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News Archive for 07/01/22

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Apps: MagicFrames; LightsOut; MiNews

01/22, 6:50pm

MagicFrames 3000, MiNews

    MagicFrames 3000 ($100) is a plug-in for programs such as Photoshop, Elements and PhotoPaint that contains more than 3,000 frames and 1,200 edges. An editable layering mechanism allows users to create new edges as well as patterns via actions, and the 3000 release includes a texture generator alongside RGB16b support and side-by-side comparison frames. [Download - 565.5MB]
    LightsOut 2.3 ($9) enables Mac systems to sleep under conditions that would normally keep a Mac awake. The latest release, version 2.3, enables the application to run natively as a Universal Binary, and lets users toggle the Safe Sleep function on and off. Users can also toggle the Wake When Lid is Opened setting on laptops. LightsOut 2.3 requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later. [Download - 4.1MB]
    MiNews 1.4 (free) is an RSS news aggregator with a built-in browser pane, offering integration with Apple's Address Book to quickly share stories with colleagues. Users can bookmark stories individually for later viewing, according to the company, and the latest release fixes some minor bugs while offering adding a new option to refresh feeds automatically on startup. [Download - 2.6MB]
    FinanceToGo 1.1 ($45) is a personal finance program that combines several tools into one package. The latest revision adds autosaving, improved Quicken import capability, and several bug fixes which include the ability to delete categories without a faulty error message. FinanceToGo is a Universal Binary that runs natively on Intel-based Macs, requiring Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. [Download - 3.6MB]
    Debtinator 2.0 ($15) claims to restructure personal budgets to pay off debts as quickly as possible. The second edition introduces an easier interface while offering new reporting options designed to present more repayment schedules. Debtinator 2.0 also aims to make reporting options "more intelligent," enabling users to find deeper sources of funds. [Download - 932KB]
    HoudahSpot 1.4 ($20) attempts to improve on Apple's Spotlight technology by creating and saving more specific file searches. Changes to version 1.4 include a customizable toolbar, cosmetic user interface improvements, and the elimination of a startup crash bug. The application is a Universal Binary, requiring Mac OS X 10.4.8. [Download - 2.81MB]

European groups join Norway vs. iTunes

01/22, 6:35pm

France, Germany vs. iTunes

A Norwegian official today revealed that French and German consumer groups have joined several Scandinavian countries in their efforts to pressure Apple to open its iTunes Music Store, thereby enabling customers to purchase, download, and play tracks from iTunes on their non-Apple portable players. In June of 2006 consumer agencies in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden charged that Apple was violating contract and copyright laws in those countries, and provided Apple with a deadline to respond to those claims. Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman Bjoern Erik Thon said French consumer lobby UFC-Que Choisir and its German counterpart, Verbraucher, joined the movement late last year, according to the Associated Press, and that other European countries are considering joining effort. "This is important because Germany and France are European giants," said Thon. "Germany, in particular, is a big market for digital music."

New York pension fund heads Apple lawsuit

01/22, 5:50pm

Apple lawsuit leader

The New York City Employees' Retirement System today said it was chosen as the lead plaintiff in a shareholder lawsuit against Apple as a result of the company's stock options practices. The pension was appointed by judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to head up the lawsuit, claiming that Apple violated securities laws via its options awards to top executives. The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of other Apple investors, according to Reuters. The New York City Retirement System holds roughly one million shares of Apple stock valued at approximately $87 million based on current stock values. Large investors often seek the status of lead plaintiff to hold more control over litigation, according to the report.

EMC refutes claims of abandoning Retrospect

01/22, 5:25pm

EMC won't axe Retrospect

EMC Software has refuted claims made in a report published earlier today by The Register stating that the company plans to dissolve its Retrospect software after it releases an update some time during this quarter. "As many of you have read in the Register, EMC Insignia underwent some changes recently. Rather then focus on non-Retrospect products, EMC Insignia is now focusing all of it's energy on Retrospect," wrote EMC spokesperson Robin Mayoff in the company's online forum for Retrospect customers. "Some of the best and most dedicated Retrospect team members are continuing to support, sell and develop Retrospect. You will continue to see me and others in the forums, and you will hear the same friendly voices on the phone you are used to hearing when you call us." Mayoff also posted an email message written by the vice president and general manager of small and medium business products, Larry Zulch.

