The annual Macworld Expo kicks off this week with Apple CEO Steve Jobs delivering his annual keynote on Tuesday. Show organizers say there was a 28 percent increase in pre-show registrations over last year's show and have added a new ďDigital Lifestyle ExperienceĒ, expanding the show into the North Hall of the San Francisco Moscone center. Hundreds of new products are expected to debut, and the exhibit hall will feature almost 400 companies serving the Mac community. The Expo also includes five days of educational content for Mac users of varying levels and backgrounds. On-site registration for exhibit hall access is $45.
Electronics giant Samsung tonight kicked off its CES unveilings by formally announcing its YP-K3 media jukebox. Previously revealed in the CES honorees list, the K3 is a direct challenger to Apple's iPod nano in size and features: measuring only 0.27 inches thick, the flash-based player still finds room for a 1.8-inch color OLED screen an FM tuner, Samsung says. Format support extends to MP3 and WMA songs (including PlaysForSure subscriptions) as well as JPEG photos. As with the earlier YP-K5, all navigation is handled through LED-lit touch controls. Samsung hopes to ship 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB editions of the K3 in March for an as-yet undetermined price. Following the announcement of the K3 is news that Samsung will finally bring its YP-T9B player to US shores. While the company has already released the player in its basic YP-T9 form, the company revealed today that it will now sell the Bluetooth version of the player -- previously limited to Asia -- in North America. The transmitter lets the player relay sound to wireless headphones and speakers without needing a separate adapter. Launch and pricing details for the T9B have not been made public. Click through for larger photos of the K3 and T9B.
Samsung this evening officially revealed the second generations of its signature movie player and handheld PC. The BD-P1200 maintains the full 1080p resolution support and ability to upscale DVDs to 1080p of its P1000 ancestor but now adds HDMI 1.3 support for deeper colors and a quick 120Hz response time when linked to the newest HDTV sets. The price has dropped in spite of the added features, Samsung boasts: the P1200 will sell for $800 when it ships in March, a full $200 lower than its predecessor. The company has also refreshed its Q1 ultra-mobile PC. The new version, dubbed the Q1P SSD, adds a 32GB solid state flash drive in place of the mobile hard drives that predominate in UMPCs. The storage offers a major improvement in responsiveness, according to the Korean electronics maker: the Q1P SSD can read information nearly 300 times faster than challengers and can write it to the drive 150 percent faster as well, potentially cutting boot times in half. Samsung has not revealed pricing or ship dates, though the SSD model should command a premium over counterparts with hard disks.
Continuing its series of CES announcements, Samsung tonight revealed a large collection of new LCD TVs, all targeted at improving the oft-maligned color accuracy of flat-panel displays. At the head of the announcements is the company's 81 series. The company says the new LCDs, ranging between the 40-inch LN-T4081F and the 57-inch LN-T5781F, all mark the first LED-backlit TVs with local dimming. The new lighting technique dramatically improves the color gamut to 105% of the NTSC range, promising images that perfectly match the source material. Local dimming on the lights also boosts the contrast ratio to an exceptional 50,000:1 by selectively reducing light for pixels that display darker colors in a given scene. All the sets should be 1080p-capable and will include three HDMI ports when they go on sale in July for an unrevealed price. News of the company's HDMI 1.3-equipped LCD sets follows after the jump.
Continuing their announcements, Samsung is rolling out several new plasma and DLP sets for 2007. The plasma sets will come in 50 (HP-T5084) and 58-inch (HP-T5884, HP-T5894W) sizes and employ the company's FilterBright2 Plus technology, which absorbs external light without impeding the internal source. Samsung also claims 1080p support for all models, as well as a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, built-in ATSC/NTSC tuners, and three HDMI 1.3 inputs. USB 2.0 inputs can be used to display photos. The T5894W will expand on these features with RS-232, a 9-in-2 card reader and 802.11n wireless, enabling certain media sources to connect without cables. The T5084 will cost $4,199 and ship in May; the T5884 and T5894W will ship in September and cost $5,199 and $5,699 respectively.
Kodak this morning inaugurated its CES presence with two new EasyShare V-series cameras that it says bring added to the mid-range. Both the 8-megapixel V803 and 10-megapixel V1003 come in several colors ranging from conservative silver to gold or red. Each also features 32MB of internal memory alongside their SD card slots; the extra storage is useful for the Favorites feature that saves lower-resolution copies of photos for later viewing on the camera itself, according to the company. A 3X optical zoom lens, an anti-blur mode, and ISO 1600 sensitivity are standard across the two cameras as well. The V803 will be ready to ship in February for $200; its sharper V1003 counterpart follows in March for $250. As part of the launch, Kodak also unveiled its new Digital Picture Frame line. Every model arrives with abilities rarely seen in frames, Kodak says: owners can manage stored photos direcly from the frame itself, and customize the look of each frame with faceplates that match the look of the room. MP3 music and AVI, MPEG-1/4, or Quicktime video can also be played with sound courtesy of stereo speakers. Media is stored permanently on 128MB of internal flash memory or accessed from a multi-format card reader, USB port, or Wi-Fi on higher-end models. Kodak promises 8-inch and 10-inch models equipped with Wi-Fi in early March for $230 and $280 respectively, while 7-inch and 8-inch versions without the technology will ship at the same time for $130 and $180.
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Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,¬†Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk¬†Drive,¬†GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl