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Panasonic 4x Blu-Ray discs
One of the first companies to release faster Blu-Ray technology is Panasonic, which has announced its intention to produce 4x recordable Blu-Ray discs to accompany an upcoming computer drive. Most Blu-Ray technology is still rated at the default "1x" level; Panasonic's technology will allow writing at 144Mbps, enabling 1GB of data to be transferred in a single minute. Both 25 and 50GB formats will be available, and another touted advantage is a new film layer, which should reduce write errors by 90 percent by preventing the accumulation of dust. Exact prices and release dates are as yet unknown. [via CDRinf]
Intel/Samsung PC contest
The winner of a Korean design contest sponsored by Intel and Samsung is the Egg, a PC designed more like a TV dinner tray than a conventional computer. Aside from fitting its keyboard underneath, the primary attraction is its modularity: to connect devices like a camera, disk drive or media player, users simply place them in divots on the top of the tray. High-speed wireless technology is used to transfer data.
Second place in the contest was the Turning Lamp, which is powered on by pulling a cord, and can switch between music, movie or general PC functions by rotating the 'lampshade' -- the computer itself. Another notable entry was B-Membrain, shaped like a wizard's hat, but actually fairly practical in that the cone is used to project the display. Photos can be seen by clicking below. [via AVING]
Deeda Pi iPhone Copy
IP communications firm Brevisys today generated controversy with news of its upcoming deeda handhelds. Each of the company's three new devices not only shares the same philosophy of an exclusively touchscreen-based interface but shares similar features and clear visual cues inspired by the Apple phone's interface.
[digg this] The most obvious parallel is the Pi, according to even the company's own claims. A 3.6-inch, 800x480 touchscreen controls both a phone as well as Wi-Fi Internet access, music, and video on 8GB of flash storage.
Intel's UMPC alternative
Intel is teasing the media with hints about its new Mobile Internet Device (MID) platform, which will be unveiled more fully at tomorrow's Intel Developer Forum in Beijing. MID attempts to remedy problems currently plaguing the UMPC market, namely high prices -- while the computers may be less expensive than most laptops, their broad featuresets have kept them priced more in the range of business users, rather than home ones. Intel's strategy involves scaling the computer back: using an embedded version of Linux rather than Windows XP Tablet, and shrinking the screen to four to six inches. The proposed processor is a dual-core model running between 600 to 800MHz.
Nokia WiMAX in 2008
Nokia today revealed that it would be the latest to jump in with WiMAX support, according to a statement it made at the Web 2.0 Expo today. Although 3G and 3.5G wireless technology have only taken hold in Europe and North America within the past one to two years, the Finnish cellphone creator already plans devices will use the 4G-level WiMAX standard to help make its widgets, web browsers, and other tools work at real speeds of 2Mbps or more away from Wi-Fi hotspots.
No devices were named, but the first should be ready in early 2008 to coincide with Sprint's WiMAX network in the US and similar deployments around the world. Nokia joins Samsung and Motorola in supporting the Intel wireless standard.
Sonnet SATA RAID systems
Sonnet today debuted its desktop Fusion D400Q and 1U rackmount Fusion R400Q SATA storage systems at NAB 2007, as well as its Fusion D500P desktop SATA storage system. Sonnet today also unveiled its Fusion D800RAID 8-drive and Fusion D400RAID 4-drive SATA disk array storage systems. The company's Fusion D400Q and 1U rackmount Fusion R400Q SATA storage systems feature four swappable hard drive modules that provide a total of 2-3TB of storage and connect to virtually any computer via eSATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, or USB 2.0. The Fusion D500P desktop SATA storage system includes a port multiplier alongside five swappable hard drive modules for a total of 2.5-3.75TB of storage. Sonnet's Fusion D800RAID 8-drive and Fusion D400RAID 4-drive SATA disk array storage systems each feature a PCI Express RAID host adapter with support for RAID 0, 1, 4, 5, 10, 50, and JBOD configurations in a quiet enclosure.
iPhone Development Snags
The Leopard delay announced last week may be a sign of software development trouble for the iPhone, according to checks with component makers by research firm iSuppli. The group found that part suppliers are still slated to deliver the ingredients for the Apple device on time, suggesting that all the problems with the device rest with its software alone. Apple reportedly pushed the iPhone's release ahead slightly from the rumored June 11 launch to late June to overcome the difficulty.
