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News Archive for 07/02/28

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Apple talks innovation, iPhone, 3G, Cingular

02/28, 11:05pm

COO talks Apple, iPhone

Apple COO Tim Cook was part of a analyst Q&A session in front a "standing room only" crowd at the Goldman Sachs Technology Investment Symposium earlier this week. Cook talked about continued innovation at Apple, the iPhone as Apple's next revolutionary product, using the standard GSM network vs. the faster 3G, its goal of 10 million unit sales, the selection of Cingular as the exclusive carrier in the U.S., and gauging demand as well as supply for the launch.

Mac finally a 'realistic alternative' in IT?

02/28, 6:45pm

Mac making inroads to IT?

Ignored for years, Apple is--at last--garnering the attention of business IT departments, says Network World's John Fontana. In his latest column, Fontana argues that the Mac now has many key features that were previously missing, such as infrastructure and interoperability hooks, clustering and storage technology, and third-party virtualization software. Significantly, the rise of Intel Macs and Microsoft's switch to Windows Vista has forced some departments to do comparison shopping.

Apps: NoteList, Montage, Curator, Navicat

02/28, 5:55pm

NoteList, Montage, Navicat

    NoteList 2.0 ($15) enables users to store notes in a free form using text as well as images with full word processing capabilities. NoteList is a modern Cocoa-based application with search functionality, RTF text support, and customizable fonts as well as styles. The latest release includes categories to help organize notes. [Download - 792KB]
    Montage 1.2 ($140) is an upgrade to the screenwriting software developed exclusively for Mac OS X that adds scene numbering, .Mac integration, and re-implements the "smart type" system. The latest release is free for Montage 1.0 owners, and improves Final Draft as well as text file import. The update also adds keywords to preferences, views, and smart views. [Download - [form]]
    Curator 1.0 ($18) is an artwork manager for iTunes that downloads album covers from the internet and adds them to an iTunes music library. The software is designed for users who like to micro-manage their artwork collection, or who have obscure albums with hard-to-find covers. The application can look up unusual albums on Amazon.com, and supports managing artwork on an album-by-album basis. [Download - 3MB]
    Navicat 6.3.5 for MySQL ($100) is the latest iteration of the database management tool with enhancement for backup/restore operations as well as remote database connection features. The MySQL client tool can synchronize databases, import as well as export backup data, and offers a visual query builder alongside SSH/HTTP tunneling for remote database connectivity. The update also supports SolidDB for MySQL which is a "turbo-charged" version of MySQL. Navicat 6.3.5 for MySQL runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary. [Download - 6.1MB]
    MultiMode OSX 5.8.0 ($90) enables a Mac to decode and transmit several different modes of non-voice communication often heard on shortwave and ham radio waves. MultiMode OSX allows users to decode and display morse code, RTTY, FAX, SSTV, ACARS, PSK31, and many other modes without any extra hardware. The update includes several enhancements and bug fixes for the Morse Code (CW) mode. [Download - 924KB]
    Sound Byte 3.2.1 ($24) enhances the "cart machine" software for Mac OS X designed to play sound recordings -- such as music and special effects. The update fixes a bug that could cause a crash when users clicked on a certain part of an empty playlist window. The software supports the same formats as QuickTime which include MP3, AIFF, WAV, AU, sfil, Sd2f, and uLaw files. [Download - 4MB]

'Fair Use' bill enters Congress, opposed by RIAA

02/28, 5:40pm

Congress 'Fair Use' bill

Congressional representatives Rich Boucher (D-VA) and John Dolittle (R-CA) today introduced the "Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing US Entrepreneurship" Act, shortened in acronym to FAIR USE. According to the Washington Post, the bill would amend the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), currently used by groups like the MPAA and RIAA to attack piracy.

Boucher and Dolittle argue that the DMCA reaches too far. "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dramatically tilted the copyright balance toward complete copyright protection at the expense of the public's right to fair use," Boucher says. "Without a change in the law, individuals will be less willing to purchase digital media if their use of the media within the home is severely circumscribed and the manufacturers of equipment and software that enables circumvention for legitimate purposes will be reluctant to introduce the products into the market." The bill is backed by the Consumer Electronics Association.

