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Optunis today launched ChromaKeys 1.0, a program used to quickly remove or mask portions of an image. Chroma keys may be used for a variety of purposes including background removal for photographs, general purpose image masking, icon generation, cutting out portions of an image, and creating irregular shaped images: "Using ChromaKeys, instead of just selecting a single color to act as the chroma key, you can choose several colors (each with a tolerance). In fact, we can just select a region of the image, and obtain all the colors within that region to act as chroma keys," the company explained. "We can also mark areas of the image as opaque, to ensure that the main image will remain intact in those areas. Conversely, we may also mark other areas as transparent." A single-user license for ChromaKeys is available for $50. ChromaKeys is available as a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS X v10.4.
Snippet Monkey, Mellel
Snippet Monkey 1.3 ($15) enables users to create shortcuts for frequently-typed phrases. Phrases are called snippets, and the application supports creating new snippets from the clipboard or via a snippet editor. The update improves speed, and fixes several issues related to Adobe Flash 8 editor as well as TextMate.
[Download - 1.4MB]
Mellel 2.2 ($50) is a $20 upgrade to the word processor for Mac OS X, adding styled auto-title titles as well as scan in document bibliography integration. The latest release includes sync support in bibliography, a specific bibliography section, markers, and various font effects such as fill and stroke as well as underline and strikethrough control. [Download - 12.5MB]
Magic Dice 1.5.0 ($10) brings native Intel-based Mac support to the dice-based game. Magic Dice consists of thirteen rounds, at the end of which the player with the highest score is the winner. The update is built on the new Yenco.com Framework 2.0.0, which contains more than 50 enhancements. The update also includes more than 30 modifications such as a more refined interface and new player icons. [Download - 3.4MB]
Audiocorder 5.1.0 ($20) updates the application that allows a Mac to act as a sophisticated audio recorder. The latest release adds new features for recording telephone audio from a modem, including the ability to send dialing and other touch tone instructions via AppleScript. Audiocorder 5.1.0 also includes several bug fixes. [Download - 430KB]
Flash Cards 1 (free) is designed to help users practice retaining knowledge on any subject using text phrases and picture-based flash cards. Text phrases are drawn from a table in the phrase maintenance window, while pictures are chosen from a folder created by the application. A setup window enables users to set the time a text phrase or picture is displayed on-screen, as well as the period between displays and the text color/style. [Download - 3.3MB]
CutX Content Filter 3.1 ($50) is an extended site blocking plug-in for Apple's Safari Web browser. The plug-in optionally blocks pornography, offensive content, hate sites, questionable chat rooms, and other specified content. The update improves performance as well as reliability, and features an updated user interface alongside a new option to always enable CutX for no administrator accounts. [Download - 3.3MB]
Apple TV QuickTime option
Apple quietly added a new option in the most recent version of its QuickTime Pro software that supports conversion for the company's forthcoming Apple TV. QuickTime Pro owners this weekend discovered that a new "Export to Apple TV" option offers an easy way to convert videos into resolutions supporting the set top box due to ship in "mid march," according to AppleInsider. Choosing the new option offers a choice to reformat videos to a DVD-like 720x404 widescreen image, as well as high-definition 1280x720 video that plays at 24 frames per second. The latter format matches the maximum size of H.264 movies supported by the Apple TV, taking up approximately 2GB of space per hour of video. Apple has yet to provide any indication of whether it will offer videos through its iTunes Store at resolutions above the current 640x480 supported by its fifth-generation video iPod, according to the report.
Parrot MK6100 amp/display
Bluetooth specialist Parrot has announced the MK6100, a combination display and amplifier for cars meant as much for music as it is for cellphones. While it can be used to dial and receive calls without taking a phone out of its pocket, it also supports A2DP audio, which is pumped through a 30W amplifier into a car's speakers. Similarly, the wireless remote features special music controls that communicate through the AVRCP standard. This means that the 6100 can take advantage of any audio source, so long as it has Bluetooth output. The display additionally has a text-to-speech function, which can read contacts aloud while users are driving. The 6100 should be on sale in North America in the second quarter of this year. [via TechDigest]
Apollo Alpha released
Ahead of its much anticipated CS3 launch (to be webcast) later this month, Adobe has released an alpha version of Apollo, its cross-operating system runtime that allows developers to leverage existing Web development skills to build rich internet applications. Apollo is designed to enable developers to create applications that combine the benefits of Web applications, network as well as user connectivity, rich media content, ease of development, and broad reach. The software includes drag-and-drop support, rich clipboard access, and desktop as well as system shortcuts. Apollo applications run as regular applications, and don't have to run within another application or shell as Web applications run within a browser. The alpha version of Apollo runtime offers developers the opportunity to begin building applications for Apollo. Additionally, lynda.com has launched free video training for Apollo Alpha on Adobe Labs.
