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Forums December 15
Forums roundup: Members are discussing the early leak and subsequent release of Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta, comparing it to it's predecessor..... One member is questioning fellow forum-posters as to their favorite iMac design since its first introduction up to the current design.... Another user is looking for the best way to get 5.1 surround sound on a MacBook.... Another member is asking all MacBook Pro owners whether they are happy with their screen quality after numerous complains were posted about poor quality displays.... Meanwhile, one poster is questioning whether or not the MacBoook is a suitable iBook replacement due to 'too small' of a screen offering available to potential buyers.
Otterbox review; learn CS3
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Otter's Otterbox 7000-series laptop cases ($170, shown at right), touted for their waterproof sealing.... Designer Group has opened four new Apple-authorized stores in China, including a Beijing outlet that opened yesterday as well as stores in Taiyuan, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou which are due to open in the next 96 hours.... The National Association of Photoshop Professionals has already opened the CS3 Learning Center with a series of tutorials for the software, following the beta release of Photoshop CS3.... Tutorial website lynda.com has announced the Photoshop CS3 Beta One-on-One Preview, a series of free videos highlighting major features.... TidBITS has updated the Take Control of Running Windows on a Mac eBook ($10) to cover changes made by both Apple and Parallels.... Graphicxtras.com has released a $10 "Festive" pack of custom shapes for Adobe Elements and Photoshop CS2.
Gates: DRM 'causes pain'
Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has said that he objects to current applications of digital rights management (DRM). The comment comes in spite of Microsoft's inclusion of DRM measures in the Zune and Windows Vista, however. Speaking at the Microsoft campus, Gates recently told a bloggers' convention that DRM restrictions "cause too much pain for legitimate users," hampering devices with arbitrary limits, and imposing usage rights that might not be understood. Gates further noted that he would rather consumers buy and rip music CDs for the time being, though he does believe that alternate business models are possible -- one suggestion was paying for unlimited access to an artist's songs, according to Electronista.
Sub-$800 refurb MacBooks
Apple is still offering its sub-$800 refurbished MacBooks, and has expanded its refurbished iPod offerings with more Nanos alongside the re-introduction of reconditioned video iPods. Apple's consumer-oriented notebooks currently include the 1.83GHz white MacBook with 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard drive is priced at $799; 2.0GHz black MacBook with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $999; 2.0GHz white MacBook with 1GB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $1,049; and the 2.0GHz black MacBook with 1GB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $1,099. The Cupertino-based company's reconditioned iPod nanos now include the 1GB black or white model for $89, 2GB black or white models for $99, and 4GB black or white models for $149. The company has also reintroduced white 30GB video iPods for $179, and 60GB white or black video iPods for $229.
RhinoSkin notebook cases
RhinoSkin has unveiled a new line of hard cases to protect Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks. The cases, which are slated for availability in January of next year, offer a sleek form fitting design that serves as a protective shell for the portable computers. RhinoSkin's case holds the laptop firmly in place while offering complete access to the screen and keyboard. Drop-down sides provide easy access to ports and drives, negating the need to remove the laptop from the case. Each case includes backpack-style adjustable straps that click into the case, and air vents on the bottom keep the device cool during operation. The RhinoSkin case is priced from $60-80, and includes a detachable accessory case that clicks into place to hold chargers and other accessories.
EyeFX Glasses for PS2
Console peripheral experts SplitFish announced late Friday that it has launched its EyeFX glasses in stores. Attaching to a PlayStation 2's Dual Shock controller with a pass-through cable, the EyeFX is said to generate an immersive 3D effect for many of the Sony console's 3D games, such as the Ace Combat series or TimeSplitters. Not every game is compatible, SplitFish is careful to note, but the design does not require discs or explicit support from developers to work properly. The EyeFX should be in stores now for $50 and is likely to be adapted for the PlayStation 3 and other HD-capable consoles in the near future, according to the company.