Samsung preps camera with HSDPA broadband

01/22, 5:05pm

Samsung VLUU i70 Camera

Samsung today released the VLUU i70, one of the first cameras to support a broadband Internet connection regardless of its location. An HSDPA transmitter is built into the chassis for uploading photos directly to a remote computer or website, skipping the process of connecting to a local PC or relying only on a lower-quality cellphone camera. The required hardware does not tread on the i70's usefulness as a full camera, Samsung claims. A 3X optical zoom lens is paired with a 7.2 megapixel sensor that can reach ISO 1600 sensitivity and resists blurring with anti-shake correction.

Media playback is just as important to the Korean-made camera. MP3 songs are playable directly from removable storage; the i70 will play not only its own self-recorded MPEG-4 videos on its 3-inch LCD but also those transferred from a PC. It can also receive SMS text messages, the company says. A launch is planned soon for an unknown price. A gallery follows after the jump.

Music labels ponder removing copy protection

01/22, 4:40pm

Music labels may axe DRM

Major music labels are considering removing the copy protection that currently applies to most online music stores' content, according to a report by the International Herald Tribune. Spokespeople for music organization leaders at the Midem expo in France, while officially dedicated to DRM, said that they were investigating the possibility of releasing vast portions of their music offerings in unprotected MP3 format, pointing to slower growth of online music stores in relation to the drop in physical album sales. Organization leaders said the increased interoperability may actually serve as a benefit rather than a piracy risk. "We could release our products without digital-rights management restrictions on [download stores] in the way that consumers want and still make a lot of money," Consumer Electronics Association head Gary Shapiro told reporters.

Alesis USB-Mic Podcasting Kit

01/22, 4:35pm

Alesis Podcasting Kit

A trend that emerged at the recent NAMM music tradeshow was the concept of the "podcasting kit," exemplified by the Alesis USB-Mic. At the heart of the kit is of course a USB microphone, which promises 16-bit, 44.1-48KHz quality on both Macs and PCs. This is supplemented by a pair of headphones for monitoring purposes, and a copy of Audacity, the free multiplatform sound-editing tool. Alesis is also offering a 30-day subscription to its hosting site, the Podcasting Center. Users can have RSS files embedded automatically, and episode notification can be sent to iTunes, Podcast Alley, search engines and more. Alesis has not divulged any information on pricing or ship dates.

Sony-Ericsson W880i surfaces at FCC; US-bound?

01/22, 4:20pm

Sony-Ericsson W880i at FCC

Sony-Ericsson's upcoming "Ai" phone has been approved by the FCC, according to a recent filing. Officially announced as the W880, the Walkman-branded phone was previously thought to have been limited primarily to Europe given the inclusion of HSDPA mobile broadband and a front-mounted camera for video messages. Passing the US agency's regulatory tests now paves the way for a release in the US likely to be dubbed the W880a due to its use in the Americas.

No specifics were provided about the phone's exact launch schedule for North America beyond the originally announced mid-2007. However, the approval likely cements a concurrent launch alongside other countries and points to Cingular as a probable carrier, as it has already deployed an HSDPA network in the US.

Franklin readies international translator with voice

01/22, 3:55pm

Franklin Global Translator

Franklin on Monday revealed its new Speaking Global Translator to the public. The slider-style handheld is aimed at tourists and other travelers who need quick turnarounds for asking questions, and contains both a 450,000-word text dictionary as well as 115,000 words pre-recorded in all of the translator's twelve languages. Support is provided for most major European languages as well as Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, and Russian; southeast Asian writing is displayed in phonetic English as well as its native characters to aid both travellers and the local population.

More than just direct translation is possible, Franklin says: MP3 songs can be loaded through SD cards and played while translating phrases, while a mix of games and international tools such as a currency converter are already installed. Franklin's latest translator is due to reach stores by the end of the month for $230. [via Crave]

JVC launches noise-canceling, in-canal earbuds

01/22, 3:25pm

JVC NCX77 Earbuds

JVC today previewed its upcoming NCX77 earbuds for portable media players. The company's earpiece set eliminates the outside noise that frequently interferes with sound through a combination of active and passive noise reduction. In addition to using in-canal earpieces, which physically block outside sound, the NCX77's remote detects and actively removes as much as 20 percent of ambient sound before it ever reaches the wearer, according to JVC. The remote incorporates its own, separate remote control for adjusting volume beyond the attached source and can be selectively disabled to save power or provide an extra level of awareness of traffic and other potential threats during a walk. A single AAA battery should last for roughly 70 hours. The earphone and remote combination should be available in early February for open pricing in Japan. A North American release is possible but has not been mentioned.

