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News Archive for 07/03/14

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Commodore announces high-end gaming PCs

03/14, 6:50pm

Commodore PCs official

Commodore late today launched its anticipated return to computers with its Cg line of high-end gaming PCs. Each system is custom-painted to match the customer's tastes: game art, photos, and other images can cover the entire system case.

Four speed grades make up the line, according to the company, ranging from the base Cg to the flagship Cxx. The latter will be one of the fastest computers available, Commodore boasts. A quad-core 2.66GHz Core 2 Extreme, dual GeForce 8800 GTX video cards, two 150GB Western Digital Raptor drives (with a third 500GB drive), and 4GB of RAM will all be standard. The system will come preloaded with Windows Vista Ultimate and should see full pricing and launch details available tomorrow at CeBIT. [via Primo Tech]

Thanko launches Vonia music headband

03/14, 5:50pm

Vonia music headband

Japanese firm Thanko today launched Vonia, a new music headband designed for runners and Apple's iPod shuffle or other small audio players. A small pocket at the front of the headband holds the player and relays sound through wires hidden inside the headband, preventing tangles during a run. The headband transfers sound via bone conduction rather than using headphones, transmitting audio through the skull while leaving the ears free to pick up sounds from the outside world without affecting audio quality. The company also notes that Vonia owners can fit a waterproof guard on the bone conduction speakers to take take the headband into water with a proper player. The Vonia is slated for shipment by the end of March for $85 in Japan, though exports to the U.S. are as yet unconfirmed, according to Electronista.

NoeStringAttached adds wireless sharing to the iPod

03/14, 5:40pm

Wireless iPod sharing

One of the key advantages of the Microsoft Zune over the Apple iPod was intended to be wireless sharing between players; this edge has apparently been lost, however, thanks to a product devised by a teenager and her father. The SnoopTunes NoeStringAttached is a dongle that attaches to an iPod's headphone jack, and then broadcasts to similarly-equipped players. In contrast with the Zune, which limits shared songs to three plays or three days, tracks shared through the NoeStrings are DRM-free, though this is of course because the NoeStrings is essentially an RF transmitter -- no files are actually copied. Users can switch between five channels to avoid interference from other devices. The product is only being sold on eBay at the moment, but it is expected to arrive in stores such as Best Buy by the end of the year. [via Crave]

Refurb Mac minis return for $649

03/14, 5:30pm

Refurb Mac minis for $649

Apple is offering refurbished Intel-based Mac minis for as little as $649, as well as Power Mac G5 workstations from $1,599. The company's reconditioned Mac mini offerings include the 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $649, as well as the 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo with 512MB of memory and an 80GB hard drive for $699. Both Mac mini systems come with a double-layer SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) and built-in AirPort Extreme with Bluetooth 2.0 functionality. Apple's refurbished Power Mac G5 desktops include the Dual 2GHz system with 512MB of memorym a 160GB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 6600 LE (128MB) graphics card for $1,599; the Dual 2.3GHz model with 512MB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 6600 (256MB) graphics card for $1,999; and the Quad 2.5GHz system with 512MB of memory, a 250GB hard drive, and an NVIDIA GeForce 6600 (256MB) graphics card for $2,699.

Unity to support Nintendo Wii game creation

03/14, 5:05pm

Unity, Wii game creation

OTEE today announced that users of its Unity game development tool will be able to create games for the Nintendo Wii console later this year. Unity is an integrated development tool that makes standalone games for PC as well as Mac systems that users can play in any modern Web browser. The software combines game engine technologies such as optimized and extensible graphics and rendering effects; PhysX by Ageia; JIT-compiled JavaScript and C# scripting APIs; flexible and fast character animation support; high- and low-level networking capabilities, and dynamic game worlds that enable developers to modify each object and texture on the fly. Unity is priced at $250 for an indie license or $1,500 for the pro version. Both editions require Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.

