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David Pogue on Vista
A new video has surfaced on the NewYorkTimes.com front page featuring columnist David Pogue as he sarcastically attempts to prove to the world that Microsoft's Windows Vista is not a 'rip off' of Mac OS X. As the first major revision Microsoft's operating system since Windows XP, Pogue points out that Vista required five years and 50 million lines of code to create. The columnist covers such features as 'flippy triangles' in Vista which appear strikingly similar to Apple's 'disclosure triangles' -- small icons which open folders that have served as a core feature in Mac OS for numerous years -- as well as Vista's calendar program that appears nearly identical to Apple's iCal software. The video also shows Vista's photo organization software in operation, which appears to work in almost the exact same way as Mac OS X's iPhoto application. Pogue also delves into Apple's Spotlight technology vs. Microsoft's search capability in the Start Menu, Apple's 'Widgets' vs. Microsoft's 'Gadgets,' and both company's 3D chess software.
Poser 7 Universal ships
E frontier today began shipping Poser 7, its 3D human figure and animation software created for artists, illustrators, graphic designers, and animators in both the hobbyist and creative professional markets. Poser 7 offers lip syncing, multiple undo capability, non-linear animation, universal poses, and a new morphing tool mode for creating custom morph targets. The update also ships with more than 1GB of Poser content that includes the new second-generation male and female figures, Sydney and Simon, and a large collection of third-party content. Poser 7 also introduces several architectural improvements to enhance performance, such as native Intel Mac support and multi-threaded rendering, as well as HDRI (High Dynamic Range Imaging) and enhanced OpenGL preview. Poser is priced at $250 for the full version or $130 for existing Poser 4 and newer users. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. Pre-ordered boxed versions of Poser 7 for Mac are slated for delivery on December 20th.
Evesham Nav-Cam GPS
Big-box retailer Big Lots is selling an unknown Evesham GPS unit, Navigadget observes. The product is not in Evesham's existing line-up, though it does resemble the Nav-Cam 7700, which sells for $294 at Amazon. Among other features, the Big Lots Nav-Cam has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 2D and 3D modes, voice guidance, and pre-loaded maps of the entire United States. For $229 it comes with a charger, a mounting kit, and a USB cable.
FEaT for Mac released
Faber Acoustical today released a new dynamics signal analysis and data acquisition software for Mac. The Faber Electroacoustics Toolbox (FEaT) is a modularized, multi-channel multi-analyzer offering real-time data acquisition and analysis of electrical, acoustical, and electroacoustic signals and systems, according to the company. FEaT is designed to enable precise measurements of acoustic quantities such as equivalent and time-weighted sound levels, as well as acoustic and electroacoustic systems such as listening rooms and loudspeakers. The software works with Mac-compatible audio hardware, and offers support for multiple channels of 8, 16, 24, or 32-bit data with sample rates as high as the hardware supports. Electroacoustics Toolbox is available as a Universal Binary for $700, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
LG takes on iPod shuffle
LG has unveiled a new portable audio player that directly competes with Apple's first-generation iPod shuffle. The UP3Flat is shaped similarly to the dated iPod, and similarly forsakes an LCD display in favor of simple controls. The player ships in 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB capacities with a Chocolate-influenced glossy black exterior. The LG UP3Flat boasts a minimalist front face with only volume buttons and LED lights visible to the eye. Actual playback controls are located on the side of the device, according to Electronista, and the Flat's USB connector is retractable to prevent loss or tangling. The new LG player includes a battery life of roughly 10 hours with support for playing MP3, OGG, and WMA files. The device is already shipping in China and South Korea for prices beginning at $50.
MacA&D goes Universal
Excel Software today released Universal Binary editions of MacA&D and MacTranslator for system and software modeling. MacA&D 2.1 runs three times as fast as version 2.0 on Apple's new Intel-based systems, according to the company, while MacTranslator 1.1 runs roughly five times as fast on Intel-based machines. MacA&D is a tool for system modeling and simulation, requirements management, structured analysis as well as design, and object-oriented modeling with UML and data modeling of information systems. MacTranslator scans source code to extract design information to a text file, which is imported into the MacA&D modeling tool to automatically generate UML class models, structure charts, and rich data models. MacA&D 2.1 is available for $500 for the standard edition or $2,000 for the developer edition, and requires Mac OS X 10.1 or later. MacTranslator 1.1 is available for $500.
