, checks show that initial interest is strong. "If Apple is able to ramp supply to indirect channels, our estimates could be low," Munster wrote in a research note obtained by MacNN. The analyst notes that checks with 40 'big-box' retailers show store clerks suggesting iPod purchases 70 percent of the time, and that checks with 20 Apple retail stores show 100 percent have more than 50 shuffles available heading into the busiest shopping week of the year. "Apple is targeting price sensitive markets with the $79 shuffle," Munster said. "Since the shuffle was not released until November 3rd, the player will likely have a material impact on the November and December NPD data and our current expectations could prove to be low."

Universal Drive Adapter Carrying Case

11/22, 2:25pm

Universal Drive Adapter

Newer Technology has introduced its Universal Drive Adapter Carrying Case for its single-source solution that allows plug-and-play data access via USB connection to any 2.5", 3.5", or 5.25" hard drive or optical drive mechanism with standard IDE/ATA/ATAPI 40 pin or Serial-ATA interface. The new stylish, rugged Universal Drive Adapter Case is engineered to complement and protect the NewerTech USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter, allowing the device to fit neatly into any laptop case, briefcase, backpack, tool kit, or carry-on bag. The carry caes is made of rugged, lightweight nylon and a zipper-secure case allows safe, easy, and organized transport of any NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter and all associated cables. It is ideally sized at 9" x 8" and takes up less room than the original Universal Drive Adapter packing box. The case is available now for $5, while the adapter is $25.

BenQ intros new virtual surround LCD TVs

11/22, 2:20pm

BenQ Surround LCD TVs

Electronics manufacturer BenQ said that it would help space-sensitive home theaters by releasing three new LCD televisions with built-in surround. The newly announced VH3243, VH3743, and VH4243 sets all use SRS TruSurround XT to generate a virtual surround effect from their chin-mounted speakers, regardless of the number of channels in the original source. This gives apartment dwellers and other space-limited viewers the opportunity to enjoy surround sound without the bulk and cost of a true multi-speaker setup, BenQ claims. Each set also uses BenQ's own AMVA display panel design to improve color at steep angles and a 1,200:1 contrast ratio. Specifics regarding inputs and resolution weren't provided by the company. The new screens will first launch in Taiwan by mid-December for an unspecified price.

New sports-themed HANNSpree LCDs

11/22, 2:05pm

HANNSpree sports LCDs

HANNSpree has introduced a new group of sports-themed LCDs. The 15-inch HANNSgolf features a dimpled white-and-green design, with a tee and two club irons providing support. The HANNSdribbling is a 9.6-inch soccer-themed screen, encased in a dome of real soccerball leather. The HANNSball.champions, meanwhile, is another 15-inch display, but is ready for wall-mounting, uses basketball leather, and has an embossed list of NBA Finals champions. The golf and ball.champions sets support resolutions up to 1024x768, while the dribbling is limited to 800x600. All three TVs are 4:3 displays with response times of 16ms. The golf is priced at £389 ($738), the dribbling at £299 ($568), and the ball.champions at £459 ($871).

Portraits & Prints 2.2.1 released

11/22, 2:05pm

Portraits & Prints 2.2.1

Econ Technologies has released Portraits & Prints 2.2.1, adding more than 50 free new templates to the photo layout and printing application. The new templates include Christmas, New Year, and Calendar themes along with seasonal templates and new 'Wanted Posters.' Portraits and Prints can turn digital photos into family Christmas frames, make personal 2007 Calendars, or place a bounty another individual with Wanted Posters, according to Econ. The latest revision brings the total number of Holiday templates to more than 100 featuring Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year, and winter cards. Templates are automatically downloaded and installed via the Portraits & Prints Template Manager, negating the need to manually hunt down new templates. Portraits & Prints 2.2.1 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later and is available in both standard as well as pro versions for $30 and $50, respectively.

FontCard, WindowShade X updated

11/22, 1:50pm

FontCard, WIndowShade X

Unsanity today released FontCard 1.4 and WindowShade X 4.1.1, significant updates to the Font menu modification and window title bar behavior 'haxies.' FontCard 1.4 runs natively on Intel Macs as a Universal Binary, and includes an updater that automatically checks for updates at user-specified intervals. The latest FontCard release is also updated for sets created in FontAgent Pro 3.2 or later, and fixes a problem with QuarkXPress 6.x and 7.x that caused FontCard to select the wrong font when the correct font was listed after the generic font family in the real font menu. WindowShade X 4.1.1 fixes an issue with the 'press control key twice' as well as 'press command key twice' actions which would stop working in some circumstances, and repairs an issue that could cause WindowShade X to not enable itself properly. FontCard 1.4 is available for $17 and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, while WindowShade X 4.1.1 is priced at $10 and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or newer.