GPS unit to feature touchscreen iPod control

02/28, 5:05pm

GPS unit with iPod control

GPS builder TomTom plans to make a mapping unit at the heart of a larger "ecosystem," writes Electronista. Dubbed the TomTom DUO, the handheld would have support for a unique USB docking station in the style of a car stereo faceplate, allowing direct control of iPods through its touchscreen, and routing the audio of any portable audio device through the car's main speakers. Bluetooth and FM transmitters would help eliminate cabling in the link between the car, DUO, and Bluetooth-equipped cellphones. Exact technical details remain a mystery, but should be revealed by next month's CeBIT expo in Germany, which begins March 15th. Click through for more photos.

Hammacher carries wireless, waterproof iPod speaker

02/28, 5:00pm

Hammacher Waterproof iPod

Hammacher Schlemmer has begun carrying the Wireless Water-Resistant iPod Speaker, a stereo system tailored to music enthusiasts at the poolside or the shower. Though wireless iPod systems aren't new, the company says that the combination of this feature with a splashproof chassis allows for close listening while keeping the iPod itself in a dock safely out of harm's way. Other options are integrated for listening and even viewing, the retailer says: an AM/FM alarm clock radio is built-in, as are three audio/video output jacks for sharing the iPod's sound or video with a TV.

The dock is compatible with all current iPods and thinner fourth-generation models. It ships from Hammacher for $200.

Dvorak: cell carriers want to 'kill' Wi-Fi

02/28, 4:30pm

Carriers Killing Wi-Fi

Cell service providers in the US are attempting to muddy the waters in an attempt to kill public Wi-Fi access, according to John Dvorak. The columnist notes that American carriers seem to be deliberately sowing confusion, leading customers to believe that expensive 2G wireless is equal to (or even synonymous with) Wi-Fi. Campaigns to promote cell-based broadband appeared at roughly the same time as some of the first Wi-Fi-capable phones arrived in stores -- falsely presenting the costlier cellular Internet access as the only real option.

Many cellular subscribers don't even know that their phones (including the future iPhone) have Internet access, he said.

RIAA tends 'olive branch' to students

02/28, 3:50pm

RIAA offers 'olive branch'

The Recording Industry Association of America will offer a possible reprieve to college students, according to Electronista, citing the Washington Post. The RIAA plans to offer "discounted" settlements to 400 suspected illegal music traders spread across the campuses of 13 universities, hoping to discourage many students from contesting the claims in a costly and protracted lawsuit. "Hundreds" more of these offers will follow every month, the RIAA said. The organization has been routinely criticized for its suits by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other advocacy groups, which have often accused the music label coalition of intimidating targets into paying compensation, regardless of actual guilt. An Oklahoma judge ruled against the RIAA in a recent case, arguing that the group bullied a woman whose only connection to file sharing was her Internet service account.

Tune-In Bed may be world's largest iPod dock

02/28, 3:35pm

Bed w/built-in iPod dock

Produced by PBteen, the Tune-In Bed could be considered the world's largest dock for digital audio players, says Electronista. It's sold in Twin, Full or Queen sizes, and comes with a pocket for storing an audio player (such as an iPod), which connects to a pair of built-in four-inch speakers located in the headboard. The board is angled on either end to aim the sound at the sleeper, and is also available in five different colors. The frame itself is only offered in white or brown. Prices start at $699 for a Twin-sized bed, and range to $999 for Queen size.

Radiosophy ships dockable MultiStream HD radio

02/28, 3:25pm

Radiosophy HD Radio Ships

Radiosophy announced on Wednesday that it had started shipping its MultiStream HD radio. Close in spirit to other receivers that support the HD Radio standard for receiving multiple data and digital radio streams, even on one frequency band, its key advantage is portability. The receiver is small and detachable from the main speakers, allowing it to be used either with a larger stereo or in a vehicle when used with a special adapter. To that end, the receiver has ports both for optical and RCA audio out as well as a minijack output for connecting to aux inputs in car stereos and computer speakers.