Lionsgate to release double-feature Blu-Ray discs

03/14, 5:05pm

Double-feature Blu-Ray

Combining short films on a single DVD may already be common practice, but Lionsgate will become the first studio to pair two movies on a single HD-format disc. "Ultimate Avengers" and "Ultimate Avengers 2" will be available together on one 50GB Blu-Ray disc, which will still have enough space left over to hold bonus materials, such as featurettes and a trivia track. The disc will ship April 24th and cost $40. Lionsgate intends to continue releasing double-features into the future, but has not announced any titles beyond Ultimate Avengers. More popular pairings may give Blu-Ray an edge in the HD format war, as HD DVD discs have only half the capacity of Blu-Ray. [via TG Daily]

Toshiba slim HD DVD player, DVD writer drive appears

03/14, 4:55pm

Toshiba Slim HD DVD Drive

Toshiba has quietly begun shipping its first travel HD DVD drive, the PA3530U-1HD1. Its thin profile suits it to being carried alongside a notebook for watching HD movies and as an external second drive for most any USB 2.0-equipped system. While read-only for its native format, the drive also burns DVD-R and -RW discs at 4X and CDs as quickly as 16X for write-once CDs. Dual-layer DVDs and CD-RW discs are also writeable.

The Japanese firm's latest drive currently needs both a modern PC and a nearby power source, and ships from NewEgg today for $370. [via Everything USB]

Mitsubishi launches five LCDs

03/14, 4:45pm

Five new Mitsubishi LCDs

Whereas Mitsubishi is known mainly for cars in North America, it's familiar worldwide in a number of fields, including consumer electronics. Japanese shoppers now have access to five new LCDs from the company, which are being sold under the Real brand. At front are the two Real MZ sets: these support resolutions up to 1080p ("full" HD), and come with HDMI 1.3 ports and digital TV tuners. The screens also have a 2,000:1 contrast ratio and are shipping in 40- and 46-inch sizes. The low end is represented by the Real MX sets, which are merely described as "HD-Ready," and come in 26-, 32-, and 37-inch sizes. Similarly, they use HDMI 1.2a and have a less impressive display engine. [via Akihabara News]

1TB hard drives reach Alienware, Dell systems

03/14, 4:20pm

1TB Drives in Dells

Dell revealed today that it will be the first computer builder to offer a one terabyte hard drive as an option in its systems. Using Hitachi's recently announced Deskstar 7K1000, Dell's own XPS 710, as well as its gaming brand Alienware's Area-51 and Aurora systems, will all get the added storage as an option during the customization process. The added space could be essential for gamers and others who want to keep their entire media library on their computers, says Dell's global consumer marketing VP Neil Hand. The 1TB drive has yet to be listed on Alienware's site but is now a $540 extra for the Dell XPS system.

Thanko headband guards, plays iPod shuffle via bones

03/14, 3:55pm

Thanko Vonia Headband

Japan's Thanko today launched a new music headband just for runners. The VONIA is crafted with the iPod shuffle and other very small audio players in mind. A small pocket at the front holds the player and relays its sound through wires hidden inside the headband itself, preventing tangles during a run. The company has chosen to use bone conduction instead of headphones: sound transmits directly through the skull and leaves the ears free to pick up crucial audio cues from the outside world without affecting audio quality. It's also possible to fit a waterproof guard on the bone conduction speakers to take them swimming with the right player, Thanko adds.

The VONIA should be available from the online retailer by the end of March for $84. Exports to the US haven't been confirmed.

Tom Bihn debuts Ego laptop messenger bag

03/14, 3:10pm

Ego laptop bag debuts

Design company Tom Bihn today introduced the Ego, a new mid-size messenger bag designed to fit Apple's 13-inch MacBook and 15.4-inch MacBook Pro laptops with an optional "Brain Cell" hard-sided case. The Ego features an interchangeable front stripe available in more than 24 various colors and fabrics, enabling users to continually customize the look of the bag. Strip colors include reflective, cork, wasabi, kelly, deep blue, and crimson. Limited edition strips are available in mod Italian, yellow vinyl, gold bamboo, and crimson bamboo. The main compartment features removable Annex clips designed to securely connect the Brain Cell hard-sided laptop case inside the bag, which is available in nine different sizes to fit a wide range of laptops. The Ego messenger bag is priced at $130.