Canyon debuts AirPort-like VoIP Station

11/22, 1:45pm

Canyon VoIP Station

Electronics maker Canyon today revealed the VoIP Station. While resembling Apple's AirPort Extreme base station, the Canyon model is built specifically to negotiate Internet-based calls and uses the same foundations as larger, more elaborate systems intended for offices, the company says. The station plugs into a computer through USB and operates as an omni-directional speakerphone to help families hold conference calls. Private conversations can also be had by connecting a microphone headset. The software is compatible with Skype and also supports instant message clients such as MSN, Canyon says. The VoIP Station currently sells for £40 ($76).

FileScope 1.5 comes to Intel Macs

11/22, 1:40pm

FileScope goes Universal

Montage Technologies has released FileScope 1.5, an update to its remote file monitoring utility that runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. FileScope allows users to view remote or local text, log, or status files with a single mouse click, and bundles the tasks involved with remote file monitoring via a simple user-interface. The update supports monitoring of local files, allows users to browse remote file systems, and improves error detection as well as error recovery. FileScope 1.5 is available for $15, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

DragThing 5.7b supports dock themes

11/22, 1:25pm

DragThing 5.7b released

TLA Systems has released a public beta of DragThing 5.7, an update to the popular launcher application for Mac OS X. Version 5.7 features a completely rewritten dock drawing code and added support for themes. "In a nutshell, they are small files that describe exactly how your docks look, and they are very powerful. They take away the trial and error involved in making your docks look good - you just pick from a range of cool styles. You can still do things the old way if you want of course!" The developer says he expects to ship 10 different themes with the release, but is looking for others to contribute their own custom dock themes. DragThing is a Universal Binary and runs on Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. A single-user license is $30.

Buffalo readies computer-independent Skype phone

11/22, 1:15pm

Buffalo WiFi Skype Phone

Buffalo on Wednesday introduced its WSKP-G Skype phone. Unlike some VoIP handsets, Buffalo says, the new phone can operate without requiring a host computer running Skype software; it can place calls through almost any 802.11b/g wireless hotspot. Those concerned with security can also synchronize the device with Buffalo's one-button AOSS security or manually configure it for WEP, WPA, and WPA2. The company further promises an average of 2.5 hours of continuous talk time that can be recharged directly through an AC adapter or a computer's USB port. Buffalo hopes to ship its Skype phone by mid-December for $207 in Japan; the company has not yet discussed a North american release.

VOYAGER arcade cocktail cabinet

11/22, 12:55pm

Cocktail table/arcade unit

The VOYAGER cocktail table is a deliberate throwback to gaming tables from the 1970s and 80s. Buried in the table is an arcade machine holding 42 games, such as 1942, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Galaga, Frogger, Pac-Man and more. Arcade-style buttons and joysticks are located on either side of the table for one or two players. A protective perspex screen guards the table (and 14-inch monitor) from damage by drinks or falling objects. The VOYAGER is available with or without coin slots, but the cost of play can be set to any amount including free. The table can also be customized with oak, black, or mahogany finishes (mahogany is pictured). Gremlin Solutions is selling the slotless version for £1,426 ($2,706) and the slotted one for £1,526 ($2,896), while Liberty Games is only selling a single version for £1,675 ($3,179).

Buffalo debuts new iPod dock

11/22, 12:35pm

Buffalo iPod dock debuts

Buffalo Technology has introduced a new dock for iPod owners (site in Japanese) seeking a means to simultaneously charge an iPod and play music from across the room. The new Buffalo dock features 2.1-channel sound output with 33w of power, and includes a 3.5mm audio input for connecting various audio devices in the rear of the unit along with support for an external subwoofer. The unit boasts controls for play, pause, and track navigation on the front panel, with the iPod dock set just above the controls. The new dock ships bundled with various dock inserts to accommodate all iPods with a dock connector, and a remote control to operate the unit from across the room (pricing and availability were unavailable).

EMI 911 rCard

11/22, 11:50am

EMI 911 rCard

Developed by EMI, the 911 rCard stores critical medical information such as charts, prescriptions, or even photos and video in a device just slightly larger than a business card. Medical professionals can then browse the data on an embedded 2-inch screen. To load information, users create a secure profile at the EMI website, and then transfer files to the card via USB. The product holds up to 1GB of content and (when not in use) has a seven-year battery life. Power lasts up to two hours in active use. If the battery runs dry, it can be recharged through the USB cable, and a toll-free number is provided to get information by phone. The card costs $80 by itself and a $20 subscription fee is due from the second year onwards.