Adobe CSS, AJAX Web tools
Adobe today also announced it has also released two new web tools as beta releases. Following the announcement of the imminent Universal Photoshop CS3 beta, Adobe CSS Advisor is a new web-based community site to easily identify and resolve browser compatibility issues. According to the company, Web designers and developers can contribute their own issues, comment on existing issues, or become an editor to participate in driving the site's future. Adobe also launched a beta release of Adobe Spry framework for Ajax, a designer-focused solution for adding the interactive power of Ajax when developing rich, dynamic web-sites.
Apple 'Podcast Pack'
In brief: Apple is offering new software exclusively for .Mac members titled 'Podcast Pack,' which the company says includes professional music jingles and voiceovers.... REALbasic Developer Magazine today announced that it is discounting certain back issue packages and CDs by 25 percent.... The creator of the "I Love My Mac" song has released a new version of the number in Japanese, and has released new songs which are available on Apple's iTunes Music Store.... Dosch Design has released eight new products which include Dosch 3D: Passenger Transportation; Dosch 3D: Cranes; Dosch 3D: Kitchen Designs; Dosch 3D: World Globes; Dosch Viz-Images: Bird's Eye Buildings; Dosch Viz-Images: People - Casual; Dosch Viz-Images: People - Urban; and Dosch Layer FX: Wellness.... The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) has released Photoshop CS2 for Beginners, a 21-day online training course hosted by the senior developer of education and curriculum for NAPP, David Cross.... iPod loading service LoadProng is offering a 20 percent discount to all customers who purchase gift certificates until December 25th.
Photoshop CS3 beta coming
Adobe has announced it will introduce on Friday a beta version of the Universal Adobe Photoshop CS3 software to "enable customers to more easily transition to the latest hardware platforms, particularly Apple's new Intel-based systems." The beta, first previewed in early September, is available as a Universal Binary for the Macintosh platform, as well as for Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista computers. As noted previously, the final shipping release of Adobe Photoshop CS3 is planned for Spring 2007. Packed with new features, Photoshop CS3 beta also includes a pre-release version of a major upgrade to Adobe Bridge, as well as a preview release of the all-new Adobe Device Central. The software will be be available at its Adobe Labs website in the early hours Pacific Standard Time on December 15 and will require a valid serial number.
JVC DV Cam with 34X Zoom
JVC on Thursday marked the introduction of the GR-D750 digital camcorder. The Japanese company proudly claims that the miniDV camera is the first of its kind to feature a 34X optical zoom, allowing especially close shots between F2.0-F4.7 without sacrificing quality through digital scaling. Although not an HD-capable camera, the D750's 0.68-megapixel sensor can adapt to either standard aspect or widescreen ratios. Still shots are possible at an effective 0.34-megapixel resolution. JVC begins deliveries of the camera to Japan in January for an undetermined price and should echo this release in North America shortly afterwards.
DLO launches Power Bug
Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today launched the Power Bug AC power adapter and dock cable as well as the Action Jacket (shown at right) workout armband and case for Apple's second-generation iPod shuffle. The DLO Power Bug offers second-generation iPod shuffle owners the flexibility to charge the portable player from any standard AC wall outlet, and features an extra dock cable for syncing with iTunes on-the-go. The Power Bug's AC plug folds flat for easy storage alongside a detachable dock cable serves as an alternative to the Shuffle's dock. DLO's Action Jacket for iPod shuffle is a secure armband with a cushioned case that allows easy access to the player's controls during physical activity. The design is 'workout safe,' guarding the iPod from sweat and scratches. The DLO Power Bug is priced at $23, while the DLO Action Jacket for iPod shuffle is available for $20.
Credit Card Phones in NYC
A test service has been launched in New York City that will let Americans pay for items wirelessly through their cellphones. Called simply the NYC Mobile Trial, the test is a collaboration between Citibank and cellphone designer Nokia that takes advantage of near-field communications (NFC) to tap a subscriber's bank account or MasterCard and transmit money directly to stores, which are currently limited to select retail shops and subway stations. Japanese cellphone users have been able to use NFC systems such as FeliCa to pay for service in recent years, but the technology has generally met resistance in North America due to less refined cellphones and security fears.
New York City residents have until December 20th to sign up for the Mobile Trial and will receive a custom Nokia phone alongside free access to the payment service, but will need to hold both a Cingular wireless plan and a Citibank account.
DiscLabel 4.1 ($33) is a design and printing program for CD/DVD covers, labels, and inserts that pulls images as well as track information directly from applicable iLife programs. DiscLabel 4.1 adds support for direct-to-disc printers by Canon and HP, export to BMP and PNG files, and the option to create a "circular pie" image montage.
[Download - 13.7MB]
SmartBackup 2.0 ($20) archives numerous different devices from local hard drives to iPods and network sharepoints. Previously known as SyncupX, SmartBackup is a major revision with an entirely redesigned interface and new automation functions. The update also includes several bug fixes. [Download - 575KB]
Tri-CATALOG 6.0.3 ($99) documents the contents of any kind of fixed or removable media, saving the information in a database that does not depend on the presence of original volumes. Tri-CATALOG 6.0.3 adds a browser for direct file access, text as well as HTML export options, and the ability to sort search results. The application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 1.8MB]
Petal Palace 1.1 ($20) is a game similar to Tetris that challenges players to line up garden flowers without allowing the lot to overgrow. The update fixes bugs, improves compatibility, and offers a number of design improvements. Petal Palace 1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or greater. [Download - 3.0MB]
Seasonality 1.4 ($25) is a comprehensive weather suite that combines graphs, forecasts, satellite imagery, and astronomical data. The latest revision includes radar images, the ability to add custom weather stations, and phase predictions for the moon. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 16.6MB]
Pogue on Windows Vista
Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista is an advance for Windows that also contains even subtle Mac influences as well as curious regressions beyond Windows XP, according to an early review of the final version by New York Times tech columnist David Pogue. While major features such as system-wide instant searching and the Gadget bar are immediately useful enhancements over Windows XP that show at least partial inspiration from Mac OS X Tiger, there are also subtler similarities -- such as the drag-and-drop Explorer sidebar and 3D chess software -- that draw a clear connection, Pogue writes.
"You get the feeling that Microsoft's managers put Mac OS X on an easel and told the programmers, 'Copy that,'" he says.
PulpMotion 1.0 ships
Aquafadas today launched PulpMotion 1.0, a new Mac OS X application that offers users a simple yet powerful new option for designing and sharing striking media montages that integrate personal photos, videos and music. "By simply dragging and dropping their favorite photos, movie clips and music into a visual "theme" or full-motion background template, users can create a whole new way to display- and share- digital media," the company said. PulpMotion offers a menu of "visually arresting" themes which range from business-like to esoteric to comical--all of which can be integrated into moving displays, such as a fake newscast. These displays can then be emailed through an interactive postcard, loaded onto an iPod, used as a personalized screensaver, exported as high quality QuickTime movies, or published to a website using iWeb. Users can also add the recipient's video image (live) into any composition using the Mac's built-in iSight camera. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and is available for $25.
BenQ FP785+ Displays
BenQ today transformed one of its desktop LCDs into a fashion piece with the FP785+. The different approach to the company's existing 17-inch screen covers the display frame with artwork from a choice of two Giuseppe Castiglione paintings housed in Taiwan's National Palace Museum: buyers can choose either the flowered "Everlasting Verdure of the Immortal Calyx, An Album of Flower Studies" or the more masculine "Ayusi Scattering Rebels with Upraised Spear." Underneath is the company's fundamental LCD design, which promises a 6ms response time, 700:1 contrast ratio, and a 1280x1024 resolution. A four-watt stereo speaker system is mounted on the display's chin while ports for DVI and VGA are hidden on the back. BenQ warns that only 1,300 of the limited edition FP785+ will be made, but does not list the price or availability beyond Taiwan. [Via Chip Chick]
Lindy USB MiniCam Pro
Lindy this morning started shipping the USB MiniCam Pro. It tackles the low lighting problems that affect many webcams, the company says, by integrating two sets of lighting into the camera body. Separate infrared and white-light LEDs illuminate the subject without washing out the resuling picture. The device also plugs into a Mac or Windows PC's USB port with a bendable neck to provide a more natural viewing angle for video recipients. An optional model with a permanent stand is also available. Lindy ships the MiniCam Pro immediately for £22 ($43).