Global IPTV standard comin
Companies from around the world have announced the Open IPTV Forum, geared to develop a global IPTV standard, says Reuters. Major founders include the likes of Ericsson, Philips, Samsung, Siemens, Sony and France Telecom. One of the major problems of IPTV has been the divisive range of possibilities, from the number of codecs available, to the level of DRM (if any) that might prevent rampant piracy. If the Forum succeeds as planned, an initial standard could be ready by the end of the year. Notably absent from the group however are Microsoft and Alcatel-Lucent, which occupy leading positions in the IPTV market. Likewise, no filmmakers or TV production companies are participating. Should the three sides fail to support each others' initiatives, IPTV may remain fractured between different providers.
Sony chief on Apple
Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer said he wouldn't bet against Apple's chief, and and talked about how Sony missed out on the portable music boom. Stringer, who joined Sony in 1997 and became the company's chairman and CEO the following year, said Sony had its own portable music player before Apple debuted its first iPod. "In 1997 we were working with IBM on electronic music distribution and could have put this out five years earlier [than iPod]," Stringer said. "But we couldn't get our people to understand software. And we are a music company. They saw digital media, panicked and didn't like it." Sony later unveiled a closed music system that failed to perform the way the company had hoped.
Doosan Prime AP760
Doosan today took the wraps off its new Prime AP760 translator. As the company's new flagship, the laptop-shaped handheld is designed to cover virtually every aspect of visiting a new country, especially English-speaking nations: of the 103 dictionaries onboard, 41 are solely for English, the company says. The translator further adds a pronounciation guide and a touchscreen to the 4.6-inch display for recognizing southeast Asian characters.
Some multimedia options are also there for longer trips: MP3 playback is supported either from the internal stereo speakers or a set of earbuds, as is voice recording. Doosan ships the AP760 with a 1GB removable SD card on April 15th for $307 in its native Korea, though the company also has a shop for English-speaking customers that may offer the device soon.
EarthLink WiFi phone test
Even as VoIP phone services become more prevalent, most of them are still based on landline Internet connections. EarthLink is poised to disturb this with an upcoming beta WiFi rollout, possibly as soon as tomorrow. Testing of a phone by Accton Technology has already been conducted on EarthLink's Anaheim network, but despite successes, is only now being considered for a wider test. The primary issue with WiFi phones is likely to be reliability -- while wireless disruptions to games and web browsing may be acceptable, customers may not be willing to tolerate the same with critical voice calls. [via CrunchGear]
Philips DCD 778 iPod TV
Continuing its announcements, Philips has unveiled the DCD778. The entertainment system fastens underneath a kitchen cupboard to provide media in live or pre-recorded form: while an ATSC/NTSC hybrid tuner covers TV and an AM/FM tuner handles radio, a side-mounted iPod dock relays the audio and video of Apple's music player straight to the swiveling 8.5-inch LCD and fixed stereo speakers. A DVD drive further handles movies (including VCD/SVCD discs) and MP3 CDs.
Compatible with every fourth- or fifth-generation iPod as well as the smaller iPod mini and nano, the DCD 778 should be available as of next week at an official price of $400. [via iLounge]
Political spoofs use Apple
A recent spoof of Apple's famous 1984 advertisement that introduced the company's computers to the masses carries a powerful political message against U.S. senator Hilary Clinton, while another spoof of an Apple event pokes fun at current U.S. political decisions overseas. The mashup of Apple's 1984 ad promotes senator Barack Obama, and signals a new era with a fresh wave of politics, according to SFGate.com. Additionally, a comedy skit recently aired on a popular TV show featuring a mock Apple special event where an actor posing as Steve Jobs reveals an 'iRack.' The product appears flimsy, and members of the audience begin questioning its stability as well as the intelligence behind 'filling up the iRack' with more 'things.' The actor posing as Jobs also throws money at the iRack, much to the dismay of the people acting as Apple's shareholders.