Plus Deck Tape Converter
Firebox today opened up sales of the Plus Deck Cassette Converter. It mounts in the 5.25-inch bays of most Windows PCs and gives two-way control over the defunct tape format. Owners can capture the audio from cassettes in digital form as well as edit and even record new ones using digital sources. An auto-reverse mechanism keeps tapes playing or recording without having to flip sides. Direct controls for navigation are on the deck itself in addition to headphone and microphone jacks, allowing owners to listen to and author tapes without the software acting as a proxy. The Plus Deck retails for $196 with taxes. [Via Gearlog]
Sotec Skype Phone
Sotec has shipped a new Skype-capable phone through its partner Comfix. The SKP-001 is the company's first VoIP phone and offloads much of Skype's software functions to the handset. While ultimately dependent on a local PC and connected wirelessly through a USB dongle, Sotec's phone can access a given Skype account's address book, call history, and negotiating three-way conference calls. Battery life is a highlight of the phone's usefulness, according to Comfix. Talk time is measured at a long 15 hours; in standby mode, the SKP-001 can last for 1200 hours before a recharge. It debuts today for $100.
Photoshop CS3 beta posted
Adobe has released the Universal Beta of Photoshop CS3, the next generation version of its industry-standard graphics tool that runs natively on Intel-based Macs. Announced Thursday, the release requires a valid serial number and is only available in English (although non-English users can use their serial numbers). "Adobe has a long-standing commitment to the Mac community and this release is Adobe's way of delivering native performance on Intel based systems many months earlier than we otherwise could have done. We have no doubt, however, that all of our customers will enjoy exploring the new Photoshop CS3 beta and seeing some of the new features we have in store. The full application is not yet complete; but, many of the additions to the product are fully implemented and ready for you to try and discuss." Users without a serial number can use the demo for two days; it will expire when the final version is released.
CBS Records on iTunes
CBS is reviving its long-defunct CBS Records label in an attempt at synergistic profits, according to the Associated Press. The company plans to insert label artists into TV shows, which are also seen on networks such as NBC, CW, and USA Network. The move will allow consumers to purchase music at the iTunes Music Store, which CBS hopes will prove to be the first among several online stores to carry its tracks. Other deals are said to be forthcoming, and the network is relying on partnerships with existing record labels for releases on conventional compact discs. Will Dailey -- who has a song featured in the CBS drama "Jericho" -- is one of the first musicians with the new label.
Womens' MP3 Watch
RedSave has begun offering the simply-titled Womens' MP3 Watch. Emphasizing style, the wristwatch is meant to stay fashionable without drawing attention to its dedicated music functions. The player stores 128MB of MP3 songs and also serves as a flash drive for general data; its slim frame also permits voice recording in MP3 format. RedSave claims 12 hours of continuous playback using the built-in battery, which can be recharged by connecting to a computer through USB or by plugging the watch into a special AC adapter. The timepiece works with Macs and Windows systems and is already in stock for £90 ($176). [Via Shiny Shiny]
ImageWell 3 released
XtraLean Software today released ImageWell 3, a major upgrade that brings more than 50 new features and a more intuitive interface to the image editing software for simple everyday use. The latest revision features improved editing and image export capabilities, and offers 12 different language localizations. The software includes tools for everyday image resizing, rotation, cropping, sizing, and more. The update also offers support for SFTP within a streamlined user interface, and includes graphical watermarks as well as new font controls for text watermarks. ImageWell 3 features layering and transparency controls for images and draw objects, as well as drop shadow controls. ImageWell 3 is available free, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. A paid version is also available for $15 that offers batch processing, templates, multiple images on the canvas, more draw objects, shapes, lines, gradient backgrounds, and custom canvas sizing. [corrected]
Vizio Affordable 1080p Set
Low=cost TV maker Vizio intends to quickly drive down the price of 1080p-capable HDTV sets, according to an interview with CNET. The company says it will produce a 47-inch set at the full HD resolution that should break the $2,000 price threshhold, well under the $2,500 or higher prices that prevail in the current market. "We don't believe anyone can call $3,000 affordable," says Vizio head William Wang. The as yet unnamed display should ship before late January and could potentially arrive by the end of 2006.