Hasbro ToothTunes encourages brushing via music

01/22, 3:00pm

Hasbro ToothTunes

Toymaker Hasbro recently unveiled its new ToothTunes toothbrush. Created to persuade otherwise reluctant children to clean their teeth, the brush automatically triggers music that plays for the two minutes of brushing recommended by dentists. The system works without speakers or headphones by using bone conduction as the child presses the bristles against their teeth, Hasbro says. A single song is pre-supplied for each ToothTunes brush and includes trackss by the Black Eyed Peas, Jamiroquai, and other artists. Power is supplied by three bundled AAA batteries. Hasbro plans to release 14 brushes with their own respective songs in February at a price of $10 each. [via Gearlog]

Music labels consider dropping DRM

01/22, 2:30pm

Labels Rethink Music DRM

Major music labels are considering removing the copy protection that currently applies to most online music stores' content, according to a report by the International Herald Tribune. Though officially dedicated to DRM, spokespeople for music organization leaders at the Midem expo in France said that they were investigating the possibility of releasing large quantities of their catalogs in unprotected MP3 format, pointing to slower growth of online music stores in relation to the drop in physical album sales. the increased interoperability may actually be a benefit rather than a piracy risk, they said.

"We could release our products without digital-rights management restrictions on [download stores] in the way that consumers want and still make a lot of money," Consumer Electronics Association head Gary Shapiro told reporters.

Read through for more details.

Ruckus opens free online music store for students

01/22, 1:45pm

Ruckus Free Music Store

Ruckus today opened its free music service for college students. Hoping to offer a legal alternative to file sharing, the company says it will offer over 2 million songs from major and minor labels alike by supporting its downloads with ads on its pages instead of charging per track. The number of downloads and computers allowed is effectively unlimited, according to the firm. The system prevents copying by applying DRM, requiring that a subscriber's computer or portable media player have permission to play the Windows Media-encoded songs available through the site.

In addition to its music library, Ruckus today also launched a Video on Demand movie download service, which the company says lets students rent and watch major studio movies. The video store is available today for a currently unspecified subscription fee. [via CrunchGear]

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! for Mac

01/22, 1:30pm

RC Tycoon 3: Soaked!

Aspyr Media today announced that it will publish RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! for Mac, pointing to an anticipated release in March of this year. The new title, licensed from Atari Interactive, is the first expansion pack for RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. "It's wet, wild and totally soaked! Now, run your own water park ­ and ride all the rides ­ with this expansion to RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. Celebrate summer as hundreds of peeps (that's RollerCoaster Tycoon talk for 'guests') catch rays and waves with an amazing lineup of super-splash flume rides, massive water slides, aquatic shows, beaches and more. Blast peeps with water cannons, build them outrageous coasters, and wow 'em with laser light shows! Get drenched with this splashy summertime addition to one of the biggest games of the year." Aspyr says RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! will be available for pre-order in the near future (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).

Apple prosecutors quit government jobs

01/22, 1:25pm

Apple prosecutors quit

A new report has revealed that two of the federal prosecutors investigating stock options backdating at Apple have left their government jobs for work in the private sector. MSNBC reports that Chris Steskal, who was a member of the federal task force that originally brought charges in the Apple options backdating scandal in August of 2006, announced his departure just days after his supervisor Kevin Ryan -- who was the U.S. attorney for northern California -- announced his own resignation. The losses may delay the U.S. government's efforts to track numerous backdating scandals, in which companies such as Apple are said to have changed the dates on executive options in order to show a lower buy-in price, inflating their later value. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in northern California noted that investigations into options backdating will continue, despite the two departures. [updated]

iPhone to appear in Europe for October?

01/22, 1:10pm

Euro iPhone in October

Apple has narrowed down the iPhone's release in Europe to October, according to an internal e-mail leaked to T3. A member of the Cupertino company's online sales team in Cork, Ireland has reportedly confirmed that the cellular device is planned for an October launch on the continent. If validated, the leak will represent more definitive launch plans than those Apple promised in this month's MacWorld San Francisco keynote speech, where CEO Steve Jobs committed only to a fourth-quarter European release date. Official carriers and pricing were not revealed in the e-mail but are likely to involve continent-wide providers running GSM networks, such as Orange or Vodafone.