Kajeet Kids Phones
Appealing to the rapidly expanding number of children who want cellphones, Kajeet has recently launched as a new cell carrier in the US. The company says that it understands the intelligence of children and gives them access to as many features as possible while still giving control to parents. Phones with the provider support both AIM chats and SMS texting rather as well as calls, and come with a set of stickers to help personalize their looks.
Pay-as-you-go service is the key to keeping the activity in check, Kajeet says. Calls are 10 cents per minute, while SMS texting is 5 cents; a web portal lets parents create virtual wallets to prevent children from overrunning a daily limit and to let parents top up an account if necessary. It's also possible to set 'blackout' periods when the phone can't be used at all, the provider says.
First Italy Apple store
In brief: MacNN has reviewed Trampoline from Old Jewel Software, the first continental Europe Apple Store is set to open on March 31st, Adobe announced that it will webcast its Creative Suite 3 launch event, and iCompositions is giving away 101 royalty-free Apple Loops. Old Jewel Software's Trampoline 2.0.2 ($20) replaces the dock functions in Mac OS X, enabling users to hold the option key and press the space bar to bring up a transparent radial menu centered under the mouse cursor. The software can activate with the press of a mouse button or custom hotkeys, and initially loads all of the same icons that are in the Mac OS X dock. Customizable features include the number of icons that appear in the menu, as well as the order in which items appear.
Philips 598 Music Phone
Known more for its home phones, Philips today released a new cellphone. The 598 clamshell is tailored to music lovers, the Dutch company says. Dedicated buttons on the outer shell control music playback, and MP3 playback is supported for songs either on the 128MB of internal memory or on microSD cards.
Simultaneously, the phone's software caters to stereotypically feminine needs: a shopping list tracker on the 598 helps manage discounts, and tools help calculate a person's body mass index as well as their metabolic rates. Calendaring and a dairy are also pre-installed on the phone, which is equipped with a 1.3-megapixel camera and Bluetooth for its European release in the near future. [via Uberphones]
Clevo GF8800-Based Lpatop
Clevo has been demonstrating its next-generation gaming notebook at CeBIT. The 17-inch M570RU will become one of the company's fastest desktop replacement systems, using mobile Core 2 Duo processors (versus the desktop chips of the D900C) but will have its own edge in graphics. Representatives at the CeBIT expo have confirmed that the system will use NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce Go 8800, boosting 3D speed as well as support for newer DirectX 10 and OpenGL visuals. A built-in subwoofer and 802.11n wireless should cement its media center credentials.
A release date for the M570RU hasn't been provided, but is anticipated shortly after the NVIDIA graphics chip is officially announced. Clevo's system is likely to appear in the US rebadged by companies such as Alienware or Sager. [via NotebookReview]
Nielsen on the state of TV
A new study by the famous Nielsen Media Research reveals noticeable evolution in the American television landscape. The average home received 104.2 channels in 2006, the first year that the average broke the symbolic 100-channel barrier; this is despite long-standing promises of a 500-channel universe. Disappointing to corporations may be the fact that while the average number of channels tuned rose to 15.7 from 15.4, the number of channels actually watched has continued to drop, falling from 16 to 15.1. This trend has been continuous since at least 1995, when the average number of channels received was limited to 41.1.
The lineups of the broadcast networks (ABC, Fox, et al.) have mutated as well. The most dramatic shift has been in the number of sitcoms, which sank from 35 in 2005 to 28 last year. Drama shows increased their domninance by four to sit at 67, while variety shows slipped by two to 13. Nielsen also notes that there are no longer any suspense or mystery programs on the major networks.
Tangle puzzle game ships
M.C. Hot Software has released Tangle, a new addictive puzzle-based game of intersecting lines: the unique puzzle game dares the player to untangle a mess of balls and lines, offering a simple but increasingly difficult set of challenges for users' spatial thinking. "The objective of the game is to untangle the mess of lines presented before you. Grey lines are lines that are currently overlapping. To untangle them select a circle and drag it around. When all the lines are untangled you win!" The software supports an internet-based scoreboard to compete against your best times or against others around the globe. It also features fast-paced action using Network Multiplayer. Tangle is a Universal Binary and requires Mac OS 10.4 or newer. It is priced at $20 (free demo available online).