The US-based company has grown remarkably in recent years due to its aggressive pricing, frequently undercutting larger manufacturers while offering similar-quality sets. Its most recent effort included a $999 42-inch plasma accompanied by discounts on other existing models.
Pirate Poppers released
PlayFirst has released Pirate Poppers, a strategy game challenging players to aim cannonballs to clear away menacing chains and unlock trinkets as well as jewels that rain down from above. Pirate Poppers features adventure, puzzle, and arcade game modes -- each with 77 levels -- along with special Chameleon, Explosive, and Super cannonballs. Six different power-ups include Prisoner's Pace, Stern Wind, Drop Anchor, Chain Breaker, Color Bomb, and Spyglass to aid players. Collectible treasures include goblets, coins, amulets, and more. Pirate Poppers is available for $20 from Macgamestore.com, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Artmu Music Photo Frame
The painting-focused Korean company Artmu today unveiled the DEF-080PM digital picture frame. The 8-inch, 640x480 screen hides an MP3 player and speakers that can accompany photo viewing or operate on their own, with navigation controls found both on the back of the frame as well as in a bundled wireless remote. Built-in storage consists of 128MB of flash memory but can be expanded by as much as 2GB more thanks to an integrated SD card slot, Artmu says. A calendar mode is also an option. Versions of the frame can be had with blue, red, or silver bezels at a price of $270 US.
Miroslav Philharmonik 1.1
IK Multimedia today released Miroslav Philharmonik 1.1, a Universal Binary version of its orchestra and choir sound workstation offering registered users native compatibility on Intel Macs. After updating the software no longer requires a USB iKey or dongle, and includes a standalone version of the application. Miroslav Philharmonik 1.1 improves load time for instruments, enhances MIDI CC real-time performance, offers better search reliability, and improves Audio Units multi-channel support. The application contains the full sample content of the original Miroslav Orchestra and Choir samples alongside additional instruments, programming, and performance articulations. Miroslav Philharmonik 1.1 is priced at $600, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Bill Gates on DRM
Microsoft's Bill Gates objects to digital rights management as it exists today, according to a report by Mike Arrington of TechCrunch on a recent bloggers' convention at the Microsoft campus. When asked his opinion about DRM, Gates freely said that the restrictions "cause too much pain for legitimate users," who frequently encounter arbitrary limits on devices and may not be aware of their usage rights. The executive suggests that people choose to buy and rip CDs instead and that options should exist for alternate business models, such as paying for unlimited access to a particular artist's songs.
Gates' statements have come as a surprise to some at the convention, as Microsoft's recently released Zune is linked to the DRM-restricted Zune Marketplace online store and applies protection to songs shared through the WiFi "squirting" feature, even when the source tracks are unrestricted.
DivX Pro for Mac released
DivX has released DivX Pro for Mac, a tool for the creation and playback of DivX videos featuring high-definition 1080 playback. DivX Player 1.0.4 allows users to watch full screen DivX movies with control over movie playback via mouse gestures. DivX Codec 6.4.0 allows Mac systems to create and play videos in 1080 high-definition with encode sizes up to 1920x1080. DivX Web Player 1.2.0 plays DivX movies in popular Web browsers such as Apple's Safari or Mozilla Firefox, and allows users to easily put videos on a Web page. DivX Converter 1.1.2 enables users to drag-and-drop videos into DivX video in one step, encoding up to 80 percent faster on Intel and dual-processor PowerPC Macs. DivX Pro for Mac ($20) includes the DivX Pro Codec, DivX Converter, DivX Player, and DivX Web Player. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
Philips WiFi VoIP phones
Philips is developing new VoIP phones with WiFi access, according to a filing prepared by the FCC. The VP 6000 and 6500 will presumably allow VoIP calls from any wireless hotspot, though Philips has not indicated what software it will support, whether it be AIM, Skype, MSN, or some custom application. The cellphone-like design incorporates a number pad and a direction pad, along with a 2.2-inch screen that supports resolutions up to 176x220. Notable for any phone is the camera, which pivots 240 degrees vertically to be used for video calls or to record others. It's unclear when the 6000 and 6500 might ship.