Samsung developing record-setting slider phone

01/22, 12:50pm

Samsung Ultra 10.9 Slider

Samsung's cellphone division was today revealed to be working on a potentially record-setting handset. Titled the Ultra Edition 10.9, the phone should stand as the thinnest slider design available, measuring only 0.43 inches thick despite its two-layer body. Similar to the Ultra Edition 5.9 announced today, the 10.9 will still have features normally found only in much bulkier models. A 3.2-megapixel camera, 80MB of internal storage (with microSD expansion), and Bluetooth will be part of the core design; music and video playback are also staples of Samsung's new communicator.

An official release date has not been provided, but the phone should make its first public appearance at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona next month with a launch to follow soon after. Availability beyond Europe has not been determined. Click through for larger photography. [via Unwired View]

Quantum sues Apple over iPod clickwheel

01/22, 12:35pm

Quantum sues Apple

Quantum Research Group has filed a lawsuit against Apple over the capacitive touch-sensing technology used in the Cupertino-based company's iPod clickwheels. "We are suing Apple over charge-transfer technology in iPods," said Quantum CEO Hal Philipp. "Some are based on Cypress' PSoC chip and used in a way we believe infringes our patent." The suit was filed in December of 2005, but was kept under wraps by both parties during the ongoing negotiations. Apple has filed a response in the case "denying all material allegations and asserting numerous affirmative defences," according to a report from electronicsweekly.com, and filed "counterclaims for non-infringement and invalidity." Quantum's CEO noted that "There are settlement discussions going on but I believe it will go to trial later this year," adding that "I am hoping iPhone does not contain Quantum-patented charge-transfer technology." The executive clarified that some iPods use a capacitive touch sensor from Synaptics which he says doesn't infringe upon Quantum's patents.

Bang & Olufsen BeoVox 1 loudspeaker

01/22, 12:30pm

BeoVox 1 loudspeaker

Bang & Olufsen's new BeoVox 1 (seen here naked) is a passive loudspeaker suitable for use in wet areas, such as bathrooms, rooftops and patios. Because it's just 3.3 inches thick, it mounts flush within walls and ceilings, and is also protected by an oval grill that comes in white or black to match the surrounding decor. The grill is further said to be so carefully manufactured that none of the hundreds of holes will be congested with paint. Each speaker has a one-inch treble unit, and a 6.5-inch bass/mid-range unit, which together combine to span frequencies between 50Hz and 20KHz. Treble can be switched to one of three different performance settings. No prices or release dates have been announced for the product.

MS to unveil flash-based Zune before 2008

01/22, 12:05pm

Flash-based Zune in works

Microsoft's Chris Stephenson this weekend at the Midem music expo in Cannes revealed that the company will introduce its first flash-based Zune music player, directly challenging Apple's top-selling iPod nano. While no details of the player are available, the new Zune should ship in time for the holidays this year, according to Stephenson. The as-yet unnamed jukebox will likely closely resemble the Gigabeat P player, offering increased storage as well as a double-shot designer casing and the Zune's signature Wi-Fi sharing feature. Stephenson said Microsoft is also planning to expand its wireless functionality, expressing a desire to add Wi-Fi browsing and downloading through the Zune Marketplace that would allow owners to add new music to the Zune without first linking to a PC. The player will ideally include "filling stations" at existing Wi-Fi hotspots such as Starbucks, but the executive noted that Microsoft can't commit to a launch window for the feature.

JobOrder enhances accounting, payroll

01/22, 11:50am

JobOrder Winter 2007

Management Software today released JobOrder Winter 2007, offering easy-to-use interfaces for complete control of job scheduling and costing, according to the company. The latest revision also enhances control over accounting, payroll, vendor management, asset management, and prioritization. JobOrder is designed to eliminate the costs and time associated with managing multiple systems to perform diverse business functions, and the update improves the software's resource utilization as well as job scheduling. Enhancements to account management and reporting aim to improve productivity as well as workflow. Single-user licenses of JobOrder are priced at $2,500, and pricing for the JobOrder Accounting Module starts at $1,300. The JobOrder Digital Asset Management module is available for free with a single-user license, and the software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

Microsoft plans flash-based Zune, enhanced Wi-Fi

01/22, 11:30am

Flash-based Zune

Speaking at the Midem music expo in Cannes, Microsoft's Chris Stephenson this weekend revealed that the company will introduce its first flash-based Zune music player, directly challenging Apple's top-selling iPod nano. While no details of the player are available, the player should ship in time for the holidays this year, Stephenson said. The as-yet unnamed jukebox is likely to be closely related to the currently Japan-only Gigabeat P but should add increase storage, the double-shot designer casing, and the Zune's signature Wi-Fi sharing feature.