TLA ships DragThing 5.7
TLA Systems today released DragThing 5.7 after a successful public beta test. The update to its alternative dock software adds support for dock themes -- offering users a simple way to customize the look of DragThing docks. DragThing is designed to make items on a Mac such as files, folders, applications, disks, URLs, clippings, and windows easily accessible while taking up as little space on the screen as possible. Users can choose from a wide range of styles in one location, and the software ships with dozens of themes. Theme formatting is entirely open and XML-based, allowing all users to create custom dock themes for the community. DragThing is available for $12 to registered users of DragThing 2 and 4, or $30 for new users. The application requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary.
Overclockable Core 2 Duo
Intel has released a special, unlocked version of its mobile Core 2 Duo chip that lets the user freely increase the clock speed. Quietly introduced at the same time as the M1710 with Blu-Ray, the T7600G chip operates at the same 2.33GHz clock speed of Intel's fastest mobile processor but lets enthusiasts freely increase the core clock rate and the system bus speed to push beyond official limits. The CPU is an exception to the normal roadmap that can't be obtained as a separate part, Intel says. Dell will configure any M1710 with the unrestricted Core 2 Duo for an additional $275 beyond the regular 2.33GHz model. The system builder has not said whether or not it will honor the warranty on overclocked systems.
comScore: iTunes steady
Market analysis firm comScore Networks today reported that revenue from Apple's iTunes Music Store rose by 84 percent during the first three quarters of 2006 versus the same period one year ago. The rise stems from a 67 percent increase in the number of iTunes buying transactions and a 10 percent increase in the dollars spent per transaction, which directly contradicts Forrester Research findings earlier this week suggesting that iTunes sales are collapsing as the company heads into the busy holiday shopping season. Those findings are backed by several other reports from industry watchers such as analyst firm Piper Jaffray and Blackfriars Marketing. Forrester Research stated on Monday that the iTunes Music Store has experienced plummeting sales revenues in the range of 65 percent since January of this year. That research was based on an analysis of credit card transactions conducted by the firm over a 27-month period.
New eSata enclosure ships
FireWire Depot today introduced the CFI-4043, a 4-bay eSATA enclosure capable of 3.0Gbps transfer rates with Silicon Image's port multiplier technology that uses one eSATA cable for all four SATA II drives. Selectable RAID levels include JBOD (just a bunch of disks), span, mirror, stripe, RAID-5, and RAID-10. The CFI-4043 4-bay eSATA Port Multiplier Enclosure is available for $280. The company is also offering a special holiday bundles that include one extra SATA drive tray with its MB559US-1S eSATA + USB2.0 combo 3.5 drive enclosure ($80), MB559UEA-1S FireWire 1394a/USB2.0 to SATA drive ($100), and MB561S-4S series 4 Bay SATA Removal Hard Drive Enclosure ($330).
Atlantis X-5600 GPS
Atlantis has today struck a balance between handheld GPS units and larger in-car versions with its X-5600. Measuring 5.6 inches, the touchscreen is readily visible in a car but does not consume the 7-inch bulk of many in-car systems, mounting instead to the visor or windshield. The mapping system is also rare among mainstream GPS devices in its inclusion of video inputs for alternate video sources and has dual video inputs to convert the X-5600 into a backup camera monitor or a TV for DVDs and games.
Map data for the US (including Puerto Rico) is preloaded on a 1GB SD card along with points of interest, and can be restored from a DVD backup. With free space on the removable storage, owners can also play MP3s or view photos. Amazon carries Atlantis' navigator for $500.
Spoof ad mocks iPod
Microsoft has produced an internal video spoof of Apple's 'Get a Mac' ad campaign, according to one report. The ad, which was originally uploaded by ZuneBoards but was allegedly created by the Redmond-based software giant, praises Zune over Apple's iPod for its wireless song transfer capability and the iPod's perceived delicate nature. The advertisement also depicts the iPod as more difficult to load with music than the Zune, describing a lengthy process of looking up song lyrics on the internet before browsing to iTunes and finally entering credit card information to receive the purchased track. Finally, Microsoft touts the fact that its Zune player is available in a brown color.
iDock Laptop Stand
Vazio said today that it would fine-tune the conventional laptop stand with its iDock mount. Where most such stands only have two or three distinct angles to rest the laptop and can still create an uncomfortable viewing angle, the iDock features eight. Vazio notes that orizontal movement is another speciality of the design, which can swivel more readily than fixed stands.