Evesham Quest A430 Laptop
British system builder Evesham has added to its portable range with the 17-inch Quest A430. Aiming to please both entry-level and serious notebook owners who need a desktop replacement, the A430 can be configured modestly for cost or aggressively for performance. The base system begins with a 1.6GHz Turion 64 X2, integrated GeForce 6100 graphics, and a 1440x900 display at a price of £749 ($1,469) after tax. Enthusiasts, however, can scale as far as the A430 Plus, according to the company: the £979 ($1,921) system upgrades to a 1.8GHz processor, a much improved 256MB GeForce Go 7600 for video, and a sharper 1680x1050 screen alongside expected increases in memory (increasing to 1GB) and hard drive space (120GB). Either model can be customized and ships today. [Via Tech Digest]
Broadband DeNoise released
Sonic Studio today released Broadband DeNoise, the first member of the NoNOISE II native suite of restoration tools for Mac OS X. Broadband DeNoise was the first member of the NoNOISE family of restoration tools to see use in a commercial motion picture release in 1984, according to the company, and is now the second member of the suite to run natively on Mac OS. Sonic Studio claims that Broadband DeNoise native is the highest fidelity native application for wideband noise removal in post production, employing its 'noise fingerprint' technology to aggressively suppress noise in an imperfect recording without altering the room tone or contaminating the result with artifacts (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Nimzy Vibro MAX audio
The Nimzy Vibro MAX lets you produce sound from nearly any hard surface, including wood, glass, or plastic. Precision vibrators essentially transform a surface into a very large 20W speaker, eliminating the need for satellites or subwoofers. The MAX itself is a tiny two inches in height, and 2.4 inches in length and width, while still incorporating a digital amplifier and a receiver for the bundled remote control. Users can adjust bass, treble and volume levels separately. Widget is selling the Vibro MAX for £80 ($157).
Desktop Transporter 2.0.1 ($30) is a maintenance update for the remote desktop software that adds a status tab listing the local Mac's IP addresses, as well as the port that Desktop Transporter is currently listening on. Version 2.0.1 also allows the controlling Mac to change the color depth used for the connection, and supports restricting incoming SSH connections to localhost for added security.
[Download - 1.9MB]
Knitting Wizard 1.0 ($20) enables users to create custom knitting grids and diagrams, offering complete control over diagram characteristics. Users can select the number of stitches and rows per inch, as well as the total number of stitches and rows. Diagrams are saved as PDF files, and Knitting Wizard can print out row and stitch numbers. [Download - 3MB]
iGet 2.5.3 ($50) is a file transfer tool for Mac OS X that moves files between Macs without resorting to archaic or only partially compatible protocols. The update adds tutorials for users who want to set up a Mac for remote access with iGet, allowing another system to take advantage of the software a Mac system at home. The tutorial covers dynamic DNS and port forwarding to make the Mac's address static and allow internet connections from the outside world. [Download - 7.7MB]
NewsLife beta ($20) enables users to take control of time spent surfing the Web to follow up on world events, favorite blogs, sports scores, and other news-related activities. The RSS-based news reader is designed from the ground up for ease of use, supports organizing websites as well as blogs as well as news feeds. [Download - 697KB]
pzizz 2.1 Energizer Module, Sleep Module ($30 each, $50 for bundle) is power napping software that is proven to reduce stress levels, improve decision-making skills, and enhance overall performance, according to Brainwave Enterprises. Changes in the software are unlisted, but the first user to correctly list all six changes on the pzizz blog will win a new 4GB green iPod nano.