The radio's support extends back to AM and FM radio, and includes a USB port for updating features through an Internet connection. The company is selling the receiver and speaker dock combination today for $269.

Briefly: REAL World 2007; free iPod cases

02/28, 3:10pm

REAL World, free iPod case

In brief: REAL Software today released the REAL World 2007 sessions list and conference agenda, LogicalVue Software announced the free availability of its RBUnit automated unit testing framework for REALbasic, and Pragmatic Bookshelf released its latest title "TextMate: Power Editing for the Mac." InterLingua Educational Publishing is introducing its new line of NotePods study aids by giving away free iPod cases, Linksys unveiled several network attached storage devices as well as fully managed stackable and standalone switches built for small business, and an anti-piracy measure completely backfired on one developer who was tired of people illegally copying his software. REAL World is touted as the definitive event for anyone who wants to get the most out of REALbasic -- an integrated development environment that compiles software for Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. The event will feature 30 sessions over three tracks that include a beginner's track as well as an in-depth track.

Final details of Verizon's cellphone TV surface

02/28, 2:55pm

Final Verizon TV Details

The last pieces of Verizon's cellphone TV service have been revealed, according to an informant with access to the plans. Confirmed for a March 1st launch date, the digital broadcast network will offer a mixture of TV shows aired live from networks such as Comedy Central and ESPN as well as timeshifted content from the previous day.

The service's costs will be tiered based on access to pre-recorded video, the source says. A core, TV-only service will be available for $15 per month beyond existing cellphone service, including all eight channels; a premium $25 tier will add V CAST video downloads.

TomTom DUO uncovered with iPod integration

02/28, 2:25pm

TomTom DUO at FCC

GPS device maker TomTom plans to make a mapping unit which would be the heart of a larger ecosystem, according to an FCC filing. Dubbed the TomTom DUO, the handheld would have support for a unique USB docking station in the style of a car stereo's faceplate, allowing direct control of iPods through its touchscreen and routing the audio of any portable audio device through the car's main speakers. Bluetooth and FM transmitters would help eliminate cabling in the link between the car, DUO, and Bluetooth-equipped cellphones, the leak revealed.

Exact technical details remain a mystery, but should be revealed by next month's CeBIT expo in Germany, which begins March 15th. Click through for photos. [via Engadget and GPS Review]

Stanton DJ Uberstand for laptops

02/28, 2:10pm

Stanton DJ Uberstand

Famous DJ suppliers Stanton have debuted the Uberstand, which is used to a support a mixing laptop in clubs that don't otherwise have the equipment or space. It's made of lightweight, aircraft-grade metals, is collapsable such that it can fit in a 12-inch carrying bag. The stand may also be alternative to a desk for ordinary computer users, but given its intended use, buyers will probably have to stand or use a tall stool. Though the Uberstand is not yet on sale, it should retail for approximately $80 from retailers such as Top DJ Gear and Erikson Audio. [via I4U News]

Apple reaffirms iPhone, says 90m iPods sold

02/28, 2:05pm

Apple CFO to speak soon

Apple's chief operating officer Tim Cook has confirmed that the company has sold 90 million iPods since October of 2001 at the Goldman Sachs 2007 Technology Investment Symposiium Conference, and reassured investors that the iPhone is still due to launch in June as originally planned. Cook spoke on the the forthcoming iPhone as well as potential iPod cannibalism, and said that the company's CFO Peter Oppenheimer will speak at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference on March 6th at around 3:00 p.m. PT. The COO answered detailed questions about Apple's stance on innovation, the iPhone, iPods, the iTunes Store, movie studios, and more. When asked how Apple keeps innovating at a fast enough pace and in a way that is differentiated enough to keep in front of what is an increasing list of competitors and a growing number of markets, Cook responded by citing Apple's track record that began with the iMac.

RIAA offers college students 'olive branch' deals

02/28, 1:50pm

RIAA College Olive Branch

The Recording Industry Association of America will offer a possible reprieve to college students, according to a statement by the group. The RIAA plans to offer "discounted" settlements to 400 suspected illegal music traders spread across the campuses of 13 universities, hoping to discourage many students from contesting the claims in a costly and protracted lawsuit. "Hundreds" more of these offers will follow every month, the RIAA said.