"We're hearing it's mostly an issue with the complexity of the device," said iSuppli analyst Jagdish Rebello.
Four new NEC LaVie laptops
The Japanese branch of NEC has expanded its LaVie series of laptops with upgrades to four different lines. The most powerful of the group is the 15.4-inch LaVie C, which supports WXGA+ resolution, and can be configured with several high-end components including a Blu-Ray player, a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor and a 512MB Radeon X1600 video card. An HDMI output is provided as well.
From there performance begins to drop dramatically, aiming at a more mainstream market. The L Advanced Type is limited to a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo and Radeon Xpress 1250 graphics; the J falls to a 1GHz Core 2 Duo, and the L Basic Type uses a Celeron M430 or Sempron 3400+ CPU, combined with a Radeon Xpress 200M. NEC does not sell its LaVie systems in the United States, although they may presage changes in the company's overall strategy. [via Akihabara News]
Cinema 4D for architects
Maxon Computer today launched its Cinema 4D package for architectural visualizations with seamless connectivity to Allplan, ArchiCAD and VectorWorks. In addition, the new Architecture Edition boasts extensive object and material libraries and the new Virtual Walkthrough tool, offering architects a powerful tool for creating impressive visualizations. The company said that the new interface offers more concise and easier to recognize icons, and includes practical new features such as collapsible manager windows as well as enhanced OpenGL display and greatly improved scene management and the layer management system. The Architecture Extension Kit includes libraries that are displayed directly in the Content Browser and contain over 300 furniture and decor items -- along with Human silhouettes, numerous useful outdoor objects and over 400 specially selected and optimized materials.
Pioneer AVIC-S2 GPS
Pioneer this afternoon upgraded its AVIC handheld GPS receiver with the AVIC-S2. Similar in some aspects to the 3.5-inch S1, the S2 adds a dedicated MP3 software player with a 10-band EQ for fine-tuning the music. The AV device maker also touts the S2 as a complete speakerphone replacement with Bluetooth, a microphone, and speaker saving the trouble of reaching for a cellphone to answer a call.
A 1GB SD card is bundled with the GPS system that stores complete maps of Canada and the US as well as 1.7 million points of interest. It should ship in late April at a price of $400.
Rendition for PS CS3 Ext.
NewTek today announced LightWave Rendition for Adobe® Photoshop, a new tool that provides photorealistic 3D render output for Adobe's Photoshop CS3 Extended. Leveraging the same technology as used in the feature film 300, NewTek's new tool will use the same render engine native to LightWave 3D to creative artists the ability to render models imported through Photoshop CS3 and deliver the richness of detail, textures and lighting attributes found in the original 3D object format. LightWave Rendition for Adobe Photoshop will be available for beta test participation beginning in May 2007. An early beta sign-up request form is available online.
MyCasting on Nokia N800
The Nokia N800 is the latest device to support Orb Networks' MyCasting technology, following other products like the Sony Playstation 3. MyCasting allows remote access to media on a computer, such as photos, videos and music. Users can also watch live TV, and even control software DVR functions, playing the results as they become available. The service is free, only requiring a program download and access to a WiFi point. Nokia is demonstrating MyCasting at this week's Web 2.0 Expo.
DXG 589V Game Camera
Camera producer DXG this afternoon rolled out its latest union of multiple devices into one: the DXG-589V is both a VGA-resolution video recorder and a 5-megapixel still photo camera, but also has consciously PlayStation-influenced buttons that combine with a swiveling LCD to turn the handheld into a gaming system with the 20 2D and 3D games sharing space on SD cards with images. The 589V adds yet more features as a portable media center with MP3 audio and MPEG-4 video playback as well as the ability to capture analog video from sources beyond the camera itself.
This latest entry in DXG's line is shipping for $200 with a bundle of image and media editing tools. SD cards up to 2GB in size are optional.