Russian designer produces handmade luxury mice

11/22, 11:40am

Tyukalov Handmade Mice

Designer Slava Tyukalov says he has begun limited production of his Handmade Wireless Optical Mouse. In contrast to the plastic shells often dictated by mass production, each mouse is assembled in part from materials used by NASA and other space agencies, according to Tyukalov. Each mouse is also constructed of luxury materials that would be equally impractical in factory assembly: the signature GoldenEye model features snakeskin, while the Cold Steel (pictured) and Black Pearl are both covered by chrome and leather. Although none of the mice have received standardized pricing, the designer currently provides individual price quotes as necessary.

Xbox video sales now live, reveal pricing

11/22, 11:05am

Xbox Movies Now Live

Microsoft today announced that its movie and TV show service for Xbox 360 owners is now active. The release confirms the previously unmentioned pricing system for the online store, which had been announced without these details two weeks ago. Under the points-based Xbox Live Marketplace system, standard-definition TV shows can be bought for the equivalent of $2 -- similar to Apple's iTunes Store -- while full-length movies can be rented for $3 at the same resolution. Notably, Microsoft says it will charge a premium for high-definition content, with TV programs available for $3 and HD-quality films rentable for $6 each. The launch is accompanied by 50 TV shows and 48 movies; both numbers are expected to grow significantly in coming weeks.

O2 preparing XDA Flame phone as media player?

11/22, 10:50am

O2 XDA Flame phone

O2 may be positioning its forthcoming XDA Flame phone as a media player, according to a post at Pocket PC Thoughts. Using a photo and a flyer as evidence, they suggest that the Flame will have 2GB of ROM, a 520MHz Intel CPU, and most notably, an Nvidia GoForce 5500 chipset. The 5500 supports surround sound, native decoding of video codecs such as H.264, WMV9 and MPEG-4, and 3D gaming on the level of Quake III Arena. The phone should also have a 2-megapixel camera and a 3.6-inch VGA display. To connect to other devices (and possibly the Internet), USB and 802.11b/g wireless ports will be available. The Flame should debut sometime in 2007 -- click through for images of the unit.

MacMice ships Danger Mouse Red

11/22, 10:45am

Danger Mouse Red ships

MacMice today began shipping its new Danger Mouse Red USB laser mouse, and announced that $3 of every mouse sold will benefit the new other red program for assisting orphans in Africa. The Danger Mouse Red USB laser mouse features a glossy red outer shell, and is functionally identical to the Danger Mouse USB laser mouse with the same 1,600dpi laser mechanism and 'MicroScroll' scroll wheel encoder. The mouse is plug-and-play compatible with Mac OS X as well as Microsoft Windows 2000/XP, and ships for $30. The company began shipping its black Danger Mouse in early September, and unveiled its matte black DangerMouse in mid September.

Best Buy to sell $249 Toshiba laptop on Black Friday

11/22, 10:30am

Toshiba Black Friday PC

Best Buy is planning to offer its own heavily discounted laptop for this week's Black Friday sales, according to The retail chain plans to offer Toshiba's L35-S2151 for $249 as an in-store promotion, providing a major discount over the normally $600 system. The 15.4-inch system is designed for basic needs with a 1.6GHz Celeron M, 512MB of memory, and a 60GB hard drive. Best Buy adds that the PC is relatively light for its size and price, weighing a modest 5.1 pounds and measuring 1.5 inches thick. The move follows earlier plans by Circuit City, HP, and Wal-Mart to provide massive short-term discounts as a way of spurring holiday sales.

Verizon carries Kyocera K323 budget camera phone

11/22, 10:00am

Kyocera K323 at Verizon

US cellular network Verizon today said it would carry the Kyocera K323 cellphone. Though the phone is meant for cost-conscious subscribers, it includes features not always present on other devices in its class. The K323 sports both Bluetooth and a VGA camera, allowing it to sync wirelessly with a host PC and to take still photos. Built-in software allows for quickly editing photo color and adding frames. Battery life is rated at a sizeable 3.5 hours of active talk time and 7.5 hours of standby, according to Kyocera. Importantly, pricing is low as the phone is now shipping for $30 alongside any Verizon contract.