The organization has been routinely criticized for the practice by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other advocacy groups, which have often accused the music label coalition of intimidating targets into paying compensation regardless of their actual guilt. An Oklahoma judge recently ruled against the RIAA in a recent case, arguing that the group bullied a woman whose only connection to file sharing was her Internet service account.

Tune-In Bed is world's largest audio dock

02/28, 1:30pm

Bed w/built-in audio dock

Produced by PBteen, the Tune-In Bed could be considered the world's largest dock for digital audio players. It's available in Twin, Full or Queen sizes, and comes with a pocket for storing an audio player, which connects to a pair of built-in four-inch speakers located in the headboard. The board is angled on either end to aim the sound at the sleeper, and is also being sold in five different colors. The frame itself is only offered in white or brown. Prices start at $699 for a Twin-sized bed, and range to $999 for Queen size.

I-O Data HDCP LCD monitors

02/28, 1:00pm

I-O Data HDCP LCD monitors

Japanese maker I-O Data has announced two new LCD monitors that specifically support HDCP, enabling movie playback from Blu-Ray and HD DVD drives. The 19-inch LCD-AD192X is capable of resolutions up to 1440x900, and has 800:1 contrast, plus 330cd/m2 brightness. The 22-inch LCD-AD221X increases resolution to 1680x1050, but actually loses 50cd/m2 of brightness. It does however have a 5ms response time. Both monitors should ship in either white or black by late March, and cost $331 and $417.

OSRAM promises ultra-bright LEDs

02/28, 1:00pm

OSRAM Ultra-Bright LED

Seizing the moment, OSRAM has announced the OSTAR Lighting LED. Despite containing only a single, small light, the snowflake-like layout of chips gives the LED a brightness of over 1,000 lumen. That's as much light as a 50-watt halogen lamp while using only a fraction of the power, the company brags. The advancement lets the single light cover an entire desk when bounced off of a reflector.

The eco-friendliness of the design could represent a potential breakthrough for lighting, slashing the normally steep prices of LEDs while also letting LEDs substitute for power-hungry incandescent bulbs in smaller spaces. OSRAM is sampling the OSTAR lights over the next few months and hopes to see real-world products on shelves by this summer. [thanks, Demannu]

LightScribe Simple Labeler released

02/28, 1:00pm

LightScribe Simple Labeler

LightScribe Direct Disc Labeling today released its LightScribe Simple Labeler software designed as an intuitive labeling tool to enhance the initial CD and DVD labeling experience. The application is available for free via digital download and comes bundled with numerous LightScribe-enabled computers as well as aftermarket drives. LightScribe-enabled drive owners can use the software to create and customize CD and DVd labels by entering text with a desired font and selecting a border from a pre-defined list. The labeling software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9, and works with Microsoft Windows as well as Linux systems.

Music Man 2.0 offers tabbed interface

02/28, 12:40pm

Music Man 2.0 released

Mireth Technology today released Music Man 2.0, an update to its Mac OS X software designed to rip, convert, burn, and play digital music. The latest release incorporates a new, easier to read tabbed interface with quick drag-and-drop zones for playback as well as conversion and burning. The application also provides links to DRM free music stores, and adds support for conversion to AAC as well as from MIDI music formats that users can bookmark. Music Man supports MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, AIF, Audio CD, MIDI, and Ogg Vorbis audio formats under Mac OS X. Users can also write files to flash drives with varying results, loading two hours of music on a 64MB device without changing original files. Music Man 2.0 is priced at $20, and requires Mac OS X 10.2.3 or later.

Sony Muteki party audio

02/28, 12:30pm

Sony Muteki party audio

Sony's product lines have once again expanded, this time with the Muteki series of audio systems. The units are designed specifically for parties, incorporating karaoke and light sync functions, and power levels between 520 and 880W. The low end is represented by the MHC-LX10000, which is essentially a two-channel stereo except that one disc can keep playing while two others are changed. The LBT-ZX6 upgrades to a five-disc changer and three-way, 560W audio, and also adds CD recording and automatic volume control to prevent distortion.