Cooling and expansion take equal precedence in the iDock, with two quiet 3500RPM fans placed underneath the laptop to actively cool the system while four USB ports add connection options for regularly used peripherals. Vazio produces the stand in black, gray, silver, and white and says the stand is available internationally, though no price is yet available.
BenQ X710 digital camera
BenQ has announced the X710, an update to the X720 that shipped in October. While functionally similar to the 720, including support for ISO levels up to 4,000 in video (1,200 in still), the 710 increases the megapixel count to 7.2 and expands the LCD size to a full three inches -- larger than the vast majority of digital cameras. BenQ is also promoting a technology called the Sliding Lens System, which the company says produces sharper and clearer images at the corners of the frame. The lens itself is a Super Multi-Coated (SMC) Pentax. Pricing and release dates for the X710 have yet to be revealed.
Review, iTunes vs. pay-TV
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Eddie Tapp on Digital Photography ($30, shown at right), a book series with a tutorial-like approach to learning digital photography.... Apple's iTunes Music Store is set to send shivers through the pay-TV industry in 2007, according to one report citing 30Mbps internet connections to homes and internet downloads of high-definition TV content.... Jumsoft today released Keynote Backgrounds FX 1.0 ($50), a package of motion backgrounds for Apple's Keynote presentation software.... MacHeist today announced that it has raised $50,000 for eight international charities in just over three days during "The Week of Independent Mac Developer".... Objective Development today released new plug-ins for its Web CMS WebYep Dreamweaver Extension with support for RapidWeaver and Freeway Pro.... Informatix Software International is welcoming entries for its image competition to celebrate the company's 10th anniversary on April 25th.
JVC Low-Profile HDTVs
Electronics giant JVC on Thursday revealed two new HDTVs that it claims are some of the thinnest rear-projection LCD sets in the world. Both the 58-inch HD-58S998 and the 65-inch HD-65S998 have a newly-revised concave mirror and optical engine that dramatically widens the projecting angle, allowing JVC to reduce the depth of the cabinet on a similarly massive scale. The largest of the two sets is 11.6 inches thick, making both screens thin and light enough to safely rest on stands designed for direct-view LCD and plasma displays, according to the company. Their heat management also vents hot air to the sides rather than the back and opens the possibility of wall-mounting the cabinet.
Read through for more details and a profile photo illustrating the thinness of the S998 line.
Headset Master 5.1 USB
Made by Terratec, the creators of the NOXON iRadio, the Headset Master 5.1 USB promises "true" 5.1 surround-sound with a set of six mini-speakers. No supported encoding standards are identified, but the headphones do have an onboard signal processor. A microphone simplifies voice communication, and an integrated remote lets you adjust bass, boost and volume functions without reaching for separate controls. The headset does however require its own set of software drivers to function. Terratec is selling the Headset Master directly for €60 ($79) including VAT.
Blackfriars on iTMS sales
Blackfriars Marketing has refuted claims that Apple's iTunes Music Store sales are collapsing in a recent blog entry, stating that "anyone who claims iPod sales are collapsing can't do basic math." Blackfriars posted a graph looking at cumulative iPod and iTunes sales on a logarithmic scale, revealing that both iPod and iTunes sales are growing dramatically. iTunes sold roughly 12.5 million songs for every 2 million iPods in 2003 vs. 23 million songs for every 2 million iPods today, according to the blog. Many iPods sold in the past are now non-operational while other iPods are sold to repeat buyers, indicating a further increase in the ratio of songs to iPods. "If that's a collapse, I don't know what these authors consider success," the blogger wrote.
Samsung Robin Unveiled
Samsung's mobile division today announced the Robin (pictured), a convertible handset with a unique dual-flip mode. Previously revealed as the U740, the Robin can either open vertically to be used as a clamshell phone or lengthwise to serve as an e-mail and text messaging device. Its keypad is intelligent, Samsung claims: the phone can dynamically reassign keys depending on the active mode, changing number keys to letters and vice versa. A 1.3-megapixel camera, dedicated music controls on the outer shell, and EVDO will complete the package.
Verizon should be the initial carrier for the Robin in North America when it debuts in the near future, though Samsung's handset will compete directly with Verizon's existing enV handset. The LG-made phone flips in a single direction but places traditional cellphone controls on the outside.