Epson takes on Mac mini

11/22, 9:45am

Epson takes on Mac mini

Epson has launched its Endeavor ST100 PC, an ultra-compact desktop that competes directly with Apple's Mac mini in terms of aesthetics and features. Epson's new system is slightly heavier than the Mac mini, but ships standard with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor and support for a 2.33GHz version of the chip. The system is customizable for storage and can ship with as little as 40GB or as much as 160GB of hard disk storage, according to Electronista. All models ship with DVD burners, include two front-mounted USB ports in addition to four at the rear, include a 56K modem as well as Ethernet connectivity, and offers built-in VGA display output. Epson is shipping its ST100 in Japan for $510 for the base configuration.

Motorola launches M710 in-car phone

11/22, 9:30am

Motorola M710 Car Phone

Designing for business travelers and other frequent drivers, Motorola has now unveiled its M710 phone for iDEN networks. The phone is made to use the instant, multi-way communication services of carriers such as Nextel by including quick access to push-to-talk as well as the optional use of a wide array of GPS features, according to Motorola: users can track not only their position but also roadside help, traffic, and weather. In business, the M710 can further serve as a beacon that lets employers keep track of cars. Motorola's handset can also function as a data modem and is physically designed for the realities of driving, with oversized buttons and text that reduce the amount of time spent looking away from the road. The company hasn't yet revealed availability or pricing but plans to sell the M710 to both personal buyers and companies alike.

PasswordVault v5.1 extends import

11/22, 9:05am

PasswordVault v5.1

Lava Software is now shipping PasswordVault v5.1, a simple and practical enterprise-level password manager for Windows, Mac OS X (Universal Binary), Mac OS Classic and Linux(i86). This new version offers powerful import functions which allow password data to be imported efficiently from most other password managers, and enhancements that simplify the setting up and testing of auto-import and auto-export of password data. Import filters have been added for some specific password managers, and the custom import filter has been significantly enhanced, making it possible to import password data from most other password managers. It also allows groups of users within organizations to migrate to the PasswordVault cross-platform enterprise-level password management solution, and subsequently securely and automatically share and synchronize password data.

Palm ships Treo 680 for Cingular, unlocked customers

11/22, 8:50am

Palm Ships Treo 680

Palm today announced that it has begun shipping its Treo 680 to both cellular providers and users. First to receive the smartphone will be Cingular, Palm says, which will receive the new device November 24th beginning at prices of $200 with a two-year contract. The Cingular-specific version will ship with Telenav GPS Navigator software for driving directions as well as a 30-day trial of Yahoo! Unlimited Music To Go that takes advantage of the Treo 680's music support. The handset will also support the carrier's EDGE broadband network.

Palm also said today that it will begin accepting preorders for an unlocked version of the entry-level Treo immediately with an expected ship date of December 1st for both in-store and online customers. The unlocked version will require cellphone service with a GSM-based provider and accompanying SIM card and is expected to retail for $399.

Smart Loops releases SL Reference Kit

11/22, 8:35am

SL Reference Kit ships

Smart Loops has released the SL Reference Kit, an all-new drum sample set for use with Mac/PC software samplers. SL Reference Kit includes over 300MB of 24-bit drum samples, performed live on a Pearl Reference kit, and recorded at the world-renowned Platinum Labs in Nashville. All SL Reference Kit samples were recorded completely dry, with no processing, EQ, or compression, providing the ultimate "reference" drum samples. Musicians and producers can customize and tweak SL Reference Kit samples for use with any style of music, using their own effects processing to mix their own sound on the drum tracks. This is the company's seventh release as part of the SL Sample Set line, which also includes SL Acoustic Kit, SL Trap Kit, SL Thunder Kit, SL Tight Kit, SL Groovy Kit, and SL Industrial Kit. The SL Reference Kit drum sample set is available as a download from Smart Loops for the introductory price of $20.

Sony intros Graphic Splash Edition VAIO laptops

11/22, 8:05am

Sony Graphic Splash VAIOs

Sony this morning has sought to entice holiday buyers by releasing limited Graphic Splash Editions of two of its key VAIO laptop lines. Both the 13.3-inch, mid-range C-series and the 17-inch AR-series desktop replacement will be produced in small quantities with an artistic outer shell. No more than 2,150 of the C-series (pictured) will be produced with the choice of Green/Red Storm, Angel, Blue Streaks, or Pink Swirl styles. Only 500 of the flagship AR series will in turn be produced, with the choice of either Green Streaks or Orbit for color schemes. Both systems are available today and command a premium over base models: the VAIO C is priced at $1,150 with its custom shell, while the AR in Graphic Splash Edition trim is priced at $2,270.


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