At the high end are the LBT-ZX9 and LBT-ZX80D. The ZX9 is a 720W four-channel system, and includes DJ-style functions such as wave, fade and balance panning, and a jog dial that can cut music for voice-overs. The ZX80D has 5.1 Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS surround-sound, and features a three-disc DVD player, which can be used to play movie, DivX and MP3 files as well as audio CDs. At 880W, the system is so powerful that it has its own air intake to maintain performance. The ZX9 will be ready in March for $600; the ZX80D is due in May for $700. Meanwhile, the ZX6 and LX10000 are already in retail stores at $400.

Dell to embrace retail?

02/28, 11:35am

Dell Retail Stores

Dell may be on the verge of announcing a shift to retail sales, according to claims made in the run-up to the company's delayed fourth-quarter results call on Thursday. While unconfirmed, the allegations point to Dell partnering with an unknown large retailer to get its systems into retail shops on a wide scale.

The change will likely be triggered by the company's rapidly degrading performance, sources said. The once-unassailable Texas firm has lost share in recent months, giving up its dominance of computers to HP. The company has also seen an overhaul of its management after its latest troubles, with Michael Dell taking back the CEO position of his own company and hiring an outsider, Motorola's Ron Garriques, to handle its worldwide strategy.

Malaysian startup announces Phreedom smartphone

02/28, 11:35am

Gupp Phreedom smartphone

Malaysia may not be known for high technology, but a startup firm from the country is preparing its first smartphone. Gupp's upcoming Phreedom should be similar to the Palm Treo or the Motorola Q, sporting a full QWERTY keyboard, a 2.5-inch QVGA screen, and extensive wireless in the form of 802.11b/g/i. Perhaps most useful may be its "VoWiFi" functions, which will let users save on phone bills by switching to VoIP calls when possible. The phone normally uses "double tri-band" GSM: 850/1,800/1,900 or 900/1,800/1,900MHz. Inside the Phreedom will be running Mobile Linux 2.6 on a 312MHz Intel processor, storing content on 320MB of combined RAM and flash memory. The Phreedom should launch in unspecified regions starting in the second quarter.

2G HomeDock Deluxe with on-TV navigation

02/28, 11:30am

2G HomeDock Deluxe ships

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) today began shipping its second-generation HomeDock Deluxe iPod Dock with on-TV navigation. The device enables enables users to listen to music and watch movies or TV shows by connecting to a home entertainment system with included AV and S-Video cables. The devices plays content from a docked iPod with on-TV navigation of iTunes videos, full color album art, new screen savers as well as visualizers, 12 new color themes, and on-TV playlist creation dubbed "My Jukebox." DLO's new HomeDock Deluxe features an upgraded remote control, and retains its original price of $150.

SpotDJ supports on-the-go 'spots'

02/28, 11:25am

SpotDJ adds iPod support

SpotDJ today announced its support for Apple's iPod by enabling direct-to-device delivery, enabling users to hear "spots" -- or short snippets of audio -- while listening to music. SpotDJ queries its database each time a song plays, tacking on interesting or relevant audio spots based on user preferences and listening habits when the song ends. Users can take spots on-the-go with an iPod, and playlists are different every time a user syncs the portable audio device. "SpotDJ brings the voice of bands, DJs and fans directly to listeners, adding relevant audio clips while people listen to music," said Kevin Barenblat, co-founder and CEO of SpotDJ. "Now on SpotDJ people can hear Taylor Hicks talking about American Idol, Ben Fong-Torres speaking with The Doors' Jim Morrison, and one of the users inviting all her SpotDJ fans to Austin for South by Southwest."