Apps: A Better Finder Rename; LecShare Pro

03/14, 3:10pm

A Better Finder Rename

    A Better Finder Rename 7.7 ($20) allows Mac owners to more easily find and rename files by doing it in bulk, rather than handling each one by hand. The program is specially tailored towards music and photo files, from which it can read information like EXIF data and album and artist names. The v7.7 upgrade adds Finder-style sorting of files with sequence numbers (such as photos), and remedies NTFS/SMB conversion problems. The app is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 2.2MB]
    LecShare Pro 1.26 ($70) combines audio with PowerPoint presentations to create MPEG-4 and QuickTime video files, as well as Word documents and Accessible HTML pages. When creating QuickTime movies, the Lecturer's Notes can be used to automatically generate captions. Version 1.26 is a small yet significant upgrade adding compatibility with Microsoft Office 2007. Mac OS X 10.3.9, QuickTime 6 and PowerPoint X are required. [Download - 7.4MB]
    Daylite 3.2.2 ($190) is a productivity suite which promises to organize schedules, manage projects and synchronize data with remote computers. Version 3.2.2 upgrades OpenBase to 10.0.5, and displays extra attributes for contacts, projects, organizations and opportunities. New menus and shortcuts have been added to the calendar application. Mac OS X 10.4 is required for the program, though 10.4.7 or later is recommended. [Download - 26MB]
    UI Browser 2.0.3 ($55) lets users explore, observe and manipulate the user interfaces of most Mac OS X applications. In tandem with Apple's GUI Scripting, it can even create AppleScript statements that control non-scriptable apps. The v2.0.3 patch fixes a bug in the Notifications pane of the Preferences window, which prevented users selecting and removing custom notifications. UI Browser is a Universal Binary that fully supports the GUI Scripting and Accessibility enhancements in Mac OS X 10.4. [Download - 1.3MB]
    Papers Public Preview 3 ($25) browses, downloads and displays new scientific papers in PDF format. Once archived, users can sort the papers by different criteria, and then compare them using tabbed windows. Some new features include an iPhoto-like fullscreen mode, automatic downloading of recent papers, and a redesigned interface for the Authors and Journals section. Users can also backup or transfer their archives from within Papers. [Download - 6MB]
    RatRace 1.0 ($26) tracks the time spent on various tasks, increasing awareness of which ones consume the greatest number of hours, and prompting improved estimates in the future. The program can operate in Timer List, Time Line or Estimate views, and includes options such as label colors and smart folders to better organize data. The trial version is limited to 30 days. [Download - 5.3MB]

Samsung debuts "Tulip" LCD TVs, plasmas in Europe

03/14, 3:10pm

Samsung Tulip LCDs

Samsung began its stay at Germany's CeBIT expo by launching a suite of new LCD and plasma sets first for Europeans. Nicknamed the Tulip line based on their rounded shape, the new LCDs all appear to enhance image quality even compared to the upcoming 53 series for the US: in the M87 range, the 37-inch model will all feature a brighter 8,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio versus the 7,000:1 for the US, while the larger 40-, 46-, and 52-inch sets will nearly double the figure to 15,000:1.

These models will be 1080p-capable and will have a 9-in-1 card reader as well as three HDMI inputs, with prices ranging between £1,200 ($2,321) and £2,500 ($4,836) when they reach Britain in April.

Digidesign launches Structure Public Beta

03/14, 2:45pm

Structure Public Beta

Digidesign today launched its Structure Public Beta program, offering Pro Tools users a chance to test drive and provide feedback for Structure -- its professional sampler and RTAS virtual instrument plug-in. The Structure Beta includes three packages of free sound content -- such as synths, drums, and nylon string guitars -- for use with the sampler, as well as associated instructional materials. The Structure beta is available for free for a limited time to owners of Pro Tools 7.0 or later, requiring registration at Digidesign's Structure website as well as an iLok USB Smart Key to authorize the software. The official release of Digidesign Structure is slated for the summer of 2007.