IcoNVader 3 (free) is a screensaver that unleashes an invasion of icons which bounce around, flip over and finally explode in a 'soap bubble' effect. The screensaver was initially released for Christmas and features an appropriate holiday theme. IcoNVader 3 is available in English and French, requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 604KB]
Hannibal Wicked HTPC
Hoping to create an alternative to the predominantly Windows-based home theater PC market without distancing itself from the mainstream, TVease is now carrying the Hannibal Wicked Edition in its range. This and the company's lower-end models ship with a fully configured installation of Ubuntu Linux with the open-source MythTV client installed, providing immediate access to the computer's DVR functions without added setup time. The system ships prepared for heavy-duty recording, TVease says, with a dual Hauppauge TV tuner. A BitTorrent client is preloaded along with access to live Internet services such as TV and weather.
The Wicked Edition of the Hannibal system is the company's flagship model, and adds a full 1TB of hard drive storage plus 802.11g WiFi to the system's 2.66GHz Celeron, 256MB of RAM, and GeForce 6200 video card. A 9-in-1 card reader, FireWire, USB, and an internal PCI slot give room for expansion. TVease ships the system for $1,099.
Japanese outfit Sunconnection has introduced the SC-VP128SD, a new media player that resembles a gaming handheld like the Gameboy Micro. Instead of playing games, however, the 128 plays MP3 and WMA audio files, and can play videos converted into the ASF format, primarily MP4 files. A camera records still shots and video, while a microphone allows for voice memos. Storage comes in the form of external SD cards or 128MB of flash. Pricing is approximately $83 US.
Tables 1.1 released
Daniel Schwill today released Tables 1.1, an update to the new spreadsheet for Mac OS X. The update offers the ability to export documents into MS Excel's xls format, format a cell as 'text only', fill multiple cells with the same content or populate them by using the new series functionality, and move columns and rows around with their content. In addition, users can now access functions quickly through context menus for cells, column header, row header and graphics. The software features 118 functions and offers extensive options to format data as well as allows users to create attractive invoices, lists or reports and add some photos and PDF documents to documents. Tables 1.1 requires Mac OS X 'Panther' version 10.3.9. It is available as a 30-day trial or for €40 (approximately $50).
Apple misses SEC deadline
Apple yesterday missed its deadline for filing its annual report, amidst its ongoing investigation into stock option scandal. The company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was unable to file its Form 10-K by the required filing date of December 14. Marketwatch reports that independent auditors are reviewing the findings of an independent investigation and recent accounting guidance published by the SEC and that Apple said that it will need to restate its historical financial statements to record non-cash charges for compensation expense relating to past stock option grants. The report says Apple is in the process of finalizing its conclusions regarding the amount of such charges, the resulting tax and accounting impact, and which periods require restatement.
EchoFX ships VideoGlide
EchoFX today announced VideoGlide For Mac OS X v1.0.0, bringing software support for USB 2.0 video digitizing devices including the Pinnacle Dazzle DVC-90 and DVC-100, KWorld DVD Maker USB 2.0, LinXcel Video Grabber, VideoHome GrabBeeX, and others. VideoGlide supports the Empia 28xx USB 2.0 chipset, which it says has been used in a wide-variety of devices, marketed by many different organizations, using many different brand names -and until recently, all sold exclusively to the Windows PC market. In order to build up a comprehensive list of compatible devices, EchoFX is offering the VideoGlide software free to any customer that can identify a supported product about which we were unaware. VideoGlide For Mac OS X is a Universal Binary and will run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. It is available for $30 and also supports s-video capturing on some TV tuner devices including MSI VOX USB 2.0 Analog TV, the Gadmei UTV310, the Hauppauge WinTV-USB2, the Leadtek WinFast USB2 and the ZEB - TV2005E.