Blackmagic products at NAB
Blackmagic Design on Monday made three announcements at NAB 2007, including its Multibridge Eclipse editing solution (pictured at right), Intensity Pro high-definition editing card with HDMI, and HDLink Pro for monitoring of DVI/HDMI displays. Blackmagic says that As the third product in its external PCI Express capture and playback product line, it instantly switches between SD, HD and 2K, in 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 video quality. Multibridge Eclipse is the first editing system with 3Gb/s SDI, HDMI and analog video capture and playback, 16 channel audio, and 2K film via SDI resolution capture and playback.
Microsoft has unveiled a new online media platform dubbed Silverlight in an effort to take on Adobe's Flash player and its new Adobe Media Player. The Redmond-based company's new offering aims to serve as a platform for games as well as videos and animation, working on most Web browsers -- including Apple's Safari and Mozilla's Firefox applications. The software is scheduled for demonstration at the NAB conference in Las Vegas as Microsoft attempts to appeal to content companies with lower costs for media delivery, according to Reuters, as Silverlight already integrates with existing Web technology. Microsoft has already recruited Major League Baseball and Netflix to support its new technology.
2 and 4TB external storage
G-Technology has announced a pair of external storage enclosures with extremely high capacities. Peak storage belongs to the G-Speed eS, which supports up to 4TB using 7200rpm SATA II drives, and has a 3Gbps interface. A four-lane PCIe adapter is included. Reflecting the target audience of media producers, the enclosure is capable of multistream 1080/60i workflows, including 10-bit, 1080i protected-mode playback using two units and a RAID 5 configuration. It is both Mac OS X and Windows XP compatible, and should ship in June for prices starting at $999.
Intel Storage Server
Intel today released one of its few self-made PCs, this time focusing on pros and those with small businesses. The Intel Storage Server comes equipped either one or two Xeons -- including the quad-core Xeon 5300 -- making it one of the fastest two-unit rackable PCs available. The taller design also allows for major storage, topping out at a large 9TB of Serial ATA storage spread across a dozen drive bays. Eight RAM slots provide room for 16GB or more of memory despite the small size.
The server ships in a basic model without a hardware RAID controller for $2,800 with the choice of Linux or Windows; adding the RAID feature increases the price to $3,600. Both should be ready by May.
Atree UJ10 Jukebox
Gadget maker Atree was ambitious on Monday and revealed the UJ10. The device is not only one of the thinnest of its kind at 0.4 inches but boasts an extraordinary number of features for its size. Besides support for rarer audio standards such as OGG and a relatively large 2.2-inch LCD for MPEG-4 and WMV movies, the UJ10 also finds room for DMB mobile TV, an FM tuner, and voice recording.
The Korean firm expects to ship versions with 2GB and 4GB of flash memory in its home country at an unknown price, but is unlikely to release the media player outside of its home territory without removing DMB support.
New Panasonic pro video
Taking advantage of the ongoing NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention, Panasonic has revealed several pieces of pro video hardware, notably a collection of cameras. The AJ-HPX3000 is the new peak of the P2 range, costing $48,000, and being able to record 10-bit, 4:2:2 1080p video using three 2.2-megapixel CCD sensors. AVC-Intra support will come standard when the camera ships in September. Cheaper and more imminent is the AG-HPX500 (pictured), which only records up to 1080i, but supports 32 HD and SD formats and has four P2 card slots. Anywhere between 64 and 256 minutes can be recorded depending on the DVCPRO quality selected. The HPX500 will arrive in May for $14,000.
The Sims 2 Pets update
Aspyr Media today released a free update to The Sims 2 Pets, fixing an install issue with later expansions and object packs in the Sims 2 series. The patch also fixes a setting where changes to a Sims lot or neighborhood name would not be saved and wouldn't show up on the next launch. The update repairs color problems with several pieces of furniture, improves performance by adding multithreaded Open GL support, and fixes an issue where user settings would reset to default upon launching the game. Priced at $35, The Sims 2 Pets requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.
HaiVision Systems today announced that its OSCAR H.264 encoder now supports direct-to-QuickTime audio video streaming. The OSCAR is a compact H.264 MPEG-4 AVC encoder designed specifically for video streaming and IPTV applications that offers CIF, half resolution, and full resolution (SD or D1) encoding or decoding at up to 1.5Mbps. Users can direct the OSCAR to a QuickTime Streaming Server to accommodate a large number of unicast streams. Both the OSCAR encoder and decoder are already available, with the encoder priced at $3,700.