Japanese carrier SoftBank has picked up a new smartphone by Toshiba, the 911T. Befitting its competition, features are fairly substantial: it has Bluetooth, 1GB of onboard memory and a 3.2-megapixel camera, as well as a 1Seg TV tuner, and FeliCa transaction support. The phone also boasts a full complement of 3G functions such as video calls, which are delivered through WCDMA broadband. The 911T is now on sale in Japan in red, white, black and silver versions. [via Akihabara News]
Gotive H42 Widescreen GPS
Gotive at CeBIT today has unveiled its one-of-a-kind H42 GPS unit. Core to the design is an exceptionally wide 6.2-inch touchscreen that displays a large map even with a large amount of text information nearby. The long body needed for the design also gives it the distinctive option of turning into a mobile communicator with GSM phone functions built in for either lifting the H42 to your ear or using it as a speakerphone. Suitably, GPRS Internet is also packed in for basic Internet access.
TuneTagger 1.0 ($17) automatically hunts for complete song information as tracks play in iTunes, such as official CDDB listings, as well as lyrics and high-resolution (500x500) album art where available. Once information is located, a panel pops up to approve changes. The program can also scroll lyrics in real-time, and pop up a ratings panel for currently unrated tracks. TuneTagger windows fade away when not in use.
[Download - 682KB]
FoxTrot Personal Search 1.5 ($36) uses the same search engine as CTM's PowerMail to locate local files on a hard drive, generating faster results by using ranking and user-selectable categories. The v1.5 update allows tuning of the ranking system, and the inclusion or exclusion of literal strings and words. Users can also perform proximity searches. FoxTrot is a Universal Binary for Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later. [Download - 5.2MB]
Power Manager 3.6 ($27) controls power consumption on a Mac, setting schedules for functions such as startup, shutdown, and going to sleep. Functions such as automatic logout can speed along classes and business timetables. Version 3.6 supports the import and export of complete schedules, and the copying and pasting of events. AppleScript and Automator now better integrate Power Manager into automated workflows. [Download - 2.7MB]
iSpeak It 3.1 ($20) takes documents, web pages and RSS feeds and converts them into AAC or MP3 files, using Mac OS X's built-in text-to-speech conversion. The resulting output can then be synched with an iPod for regular delivery of content such as weather and news. The v3.6 upgrade improves PDF processing, enables the creation of audiobooks, and changes Directions support to directly tap into Google Maps. iSpeak It requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. [Download - 476KB]
Sente 4.2 ($130) simplifies browsing academic research papers by connecting to online archives and presenting them in an iTunes-like interface. Even when offline, Sente keeps local copies of papers and search results for ready viewing. Version 4.2 adds the Thomson Web of Knowledge/Web of Science databases, and can search OAIster using the SRU data source plug-in. While it requires Mac OS X 10.4, users with older operating systems can still download Sente 2.3. [Download - 18.8MB]
Bookends 9.2 ($100) is a Mac-only full-featured bibliography/reference and information management application for students and professionals. The software offers functions for locating, obtaining, managing, and using references to create bibliographies and footnotes. Version 3.2 brings enhanced interactivity and collaborative features with Mellel word processor, improved organization of groups and group folders, automatic import of reference information from PubMed when attaching a pdf, a revamped Internet Search interface, and more. [Download - 32MB]
SpamSieve 2.6 released
Michael Tsai today released SpamSieve 2.6, an update to the popular Bayesian spam filtering for Mac e-mail clients. The software "learns" what spam looks like, so it can block nearly all of it, according to the company. Using your Address Boo, it also learns what good messages look like, so it won't confuse them with spam. The developer says that while other spam filters get worse over time as spammers adapt to their rules, SpamSieve actually gets better. The software doesn't delete any messages--it only marks them in your e-mail client--so you'll never lose any mail. SpamSieve works with any number of mail accounts, of whatever types are supported by your e-mail software (e.g. POP, IMAP, Hotmail, AOL) and supports Apple Mail, Emailer, Entourage, Eudora, GyazMail, Mailsmith, Outlook Express 5, PowerMaiil, and now Mozilla Thunderbird.
Samsung WEP 420
Samsung continued its CeBIT introductions today by launching two new Bluetooth headsets. Similar to the earlier collaboration on the Serene cellphone, the WEP 420 (pictured) was designed with the help of Danish stereo makers Bang & Olufsen and supports their aesthetic with real functionalitty: a sliding cover not only hides the clutter of the call button but is also said to block interference, Samsung claims. The straight-edged charging cradle is also styled to work as an interior decoration. WEP 420 headsets ship in March for an unspecified price.