Skype Video Phone by 3J
The new Skype Video Phone by 3J has the unusual feature of a VGA CMOS camera, which can send live video to other users so long as they have the same phone and/or a computer. Receiving phones display video at up to 30fps on a VGA LCD screen. It connects to Windows XP computers via a USB 2.0 cable, and has a full-sized telephone keypad for dialing contacts and Skypeout numbers. MSN and Yahoo Messenger are supported alongside Skype. The phone also boasts noise reduction, echo cancellation, and full-duplex (simultaneous) communication. AmperorDirect is selling a variant of the phone for $57. [Via Chip Chick]
AmTech on iTunes concerns
Recent concerns about Apple's iTunes Music Store sales falling rapidly are overdone, according to American Technology Research senior analyst Shaw Wu. "Recently, there has been concern about declining iTunes store sales and the negative impact on Apple," Wu said. "We believe these concerns are overdone and we would take advantage of these misplaced fears to add to Apple positions." Analysis of Apple's iTunes downloads shows strong growth through 2005 and 2006 with estimates of music downloads in January of 2005 averaging roughly 1.28 million per day, translating to a 95 percent gain year over year. American Technology Research reiterates its 'buy' rating on Apple shares with a price target of $99.
Microsoft Get a Mac Spoof
Microsoft has produced an internal video satirizing Apple's recent "Get a Mac" ad campaign, according to Engadget. The ad, originally uploaded by ZuneBoards but allegedly created by Microsoft itself, gently but openly praises the Zune over the iPod, criticizing the Apple player for its lack of WiFi music sharing and its easily-scratched front face. It also praises the Zune's optional brown color and theZune Marketplace for its use of points, pointing out that iTunes customers have to provide credit card information where Zune owners can rely solely on prepaid cards purchased for either the Zune or the Xbox. See the video after the jump.
Suunto X9i GPS watch
The X9i watch by Suunto is made for outdoor sports and survival enthusiasts who need to know where they are and where they've been. At the heart of the watch is a 12-channel GPS receiver with three feet of precision, but the watch also incorporates a compass, an altimeter, and a barometer. Track Back and Find Home buttons point in the right direction if you get lost. You can plan and review routes using Suunto's Trek Manager software, and the Track Exporter package links with third-party applications such as TOPO! and Google Earth. The latter enables you to quickly share your trips with others, plotting them on a 3D map with visual touches such as flyovers. Amazon is selling the watch for anywhere between $374 and $699, depending on whether or not certain discounts apply.
Motorola KRZR Fire
Motorola today launched a special edition of its increasingly widespread KRZR cellphone. Dubbed the KRZR Fire, the new model replaces the conservative black and blue color schemes of the versions available in Europe and North America with a bright, metallic red. The red theme continues on the inside of the phone as well, Motorola says, as the blue keypad backlighting has turned red as well. Functionality is the same as the existing KRZR with a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.0, and a microSD slot for music and video storage. The color is currently available solely in Korea, but may find its way to other regions in the near future. Click through for a complete photo.
2G Shuffle Travel Dock
Marware has unveiled the USB Travel Dock for 2G iPod shuffle, a slim-profile portable dock designed around the new Shuffle's compact design that works with Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. Second-generation iPod shuffles charge and sync while connected to the new dock, and a blue 'power on' LED indicator provides feedback when the device is active. The dock is available for pre-order for $20 and does not obstruct any adjacent ports in Apple's laptops when plugged in due to its small profile. Marware plans to ship the USB Travel Dock for 2G iPod shuffle on January 3rd of next year.
ezGear ezPlay DVD Player
ezGear has just begun shipping the ezPlay. In sharp contrast to most portable DVD players, which are self-contained viewers with built-in screens, the ezPlay uses the compact, round shape of portable CD players like Sony's Discman line and relies on an outside display for watching video. The portability allows it to be used with the company's own ezVision video glasses for viewing movies while traveling. Standard video connectors are available to connect the player to TVs, the company says. Support for Dolby AC-3 and DTS surround sound decoding is built-in, and the drive can also play less ubiquitous video formats such as DivX files or SVCDs. ezGear's DVD system will be available this week for $120.