That wireless functionality should also be expanded, Stephenson said. Without committing to any definite strategy, the Microsoft executive expressed a desire to add Wi-Fi browsing and downloading through the Zune Marketplace, allowing owners to add new music to the Zune without first linking to a PC. The player will ideally have "filling stations" at existing Wi-Fi hotspots such as Starbucks, Stephenson adds. Microsoft can't commit to a launch window for the feature, he said, but hopes to bring it to market as soon as possible.

Playstation 3 drive adds 11+ times the storage

01/22, 11:30am

698GB Playstation 3 drive

Though the stock Playstation 3s may have more than enough hard drive space for the average gamer, a Japanese company is selling an expansion that multiplies capacity by at least 11 times. An external drive by Century can hold two 750GB units in a RAID configuration, even though a PS3 will only register 698GB. This is still more than 11 times the storage of the top-end 60GB PS3 however, and almost 35 times the storage of the 20GB console. This may prove very useful to some PS3 owners, since the system is capable of storing music, photos and videos downloaded from the Playstation Store, or copied to the console via means like a CompactFlash card. A special SATA cable ($17) is needed to connect the Century product to a PS3; no price for the drive itself has been listed online. [Via Newlaunches]

BenQ intros 6-megapixel camera duo

01/22, 10:50am

BenQ E610 and C610 Cameras

BenQ today improved its DC camera line with a pair of new starter models. The 6.1-megapixel E610 (pictured) is intended for beginners serious about photography and uses a higher-quality Pentax lens with 3X optical zoom for better image quality than most cameras in its range; it also has uncommon support for 640x480 video at a full 30 frames per second and has anti-shake correction. A lithium-ion battery and a 2.4-inch LCD are equally rare additions for the price, BenQ says.

Announced simultaneously is the C610, a camera for casual users: using a slightly smaller 6.0-megapixel sensor, the new basic model also trims its price through a 2-inch LCD, AA batteries, and a fixed-focus lens. Video can be recorded at a film-standard 24 frames per second at 320x240, according to the company. Both cameras are shipping today in Europe with prices varying from country to country.

Virgin America joins other gadget-friendly airlines

01/22, 10:45am

Gadget-friendly Virgin Am.

While it has yet to start commercial operations (due to national ownership rules), Virgin America has announced plans to make seats on its airline equipped for digital gadgets and entertainment. Unlike United Airlines, who are only offering such luxuries to first-class passengers, every seat on a Virgin America jet will have WiFi, USB and Ethernet ports, as well as a 110V power outlet for laptops and similar devices. Passengers will even have access to touchscreens, which can be used to shop, order food, view movies and satellite TV, listen to MP3s and radio, or play simple games. There should also be in-plane messaging capabilities, including chat, SMS and e-mail. [Via Pocket-lint]

EMC Retrospect 8.0 on chopping block?

01/22, 10:35am

EMC axes Retrospect 8.0?

EMC has reportedly halted plans to release its Retrospect 8.0 backup software as part of a larger plan to cut costs across the Insignia small- and medium-sized business group. While EMC spokespeople deny the claims, they admit that significant cuts were recently made at the company's Walnut Creek offices where most of the Insignia group worked, according to The Register. Last week the firm said it dismissed 40 people in marketing, sales, and other positions, but said many of those employees found work at VMware -- a part of EMC. The report claims that a skeleton crew still remains to ensure the release of Retrospect 7.5 some time during this quarter, which will include updates for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and Microsoft Windows Vista.

QuickerTek unveils 'Quicky' iMac transceiver

01/22, 10:15am

'Quicky' iMac transceiver

QuickerTek today introduced a new Quicky USB Transceiver for wireless iMac networking, offering up to 10 times the wireless performance of any USB iMac with 500 milliwatts of RF signal power. "Other wireless networking enhancements require the disassembly of the computer to attach to the AirPort card or other connection inside," said QuickerTek. "Quicky easily attaches to the USB port only - and can even be powered from USB." The latest revision of the device includes four LEDs for transmit, receive, power, and link activity. A new external case design distinguishes the new Quicky USB Transceiver from other models, and the accessory includes a 5dBi antenna that users can position up and out of the confines of the iMac case to improve wireless performance. The Quicky requires no skills to set up or use, according to QuickerTek, and works with all 802.11/b/g WiFi equipment including Apple AirPort and AirPort Extreme. QuickerTek's Quicky USB Transceiver is priced at $230.