'Woz' recounts his love for computers

02/28, 11:15am

'Woz' reminisces in Tokyo

Apple co-founder Steve 'Woz' Wozniak recently recounted his love for computers at a forum in Tokyo, and expressed his desire for every child to explore and see encouragement to that end. "I decided I was going to love this stuff for life," said Wozniak, who designed the Apple II a few decades after discovering a journal for engineers in a hall closet in his home. "It became a game: How can I make a computer with the fewest number of parts?" Wozniak stopped working for Apple in the mid-1980's, according to Reuters, but he remains on the company's payroll and occasionally represents the iPod-maker at special events. Wozniak met Apple CEO Steve Jobs through an acquaintance early on, and the duo launched a business from Jobs' home and garage building Apple computers until they moved to a business building. "Every time I built something, Steve would say, 'Let's sell it,'" Wozniak said. "I was very shy. And Steve was always so good at talking."

LG debuts stylish 3G wireless slider

02/28, 10:55am

LG KH1300 Slider Phone

LG's Cyon brand today launched the KH1300, a 3G phone tailored to CDMA networks. The slider links to HSDPA networks at the full 3.6Mbps speeds of HSDPA. A 3MB song or video clip will download in as little as 7 seconds, by the firm's estimates. Appropriately for its enhanced speed, the KH1300's 1.3-megapixel camera is complemented by a front VGA camera for video calls and messages.

Other staples of the company's cellphones are here, including Bluetooth and a dedicated media jukebox. LG is selling the KH1300 soon in its native Korea for $433 but notes that the handset will roam through much of Asia and Europe. Click through for larger photography.

AT&T adopts Motorola M900

02/28, 10:50am

AT&T adopts Motorola M900

AT&T has announced its adoption of the Motorola M900, a phone targeted at security professionals and others who value practicality over entertainment. The display is small and uses large fonts, for instance, and there are no music or video capabilities. Its main feature is actually a two-watt RF amplifier, which should enhance call quality in both urban and remote locations. The phone can also be set for strict security measures such as call barring or fixed dialing. It connects via tri-band GSM, and supports limited GPRS data functions. No prices or release dates are currently available. [via Slashphone]

Corsair boosts USB flash drive speed with Voyager GT

02/28, 10:25am

Corsair Voyager GT

Corsair on Wednesday claimed to have pushed the speed limits of flash drives with the Flash Voyager GT. A new flash controller boosts transfer speeds in both directions, reading at a brisk 34MB per second but writing nearly as quickly at 28MB per second. The jump shrinks the transfer time for a 1MB file to as low as one second versus five seconds for an ordinary drive, the memory maker's tests say.

The drive is sheltered in Corsair's signature splashproof body and has the option of a hidden, encrypted partition for especially sensitive files. 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB versions are already available at prices of $30, $60, and $120 respectively.

ASUS notebook builds in 3.5G wireless

02/28, 10:05am

ASUS V2Je

ASUS today launched the V2Je notebook. Geared towards frequent travelers who need Internet access from almost anywhere, certain models of the 14-inch laptop include a built-in 3.5G wireless adapter. The modem taps into most HSDPA and UMTS mobile broadband networks to give Internet access as quick as 3.6Mbps in downloads without a phone -- four times faster than most networks, ASUS says. The system itself is also fast, with Core 2 Duos ranging between 1.66GHz and 2.33GHz as well as a 256MB Mobility Radeon X1450 to help accelerate 3D tasks.

The V2Je should be available now in Europe with a 1.3-megapixel webcam, multi-format card reader, and a fingerprint reader for security. A North American version hasn't been discussed and might require changes to its wireless support. [via Core Duo News]

Group Logic ships ExtremeZ-IP 5.0

02/28, 10:00am

ExtremeZ-IP 5.0 ships

Group Logic today released ExtremeZ-IP 5.0, which it says is the only Windows-based server solution to properly support all releases of the Mac operating system (from Mac OS 9 to the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5). Featuring architecture enhancements, ExtremeZ-IP 5.0 increases Mac desktop to Windows server file sharing reliability and scalability, further simplifies IT support, and offers improved performance and caching for improved productivity. "Group Logic's ExtremeZ-IP 5.0 features increased scalability with support for more users than any other Mac file sharing solution in the marketplace while offering optimized performance, especially under load," the company said. "The solution's performance and caching enhancements allow processing more file sharing requests per hour, while using less computing time and resources."