Sony CEO on Apple and PS3
Sony could have preempted the iPod years in advance, the company's CEO Sir Howard Stringer has revealed in a still-unaired TV interview. The chief observed that despite the company's major delay in entering the digital music player business, it had actually co-developed technology that would have beaten Apple and potentially changed the fate of the Walkman, which has suffered ever since the iPod's introduction in 2001..
"In 1997 we were working with IBM on electronic music distribution and could have put this out five years earlier [than Apple]," said Stringer. "But we couldn't get our people to understand software. And we are a music company. They saw digital media, panicked and didn't like it."
In brief: Ubercaster gets a final release date, tutorials introduce podcasting with GarageBand, a website converts work documents, and MacSpeech announces a TopXNotes bundle. While the Ubercaster beta is still active, ERS has already decided on an April 4th date for the retail program. In the time remaining before the end of the beta, users will be able to pre-order a license key for $10 off the $80 regular price. Ubercaster is designed to streamline the podcasting process, including tools for preparing, recording, editing and distributing a show. The program requires Mac OS X 10.4.4 and will run on both Intel and PowerPC platforms.
Small form factor PC designer Shuttle has just revealed the CarPC. Unlike its breadbox-sized desktops, the company's new chassis is specifically geared towards installations inside the often hot and narrow confines of cars. Only one small fan actively radiates heat; cooling fins around the majority of the case keep it cool under a seat or in the trunk. Power is also addressed with an intelligent system that runs the PC from the car's battery and safely turns off the system when the vehicle engine shuts down.
The base system will use a 1.83GHz Core Duo with Intel's dedicated graphics, DVI output, and 7.1-channel audio. Pricing and formal availability haven't been discussed. [via TweakTown]
Samsung P110 Message Phone
Samsung has used CeBit to unveil its P110 clamshell phone. More flexible even than the U740, the P110 revolves around an extremely adjustable display. The screen's hinge slides around either the front or side of the phone to make a more comfortable fit for text messaging on the QWERTY keypad or for calling; it also rotates for watching wide-aspect videos without having to tilt the phone's main body.
The pivoting design still allows for a VGA camera and Bluetooth 2.0, according to Samsung, although the firm doesn't explain storage options beyond the 25MB of built-in memory. The P110 will be available soon in Asia and Europe, though a tri-band 900/1800/1900MHz GSM radio prevents an immediate launch in North America. Larger photos follow after the break.
Transgear DVX-700 Type II
Transgear has revealed its DVX-700 Type II media hub, which it says is one of the most connected network media hubs available. The device is one of the few to directly integrate web videos, searching for (using a USB keyboard) and playing Google Video clips directly on a TV. Owners can also play and record DVDs -- including the raw VIDEO_TS folders, Transgear adds. The 3.5-inch drive bay at the front is also designed to transfer content even without a network: desktop hard drives can easily slide out of the hub to connect to a PC through a USB 2.0 enclosure. DVI and D4 outputs connect the receiver to TVs as well as computer displays.
Cowon D2 Reaches US
Cowon today confirmed that it would release the Cowon D2 within the US. Most of the features of the Korean version remain intact, which are highlighted by a 2.5-inch, 16 million-color touchscreen that serves as the main interface and keeps the player small. The Korean jukebox creator also pushes the sheer longevity and power of the D2 with an exceptionally long 52 hours of music playback, 10 hours of video, and 74mW output that helps drive sensitive headphones. FM radio and line-in recording are also supported, though T-DMB mobile TV is dropped due to the lack of US networks.
Creative Manager updated
Creative Manager Inc. has released version 8.4.05 of its flagship product, Creative Manager Pro. Two weeks ahead of schedule, the update brings integration with Apple's iCal scheduling software and Microsoft's Outloook, allowing users to send calendar meeting requests. It also adds preliminary support Mac OS X Leopard, Apple's forthcoming OS upgrade. Creative Manager Pro offers modules for project management, CRM, Digital Asset Management, billing and accounting, and extranet capabilities as well as offers support for document management, calendaring sharing, accounting and more; the internet-based software service works with both PC and Macs from any location over any connection or also can be installed locally on the client's own servers. The ad agency software and project management software is designed to help with developing new business, staffing, management, project implementation, accounting and financial reporting. Pricing starts at $370 per month for ten users.