Samsung intros Ultra 5.9, rivals iPod nano thinness

01/22, 10:15am

Samsung Ultra Editon 5 9

Samsung's mobile division today added the Ultra Edition 5.9 to its cellphone line. The bar-shaped handset is the world's new thinnest phone, according to its creator: named after its thickness, the latest Ultra is only 5.9mm (0.23 inches) from front to back, making it thinner still than the 0.26-inch and music-only iPod nano. The size does not come at the cost of features, Samsung says. A 3.2-megapixel camera is built in, as is 80MB of internal storage; Bluetooth and playback for music and video round out the phone's features. The Ultra 5.9 is based on a tri-band GSM radio and is set to debut in Europe as of March.

Samsung's thinnest phone for North America is currently the T-Mobile Trace, whose depth reaches a third of an inch. Photos of the Ultra 5.9 can be found after the jump. [via Cellularmania]

42 iPod nanos stolen from Apple Store

01/22, 9:55am

42 iPod nanos stolen

Thieves made off with 42 second-generation iPod nanos from the 29th Street Mall Apple Store in Boulder, Colorado, totaling a loss of $8,705. Store employees told police that a 2-foot-by-2-foot Plexiglas display case was noted missing from a table roughly 10-feet from the front door of the store at around 5:00 p.m. on January 9th, according to a report from dailycamera.com. The case contained 42 aluminum 4GB iPod nanos and weighed roughly 30 pounds, with each player priced at around $200. Employees said they noted no suspicious activity on the day the case -- which was set up the very night before it was taken -- disappeared. While all of the stolen iPods had serial numbers, none were recorded prior to the theft. The case was not wired down, store managers said they will not display a similar case in the future, and the police said they have no suspects.

ASUS announces A8Jr notebook with Radeon X2300 video

01/22, 9:35am

ASUS A8Jr With X2300

ASUS on Monday unveiled both a new notebook and graphics technology with the A8Jr. An update to the company's 14-inch widescreen portable, the Taiwan-based company centers around new, previously unannounced 128MB Mobility Radeon X2300 graphics. Though details remain vague, the new ATI video chipset is a likely replacement for the low-end X1300 that ASUS says offers much more performance per watt, suiting it to Windows Vista's Aero Glass interface as well as decoding HD video or playing games.

As with much of the company's line, the A8Jr is available in many different configurations. A base model begins with a 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 80GB hard drive, DVD/CD-RW combo drive, and support for Bluetooth 2.0 as well as 802.11a/b/g wireless; a fully-loaded system is powered by a 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, 160GB of storage, and a DVD rewriter. ASUS is shipping the A8Jr soon using Windows XP with prices varying by region, but expects to preload the system with Windows Vista soon.

Sharp develops tiny 8.3-megapixel camera sensor

01/22, 9:20am

Sharp 8 3 MP Sensor

The research division of Sharp today revealed that it has developed a sensor that could help compact point-and-shoot cameras, according to NikkeiBP. While a small 1/2.5-inch chip, the sensor captures 8.28 megapixels -- a much higher figure than the 7-megapixel limit imposed on the thinnest cameras in use today. The breakthrough came about through smaller 1.75 μm square pixel cells, Sharp says, and has actually reduced the relative size by 60 percent compared to earlier sensors in the class. The technology should allow for even smaller cameras while still increasing the sharpness of still photos.

Sampling of the new sensor starts this month, with full production expected by April; cameras using the technology should follow soon afterwards and are likely to be commonplace by the end of the year.

LG intros simpler, soft-touch 3.5G slider phone

01/22, 9:15am

LG SH110 Slider Phone

LG this morning launched the SH110, a new slider built for those who may be intimidated by the relatively complex and utilitarian designs of most advanced 3.5G phones. Capable of the 1.8Mbps download speed of HSDPA mobile broadband, the phone has simple, easily understandable buttons; it also abandons the hard-edged designs prevalent in cellphones for a rounded, rubber-like textured border which should be much more comfortable to hold than bare metal or plastic.

Despite this simplicity, LG says, the phone supports the latest media features: a forward-facing VGA camera allows for video chats, while Bluetooth not only supports PC sync and headsets but also sharing music through multiple wireless headphones. MP3 and video playback are also standard and can be used even while using other functions of the phone, the company adds. The phone is available now through the Korean provider SKTelecom; though the handset supports global roaming through CDMA, a North American launch hasn't been announced.

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