Manufacturers vie for iPhone contracts

02/28, 9:50am

Race for iPhone contracts

Manufacturers from around the world are racing to secure building contracts for the iPhone, according to one report. iPod sales rose to 21 million in the last quarter, and the iPhone is heralded by many as Apple's next big success, according to The Times. The winners of current contract competitions may fall into 'guaranteed' income from both Apple and other clients, attracted by prestige. Research from iSuppli suggests that one of the main frontrunners in the competition is Hon Hai, which already assembles the iPod nano. Likewise, Samsung is a strong contender for continuing NAND memory production, and British company Wolfson may resume producing audio chips.

Sharp unveils Internet Aquos PC/TV trio

02/28, 9:25am

Sharp Internet Aquos

Sharp this morning took the wraps off its new Internet AQUOS PC and TV hybrid. Veering away from the insistence on merging the PC into the TV itself, the Japanese TV maker instead builds them as separate devices meant to work together. A custom interface on the PC controls TV viewing and schedules recording when the computer is on, but isn't required: the TV can write shows directly to the hard drive even while the PC is switched off, Sharp says. A wireless keyboard with trackball works directly with the computer from across the room; however, the TV remote itself has a trackpad for basic mousing without the extra bulk of a keyboard.

Energy Link from Sony merges USB power, charging

02/28, 8:45am

Sony Energy Link

Sony has unveiled the Energy Link. Devised as a battery backup for USB-charged gadgets such as iPods and phones, the device is the first to handle three roles in one, Sony claims. In addition to either extending or recharging the battery of another device, the Energy Link works as a power adapter to keep items powered without draining its own reserve.

Also unique are the batteries that ship with the charger: while any pair of AA batteries will work, the Energy Link comes with Cycle Energy batteries that the company says straddle the line between throw-away alkalines and more expensive NiMH rechargeables. Charging the Cycle Energy batteries takes about three hours. The adapter should be ready by the start of the summer for $35.

New Sony Picturestation printers

02/28, 8:40am

New Sony Picturestation

Sony has announced two new PictureStation dye-sublimation photo printers. The FP90 features a flip-up 3.6-inch LCD and the FP70 is equipped with a fixed 2.5-inch LCD. Both models can print up to 4x6 inch images and are said to be light enough to be truly portable, even incorporating their own carry handles. Common to both are a variety of filters for emphasizing lights, specific colors or creating a canvas-effect texture, in addition to a superimpose mode to overlay a message over an image and automatic photo correction. The USB-enabled FP90 and FP70 have 20 sheet paper trays and are compatible with any PictBridge-enabled USB camera as well as Memory Stick media. The FP70 will be priced at $150, while the FP90 will be priced at $200. Sony expects both printers to be available in March.

CyberTouch intros 42-inch touchscreen LCD

02/28, 8:15am

CyberTouch Orion 42 LCD

CyberTouch has just unveiled the Orion 42, one of its largest touchscreens to date. A converted 42-inch LG screen, the LCD is tailored for shops, museums, and other places where the ability to display large widescreen videos is as important as control. The screen is sensitive enough that even a gloved hand will work, the company says. Two VGA inputs, DVI, as well as component and RCA jacks are present to hook the touchscreen to almost any video source.

The Orion 42 is already shipping with either a serial or a USB connection, letting it work with almost any operating system (including Linux and Mac OS X). As is often the case with specialized gear, pricing is set only by request.

Corsair debuts new 8GB USB flash drive

02/28, 8:00am

Corsair flash Voyager GT

Corsair today released a new range of Flash Voyager GT USB portable storage drives. The drives feature capacities of 2GB, 4GB and 8GB with read speeds of up to 34MB/s and write speeds of up to 28MB/s according to Corsair. The Flash Voyager GT also features a water and shock resistant all-rubber housing, and are bundled with a lanyard, security softwre/driver CD and USB extension cable and feature a ten year warranty. The 2GB Flash Voyager GT is $30, the 4GB model is $60 and the 8GB model rounds out the line at $120

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