GeForce 8500, 8600 details emerge

03/14, 2:35pm

GeForce 8500 and 8600 Info

NVIDIA is about to release its first GeForce 8-series video cards, newly leaked information reveals. The graphics card producer intends to release three boards that share the unified shaders of the 8800 line but cut the amount of memory and clock speeds to keep prices in check.

The flagship 8600 GTS (shown) will be the fastest, according to the leak: it will actually be clocked higher than more expensive cards with a 675MHz core, but will use a 128-bit memory bus (reduced from 384 bits) and 1GHz memory; the 8600 GT, in turn, will clock at a more modest 540MHz core and 700MHz memory. A final model the 8500 GT, has not been given final clock speeds but will have the option of falling back to less expensive DDR2 memory for budget PCs. The 8600 GTS will ship with 256MB of memory while its less expensive counterparts have the option of 128MB.

Briefly: iSync phone plug-ins; Casio Exilim

03/14, 1:45pm

iSync phone plug-ins

In brief: DVcreators.net has released Final Cut Express Foundations, nova media updated its iSync phone plug-ins to offer compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4.9 with support for USB connections for mobile phones, Casio has quietly released a new 6-megapixel budget Exilim digital camera, and Apple's latest Mac OS X Tiger update has fixed a bug in its Rosetta software that could cause PowerPC applications to crash. The release of Final Cut Express Foundations is designed as a comprehensive and interactive hands-on educational course available via DVD that guides users through each step of the essential editing process. Users organize projects, capture, conduct basic editing, and fine tune as well as export projects.

Sony handheld puts digital TV, radio in pockets

03/14, 1:45pm

Sony XDV-100

Aiming to please commuters who may miss their favorite shows, Sony today launched its XDV-100 portable. The small device is just large enough to hold a 2.8-inch screen and tunes Japan's 1Seg digital TV broadcasts to let the viewer catch shows anywhere they can find good reception. The portable also sports an AM/FM tuner for radio and a TV programming guide to keep track of current and upcoming shows.

The handheld is due for release in its home country on April 10th at a price equal to $340. An American version will have to wait for a format similar to 1Seg before a possible launch.

Sharp to build 108-inch LCD, 1080p sets with drives

03/14, 1:20pm

Sharp Confirms 108-inch TV

Sharp has confirmed that it will produce a massive 108-inch LCD set, according to the company's European CEO Hans Kleis. The chief said that the TV, which has been shown at trade shows as a prototype in recent months, wasn't meant to be relegated to the sidelines and would be sold as a real product "in the future."

Prices were not mentioned, but will likely vary as the electronics maker intends to let buyers customize the set with diamonds and other exotic materials. The unnamed 108-inch set is one of the sharpest ever produced and quadruples the resolution of today's sets at 2160p (4096x2160).

FM Nexus ships Account Manager 2.0

03/14, 1:10pm

Account Manager 2.0 for FM

FM::Nexus today shipped Account Manager 2.0, which allows administrators of FileMaker databases to centrally manage multiple servers, databases, users and privileges. Featuring new notification capabilities. it simplifies administration by facilitating centralized account management of multiple databases without requiring direct modification of each disparate database. New notification features let database administrators automatically broadcast messages to end-users or a subset of end-users. In addition, administrators can automate broadcast notifications to alert for upcoming events such as scheduled maintenance, to alert for account status changes, the completion of account setup, etc. Account Manager also tracks login information and provides comprehensive reporting. It requires FileMaker 8 and is priced starting at $250 for 25 end-user accounts (free to any FileMaker developer for use with up to 7 end-user accounts).