V7 GPS comes to the US
European maker V7 has shipped its first North American GPS unit, the MyGuide 1000. Essentially an export of the PMD 1400, the MyGuide has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 64MB of RAM and 32MB of flash memory, and downloads its maps through SD or MMC cards. The bundled SD card comes has maps for all 50 US states, as well as Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the whole of Europe. The battery is a rechargeable lithium-ion unit. Newegg is selling the MyGuide for $250, though coincidentally, not to Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico.
Thanko Snowglobe Mouse
Thanko on Friday released its USB Optical Liquid Mouse in time for the holiday season. The base of the mouse contains a snowglobe and an LED that gradually cycles through seven colors while in use. The front of the mouse is just as festive, according to Thanko. A white LED illuminates the mouse wheel, while clicking the mouse buttons on its grinning face triggers an audible laugh. Thanko's latest peripheral plugs in via USB to Macs and Windows PCs, has an 800DPI optical sensor, and sells for $8 from Japan.
Alltel Carries Treo 700wx
Alltel today says it has added the Treo 700wx to its lineup. The provider is the second to carry the upgrade to the existing 700w Windows Mobile phone, and primarily extends the active talk time from 4.5 to 5 hours in addition to software refinements. In Alltel trim, the phone supports the network's EVDO broadband and keeps all its existing Bluetooth functionality, including the option of serving as a Bluetooth dial-up modem for remote locations. The phone is available now at a retail price of $670, but drops to as little as $350 after rebates when joined to two years of data and phone service.
Miniaturized Leica M3
MINOX has produced two miniaturized digital replicas of the Leica M3, an iconic rangefinder camera first built in 1954. Though they've both been turned into autofocus compacts, they retain the metal framing of their predecessor. The newest version has a 3.2-megapixel CMOS sensor which interpolates images to an equivalent of five megapixels, and stores its photos on 32MB of internal memory, or SD cards up to 4GB. Video clips are recorded at VGA resolution. Further unlike the original, the new M3 has only digital zoom, and lacks manual shutter and aperture control. Pricing and availability is unknown, though the earlier variant is being sold for €229 ($302).
Universal Akoustik Piano
Native Instruments today released Akoustik Piano 1.1.1, an update to its piano software-instrument that runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. Akoustik Piano enables users to play samples from the Steinway D, Bechstein D 280, and Boesendorfer 290 Imperial grand pianos, as well as the SteinGraeber 130 vintage upright piano. The software is designed to cover the entire range of piano sounds and styles, transfusing the sonic characteristics and subtle tonal nuances of all four instruments. Native Instruments note that it used the latest recording technology with a specially developed microphone setup to record samples from all four pianos. "The result is a uniquely warm, transparent and flexible sound that delivers the same distinctive character of each individual piano in exacting detail and can still be adjusted to meet specific needs." Akoustik Piano 1.1.1 is priced at $340, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Fragpedal Deluxe Controls
Online shop ThinkGeek today began stocking the Fragpedal Deluxe, a pair of USB-attached controllers that are built as companions for gamers or any computer user who needs extra controls without removing their hands from the mouse and keyboard. Each panel carries two toughened rubber buttons that can be programmed in multiple ways depending on the user's preferences: in addition to a straightforward button press, the buttons can be set to only issue a command when released, to send alternating commands, or even to respond to multiple short taps as would a mouse. A shift button can also change three of the buttons to handle alternate functions.
Though the Fragpedal includes a utility to fine-tune controls, ThinkGeek is quick to add that the controller is designed to work without drivers and will work in Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. It ships as of today for $70.
Pomfort Silver Stack beta
Pomfort today released a pre-Christmas version of Pomfort SilverStack for Mac OS X, its new software for film and video production workflows. The application is designed to handle image sequences while allowing users to view, manage, and export image files with support for DPX and Cineon formats. Pomfort SilverStack supports sequence-based and timecode-oriented browsing, as well as most field-related file types (such as TIF in nearly any resolution). Users can change SMPTE time codes and frame rates in the headers of entire DPX image sequences, and the software allows extraction of color channels as well as inspection of color with a selective RGB histogram. Pomfort SilverStack is available for free as a public beta, with two separate configurations slated due to ship in January for €150 and €400.