Fujitsu LifeBook SSD
Fujtisu this morning became one of the first tablet PC designers to add flash-based drives to its lineup. Both the 8.9-inch, diminutive LifeBook P1610 and the 12.1-inch B6210 now have the option of either a 16GB or 32GB solid-state drive in place of their normal hard disks. While this shrinks the available storage, Fujitsu says the changeover is worthwhile for the users most likely to use a convertible tablet: the lack of moving parts guards against a sudden drop and also extends the amount of valuable battery life.
Both models are otherwise similar to their originals, with a 1.2GHz ultra-low Core Solo processor forming the backbone of their performance. Prices for the option weren't revealed but should command a premium over hard disk versions.
iTunes 7.1.1 on Vista
Apple says its latest iTunes 7.1.1 update, released last Friday, resolves a few more compatibility issues with Microsoft's recently released Windows Vista operating system. The company, which updated its iTunes support document for Vista users, says that iTunes 7.1.1 is "recommended for use with most editions of Windows Vista, however, Apple is actively working with Microsoft to resolve a few remaining known issues." The document notes that that ejecting iPod from Windows Explorer or by using the "Safely Remove Hardware" feature in Windows Vista may corrupt an iPod and that Microsoft is working on a software update for Windows Vista which addresses this compatibility issue.
MicroNet's 4TB NAS server
MicroNet on Monday unveiled its Platinum NAS 4.0, offering a new 4TB (terabyte) capacity for SMB (small-to-medium business) network attached storage: "The Platinum NAS 4.0 delivers an optimal blend of capacity, performance, and high-availability in a simple-to-deploy and easy-to- manage solution that provides up to 4 TB of shared network storage capacity, giving customers one-third more capacity while consuming one-third less energy than competitive products," the company said. The solution offers true hot-swappable disk drives for zero down time operation and supports RAID levels 0, 1 and 5, including one-to-many RAID 1 mirroring. In addition an integrated backplane boosts signal integrity and eliminates the need to daisy-chain disk drive cables. MicroNet said Platinum SAS 4.0 also features support for uninterrupted online RAID initialization and simultaneous online RAID expansion and RAID level or size migration.
BenQ P860 Camera
BenQ today introduced the second model in its Performance series of cameras with the P860. Its compact frame hides an unusually strong 6X optical zoom; this is equal to a 37-222mm lens on a 35mm film camera and great for long-distance shots, BenQ says. Optical stabilization is also onboard for sharpening close-up and nighttime scenes.
The company further promises 640x480 movie recording at a full 30 frames per second, ISO 1000 sensitivity, and SDHC card support for when the 18MB of internal memory and the normal 2GB limit of SD cards runs out. China, Italy, Russia, and Spain will receive the P860 by the end of March with prices to vary. No indication was made as to whether or not other regions will see the camera at a later date. [via Let's Go Digital]
iPhone parts due in April
Components for Apple's iPhone are in production now and are expected to be delivered to Apple in April. The iPhone will reportedly use PCB (printed circuit boards) from Nanya Printed Circuit Board Corp, a Taiwan-based supplier. EMSnow reports that Nanya PCB is expected to land at least 30 percent of Apple iPhone's global orders and help boost the company's revenues: "Based on an estimated shipment of 10 million iPhones, Nanya PCB is very likely to score 30% of orders released by Apple iPhone, contributing NT$300 to 400 million to the company's sales revenue for this year and boosting the its profit margins in the second quarter and the third," the report claims. Confirming a production ramp of ahead of its anticipated June launch, reports indicate that Apple has also asked other component manufacturers to begin delivery of components to its Taiwanese manufacturing facilities by "early April."
Toshiba Gigabeat U
Toshiba on Monday launched its brand new Gigabeat U. Although a pocket-sized flash player, the device stands out for its FM music sharing feature: a combination of an FM radio and transmitter let the U series stream music wirelessly from one Gigabeat to another just by matching frequencies. The new jukebox also continues the Japanese tradition of direct audio recording and has its own line-in jack for recording from a CD or tape deck directly to MP3s.
Audio quality is stronger than one would expect for the class, according to the electronics giant, with a 1-bit DAC cleaning the signal for playback. A 96x96 battery-efficient OLED screen helps the tiny player display JPEG photos as well as keep its MP3/WAV/WMA playback running for 20 hours.
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