Slacker joins the realm of satellite radio

03/14, 12:55pm

Slacker satellite radio

Though the merger of XM and Sirius may have prompted fears of a monopoly in satellite radio, such worries were apparently unfounded, as a new company called Slacker is promising to fill the void. It will actually offer a threefold service: at the core is the already-running web radio, which is free with video advertising, or $7.50 per month without ads. While it concentrates on modern pop music, users can find dance and electronic stations, and hits as old as the 1940s. Crucially, listeners can choose to vote on songs as they play, which may affect later playlists.

NI PRO-53 3.0.3 offers Universal support

03/14, 12:50pm

NI PRO-53 3.0.3 ships

Native Instruments today released PRO-53 3.0.3, an update to its virtual analog synthesizer. Introducing new Universal Binary support, the new version enables users of Intel-based Macs to utilize the full potential of the faithful emulation of the much-famed analog synthesizer from the 80s. The synthesizer emulator features new new oscillator technology that offers a "warmer and more brilliant sound" as well as a high-pass filter mode and an invertible filter envelope. Registered users of the PRO-53 single version can buy the Mac OS X Universal Binary Update including a new serial number for $30/€25, while KOMPLETE 4 can download the Mac update for free (the new PRO-53 serial number for KOMPLETE 4 can also be requested in the Updates Manager). It requires Mac OS X 10.4.x, a 700MHz G4 CPU or Intel-based Mac and 512MB of RAM.

Macgamestore releases Word Web Deluxe

03/14, 12:45pm

Word Web Deluxe for Mac

Macgamestore.com today announced the release of Word Web Deluxe, a new casual game for the Mac created by GamesCafe and published by Big Fish Games: "In a science experiment gone terribly wrong, 10 spiders became super-intelligent. Now they have invaded your home and they're making a huge mess. Link letters and create words to sweep the spider webs away! Earn tokens and use the letter-pool to spell your own words! Use bonus tiles to earn more points and bonus power-ups to get rid of those pesky cobwebs. But watch out for the spiders, they'll try to wrap you up in a cocoon." It features 20 levels and over 60 quests and runs on Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later. Word Web Deluxe is available for $20. A free Universal Binary demo version of the game is available for download as well.

Guy Kawasaki to keynote Kaseya Conference

03/14, 12:40pm

Guy Kawasaki keynote

Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki is scheduled to host Kaseya Connect 2007, Kaseya's first user conference from April 1-3 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The sold-out event is offering opportunities for education as well as networking, and promises an insider look at Kaseya's forthcoming technology in the coming year. Keynote speaker Guy Kawasaki is a well-known Apple advocate and former Apple employee who authored eight books, including The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. Kaseya Connect 2007 is meant to serve as a forum for fostering education and networking within the managed services space, and several of Kaseya's customers are scheduled to speak and discuss their successes and challenges as they built their businesses.

Logitech intros deluxe, basic notebook webcams

03/14, 12:35pm

Logitech QuickCam Deluxe

Logitech on Wednesday saw fit to announce a pair of new webcams made just for notebook users, including one it says is a truly premium model. The QuickCam Deluxe for Notebooks (pictured) is one of the few webcams to use a glass lens element, evading the cheaper and distorting plastic used by most others. It also relies upon a sharp 1.3-megapixel sensor that helps take sharper photos with the integrated snapshot button. The Deluxe clips on to most notebooks and will ship in April for $60.

Details of the basic camera and a photo follow after the break.

Acer to acquire Gateway?

03/14, 11:50am

Acer to acquire Gateway?

With Acer on the rise, according to the Wall Street Journal, it is also hunting for acquisitions to solidify its position, which may soon make it number three in global PC shipments behind Dell and Hewlett-Packard. CEO J.T. Wang has refused to say exactly who the company has in mind -- other than a PC manufacturer -- but Taiwanese site DigiTimes claims it is none other than Gateway, which would indeed bring Acer closer to Dell's level, since it is worth $288 million and is the third-largest PC supplier in the US. Unidentified "industry sources" are cited as evidence. The same acquisition was rumored last year however, and was vehemently denied by Wang, who rightfully argued that Acer would grow without any mergers in 2006. The company intends to become number three by the end of 2007 regardless.