HTC Athena Smartphone
Cellphone producer HTC's upcoming Athena phone will be designed for serious text messaging, according to details and photos leaked by BengalBoy. The large handset will have a comparatively large QWERTY keyboard that can be fully detached from the phone to save space. A 3.5-inch touchscreen allows dialing and other common tasks. Performance is stressed in the system as well, according to the site: a 400MHz Samsung CPU, 64MB of RAM, and an unusually large 256MB of ROM to store built-in software should ensure quick response times.
As is common with HTC's latest smartphones, the Athena will have a wide range of connnection options and will speak to Bluetooth as well as WiFi devices. A SD card slot is provided for added storage. No firm launch details have been given for the Athena, though a release is most likely early in 2007. A complete image is available after the jump.
Dell 22-inch budget LCD
Dell today made a preliminary launch of its new E228WFP 22-inch budget display. Listed early on the Dell Australia and Japan websites, the new screen is the first of its size from the company and is aimed directly at cost-conscious users. Input focuses solely on DVI with HDCP encryption support as well as a VGA port, with no USB hubs or TV connections as found on numerous other Dell models. The E228 delivers performance suitable for gaming, according to the company, and is capable of a 5ms gray-to-gray response time with an 800-to-1 contrast ratio -- comparable to the latest 22-inch LCD displays. The display is already shipping in Australia for $550, although Dell has yet to announce a North American release date, according to Electronista.
Gadgeter USB Mouse Hub
Online retailer Gadgeter has just begun selling the USB Mouse Hub. At heart a standard 800DPI optical mouse with a scroll wheel, its USB cable both retracts into a holder and has a two-port USB hub to connect lower-powered devices without consuming ports on the system. The hub also incorporates a mic input to place a microphone in a more comfortable position and is ideal for Skype callers with laptops, Gadgeter claims. The pointer is small enough for travel and is compatible with both Macs and Windows PCs. It ships today for £13 ($25) after tax.
LG KE850 Touchscreen Phone
Electronics maker LG is working on a potentially breakthrough phone design, according to the Hungarian site MobilPort. The KE850 (pictured) borrows the minimal front buttons of the company's Shine slider but uses a larger, 240x400 touchscreen to do away with the number pad entirely. Dialing, messaging, and other functions are handled directly from the screen itself, as with some larger PDAs. While few other details are available, the phone's interface provides a Mac-like control scheme and is designed to let the user switch quickly between core functions such as phone, media, and document functions. An official announcement is likely in the near future and will reveal whether or not the KE850 will be available outside of Korea.
Extra photos of the interface are available after the jump.
Gizmodo Says iPhone Monday
Apple's heavily rumored iPhone could be released as soon as Monday, according to a bold claim by Gizmodo's Brian Lam. "It isn't what I expected at all," he says. "And I've already said too much."
While an established author of the technology news website, Lam does not elaborate on the hardware or his sources. If true, the launch would be highly uncharacteristic of Apple, which seldom launches new devices on Mondays and generally refrains from introductions in December due to a combination of supply constraints and the proximity of the MacWorld San Francisco expo in early January.
Dell 22-inch LCD
Dell today made a preliminary launch of its new E228WFP display. Listed early on the Dell Australia and Japan websites, the 22-inch screen is the first of its size from the company and is aimed directly at cost-conscious users: input focuses solely on DVI with HDCP encryption support as well as a VGA port, with no USB hubs or TV connections as found on some of Dell's other models. The E228 delivers performance suitable to gaming, Dell says: as with the latest 22-inch panels, Dell's iteration is capable of a 5ms gray-to-gray response time and an 800:1 contrast ratio. The display sells in Australia today for the equivalent of $547 US but has not yet been announced for North America.
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