GenoPal 2.5 released
Genometri today released GenoPal 2.5 for Mac, its color selection software that allows color explorations in LAB color space. The software is based on the way the human eye perceives color and how color is understood in the human mind, according to Genometri, allowing designers to easily create eye-pleasing color schemes while offering refined color exploration controls wth a customizable palette layout. The latest release features greater sensitivity in selecting colors while allowing users to define custom colors, supporting palettes such as 'natural colors' and 'cold colors.' GenoPal 2.5 is priced at $35, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
BrandAssistant for Quark 7
Canto Software today announced BrandAssistant, a new software application that offers professional digital asset management right from within QuarkXPress 7. The software reduces production and approval delays, decreases time to market and increases asset security and distribution control, according to the company. In addition to finding cataloged files and composition zones (and using drag & drop to place them in layouts), BrandAssistant enables layout artists to catalog new layouts, autocatalog assets used in those layouts, and even mark files ready for review--without leaving the QuarkXPress environment. The complete text used in layouts can be cataloged as searchable metadata, making it easy to find files based on their content. In addition, the asset-relations tracking technology, first introduced with Cumulus 7, is included, enabling users to find assets based on their relationships with other assets: contains/is contained in, references/is referenced by, and more.
LG iPod shuffle Rival
LG this morning introduced the UP3Flat, a screenless flash music player that aims to challenge the iPod shuffle while retaining LG's distinctive styling. Heavily influenced by the Chocolate phone line, the bar-shaped player emphasizes minimalism at the same time as it retains efficiency. The front face contains only volume controls and LED status lights; track navigation and other controls are placed discreetly on the side and give control over the player's extra abilities. LG adds that the player has its own safe mechanism for connecting to a PC, as the built-in USB connector is retractable and eliminates the need for an easily-lost protective cap or cable.
Playback support extends to MP3, OGG, and WMA songs, with battery life rated at approximately 10 hours. Voice recording through an internal microphone is also possible. LG currently sells the UP3Flat in 512MB, 1GB, and 2GB versions in China and Korea for prices beginning at $50. A full size image can be found after the jump.
Karelia updates Sandvox
Karelia Software has released Sandvox 1.1, an update to its website building application for Mac OS X. The update brings eight gorgeous new site designs, offering more than 35 designs from which users can choose to begin. It also now adds a comprehensive and completely integrated Help feature, including step-by-step "How do I...?" questions and answers. In addition, version 1.1 adds a snapshot feature to cleanly save work that's in progress and "greatly" improves Flash file support. The Pro version adds the ability to manage raw HTML in several contexts: as pages and pagelets, custom HEAD elements, file preludes [for setting cookies, security sessions, PHP scripts] as well as the ability to view and validate the HTML source for elements. Sandvox 1.1 is available for $50 (Standard) and $80 (Pro); it is a Universal Binary, requires Mac OS X "Tiger" 10.4.4, and is available in English, Danish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Traditional and Simplified Chinese.
Sony-Ericsson Ai Leaked
Concrete information about Sony-Ericsson's mysterious "Ai" cellphone has surfaced, according to sources on the Esato forums. While the phone was previously confirmed as Sony-Ericsson's first RAZR rival, emphasizing slimness and style over sheer features, the phone should compete strongly against even other Sony-Ericsson models. The 9.4mm-thick (0.37 inches) bar phone will be one of the first from the company to support the faster HSDPA mobile Internet standard, the source writes; notably, the phone will also abandon the company's longstanding interface for Sony's signature Crossbar interface from the PS3 and PSP consoles. A forward-facing camera will also make its appearance.
The phone is currently named after tennis player Ai Sugiyama but should be dubbed the W880 upon its release, revealing its ultimate role as a Walkman music phone. Reflecting this, the Ai will have controls that speed access to music and a 1GB Memory Stick Micro to load songs. The story source estimates that an official launch is planned for mid-February to coincide with the 3GSM cellphone expo. Click through for complete photos.
Samsung this morning launched the CX225MD, a unique entry into the world of smaller LCD TVs. The Korean company hopes to span the gap between large, 1080p-capable HDTVs and the smaller but frequently limited TVs used for personal viewing by using a computer display. The 22-inch Samsung is capable of accepting a 1080p image -- a feat previously impossible with similar TVs -- but uses a lower-resolution 1680x1050 panel taken directly from the company's own computer line. Appropriately, the display is a blend between its computer origins and its new TV focus, with both HDMI input and a TV tuner complementing the connection for a PC's video card. The screen should have a fast 5ms response time suitable to console gaming and movies. Pricing and availability are unknown, though the CX225MD is likely to ship to North America under a new name.
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