NewerTech debuts battery pack for iPod

03/14, 11:20am

Battery pack for iPod

Newer Technology (NewerTech) today introduced the slim NuPower ViDEO+ rechargeable battery pack for Apple's video iPod. The accessory attaches to the iPod, significantly extending the run-time to 80 hours of music playback or 16 hours of video viewing. The NuPower ViDEO+ also doubles as a portable charger that delivers up to three charges to the iPod video's internal battery. NewerTech's new accessory includes the battery pack, stand, docking station, and a belt clip to tote the extra battery power alongside an iPod. The NuPower ViDEO+ is rechargeable via an iPod charging cable that ships included with all video iPods. The battery pack fits on the back of the iPod, and comes with a spacer pad to ensure a snug fit on 30GB video iPod models. The battery extension for video iPod is priced at $50.

Super Talent readies 128GB flash drive, 4GB DIMMs

03/14, 11:10am

128GB SSD, 4GB DIMMs

Memory maker Super Talent has announced a pair of products with unusually high capacities. The first comes in a series of new SATA flash drives, ranging in size from a 1.8-inch 16GB model to a 3.5-inch 128GB model, a size still rarely seen in computing due to cost; the bulk of the iPhone's price, for example, will come from the 8GB of onboard memory. All of Super Talent's new flash drives should reach OEMs and resellers in April. Also scheduled that month is the production of new DIMM modules -- unique in that they are 4GB, fully-buffered DDR2 chipsets, geared towards high-performance Xeon servers. Users will pay for the privilege, as 533MHz chips will cost $1,049, while 667MHz chips will be $1,199.

NPD: Legal downloads outpace, still dwarfed by P2P

03/14, 11:00am

Legal Music Dwarfed by P2P

Music labels have received a mixed blessing in 2006 in terms of music downloads, according to a new study published by The NPD Group. The research firm found that the number of households legally buying online music downloads from iTunes and other services had soared in 2006 to 13 million, tripling the figures seen in 2004 -- a far faster growth rate than the 8 percent seen for largely illegal peer-to-peer sites, NPD said. While the number of homes using P2P was still larger at 15 million, analyst Russ Crupnick noted it was "likely" 2007 would be the first year when the number of legal buyers would overtake file traders.

iStyles ships iPod video privacy screen

03/14, 10:35am

iPod video privacy screen

iStyles has begun shipping its iPod Video Privacy Screen Protector, a new protective cover for Apple's video iPod screen that guards against scratches and protects privacy by preventing neighboring individuals from seeing what is playing on the screen. The iPod Video Privacy Screen Protector from iStyles works with 30GB, 60GB, and 80GB video iPods. The guard is priced at $10.

Verizon picks up the Samsung SCH-U540

03/14, 10:30am

SCH-U540 at Verizon

Verizon Wireless has officially adopted the SCH-U540 by Samsung, which will occupy the middle of the road in the carrier's performance range. The flip phone has a 1.3-megapixel camera, for instance, as well as EVDO broadband, and a microSD slot for expanded storage. Its performance is likewise good enough to exploit V Cast services, including music downloads, and it will make use of VZ Navigator to provide rudimentary directions. With a two-year contract and an online discount, the U540 can be had for as little as $80. [via Crave]

Sony-Ericsson follows up with speakers, camera kit

03/14, 10:15am

S-E Speakers and Photo Kit

Sony-Ericsson continued its announcements today and released a pair of accessories to make better use of its handsets. The MPS-75 Snap-on Speakers are built specifically for the cellphone maker's W660i Walkman phone and attach to the bottom, providing stereo sound powered entirely by the phone for parties or listening at work. An FM antenna is also hidden away to magnify the reception of the W660i's internal FM radio.

ATTO ships SAS/SATA II RAID adapters

03/14, 10:15am

ATTO RAID adapters ship

ATTO has begun shipping its ExpressSAS R348 and R380 RAID adapters, simultaneously unveiling its SAS Advantage channel program. The ATTO ExpressSAS R348 low profile RAID adapter provides SAS/SATA II connectivity with integrated RAID support and flexible port configurations. The card features user-selectable port options such as four external and four internal ports, or eight internal ports as well as support for the PCI Express bus technology. The ATTO ExpressSAS R380 low profile RAID Adapter provides SAS/SATA II connectivity with transfer rates up to 3Gbps and integrated RAID support. The card includes eight external ports with PCI Express connectivity (pricing was unavailable).

Mailplane integrates Gmail into Mac desktop

03/14, 9:45am

Mailplane enters beta

An avid Mac developer has unveiled Mailplane for Mac OS X, a new Cocoa shareware application that integrates Gmail into the Mac desktop. Mailplane supports drag-and-drop file attachments, and automatically resizes photos when composing messages. The software features iPhoto integration, as well as Growl notifications. Mailplane is still in beta, and the developer is looking for testers to sign up for private beta registration. Pricing is still undetermined, and the application requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

Moto, Vonage roll out VoIP router with Wi-Fi

03/14, 9:40am

Vonage VT2542 Wi-Fi Router

Motorola and Vonage today started shipping the VT2542 router for the latter's VoIP service. The new switch is the first from Vonage to offer Wi-Fi: subscribers to the company's network can now connect laptops and other computers to the Internet while still freeing up space for four Ethernet-connected PCs and up to two analog phones. Like other routers, the VT2542 has support for secure wireless and VPN connections; however, it prioritizes voice data packets over others to guarantee phone quality above all else.

Vonage is already making its latest router available today for $60 after an instant rebate and subscribing to any of its phone service plans.

EU chief backpedals on iPod/iTunes

03/14, 9:20am

EU chief backpedals

EU representatives have backpedaled on statements regarding Apple's closed iPod/iTunes ecosystem, saying that previous statements were only meant to raise questions. Reuters reports that the European Union's consumer chief "soft-pedalled" her views on Apple, backing off the line that its iTunes online music store must become more compatible with other formats. EU chief Meglena Kuneva told a news conference there was no reason to talk about legal action against the iPod-maker and that her previous statements were merely made to "raise questions," according to the report. "I would like, really, to start this debate. What is best to develop this market and to have more consumers enjoying this really very important, very modern way of downloading and enjoying the music?"

Sony-Ericsson intros stunner W660i Walkman phone

03/14, 9:10am

Sony-Ericsson W660i

Sony-Ericsson on Wednesday provided an early start to CeBIT by unveiling the W660i. In contrast to most Walkman music phones, the emphasis is on style: the gold-lined finish and colors (Record Black or Rose Red) encourage you to touch the phone, according to the cellphone designer. Nonetheless, the phone is said to be every part a true music player with a dedicated Walkman button, a music jukebox with album art support, and a bundled 512MB Memory Stick Micro with storage for more through a card slot. Photography is handled through a 2-megapixel camera in the back with a VGA camera at the front for 3G video calls.

The tri-band GSM and UMTS phone should be available in the spring in Europe and other key areas for an unspecified price. Click through for a full profile shot of the phone in its distinctive Rose Red shade.

MediaREADY's BLINGPLAYER brings swagger to music

03/14, 8:15am

MediaREADY BLINGPLAYER

MediaREADY late yesterday introduced the BLINGPLAYER. The company claims the new jukebox is as much a fashion statement as a functional player: the main body is studded in crystals, and hangs around the neck by a stylized chain with dogtags. The device itself is also more advanced than other players in the class, with a 1.8-inch screen and support for MPEG-4 video as well as more conventional MP3 and WAV music tracks. An FM tuner and voice recorder are also part of the package.

A single version of the player with 2GB of flash memory is due to ship in April for $199; the company adds that the player will be available at clothiers and jewelers as well as electronics shops.

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