TomTom ONE XL GPS
TomTom on Monday at last unveiled the ONE XL, an adaptation of its streamlined ONE with a wide 4.3-inch, 480x272 touchscreen to replace the standard 3.5-inch (320x240) display. The extra space is useful for both the extra visibility of GPS map details and for a new feature: the XL brings in support for RDS traffic alerts that tie into the map and help avoid congested spots during a drive. Bluetooth 2.0 for hands-free calls is built-in with extra support for TomTom's location-based Buddies system for spotting nearby friends on the road.
The device maker is planning a worldwide launch in May with the US release of the XL priced at $400, whicn includes preloaded maps of both Canada and the US.
CalDigit unveils HDPro
CalDigit today unveiled its HDPro 8-bay storage solution (site not updated) with support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 6. The HDPro delivers up to 370MB/sec via RAID 5 and up to 400MB/sec in a RAID 0 configuration. The device offers from 2TB to 8TB of storage, and comes bundled with a host interface card as well as all the necessary accessories. The rack mount enclosure features swappable functionality for easy upgrades, coming standard with 3Gb/sec 7,200rpm SATA hard drives with up to 16MB of cache for high-speed applications. Each hard drive connects to a dedicated SATA channel to avoid bottlenecks and maximize the SATA connection, while a 10Gb interface to the host offers 2.5 times the bandwidth of 4Gb fibre-channel. CalDigit's 8-bay HDPro RAID storage solution is priced from $4,000 for a 2TB system, and includes a 3-year warranty.
ASUS GeForce 8600 GTS
ASUS today demonstrated its eagerness by prematurely revealing its first mid-range GeForce 8-series card on the web. Dubbed simply the EN8600GTS, the board will use NVIDIA's GeForce 8600 GTS chipset to bring all of the 8-series' features to a lower price, including 128-bit color and a unified shader model. A 675MHz core and 2GHz effective memory speed are confirmed by the news.
The particular card arriving from ASUS will carry 256MB of memory and dual DVI outputs with HDCP encryption for certain Blu-Ray and HD DVD movies. ASUS also promises bundled adapters for HDTVs and VGA displays, and optionally ships the card with a copy of Stalker. Pricing is unknown but should reach the $230 mark expected for the official release tomorrow, when the EN8600GTS and other cards should become available.
SanDisk Shaker MP3 player
Though remaining a "coming soon" page on the SanDisk website, Amazon.com already has a listing for the Sansa Shaker, a forthcoming MP3 player. Little has been revealed, but it does mark a radical departure from other SanDisk players such as the Connect -- immediately noticeable is the shell, which is designed like a musical instrument, and has volume and track controls located on rings at the top and bottom. These may be operated by rotating the rings, rather than pushing buttons. Also unusual is inclusion of a built-in speaker on top, and an undisclosed "Shake" feature, possibly some form of playlist shuffle.
The player will go on sale sometime next month, coming in blue or pink colors, suggesting that children are its main audience. Memory will initially be limited to 512MB, but this can be expanded with an SD slot. A price of less than $50 is suggested. [via Anything But iPod]
Mac Office converters
In brief: MacNN has reviewed the iSkin Duo for Apple's second-generation iPod nano, Apple has filed for its Apple TV trademark in the U.S., and Vietnam's largest company has opened the country's first store specializing in the distribution of Apple products. One MacBook Pro owner has posted instructions on modifying the portable notebook to take advantage of its newer graphics card, and Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (MacBU) is on track to release a beta set of Office 2007 Open XML to Mac binary Office converters next month, but says it will ship the final converters 6-8 weeks after Office 2008 launches. The iSkin Duo case ($30, shown at right) for Apple's second-generation iPod nano features an external hard plastic layer while offering access to all buttons and connectors on the portable player.
Intel Penryn Mobile CPUs
Intel kicked off its Developer Forum this morning by discussing its upcoming 45-nanometer Core 2 Duo mobile processors. Based on the Penryn architecture due late this year, the smaller manufacturing process allows for processors that run cooler, faster, and for longer than today's 65nm chips. The design will also bring SSE4 vector extensions for better media performance as well as improved power-saving technology. Despite the collection of advancements, however, Microsoft says the technology is in such an advanced state that its dual-core version of the chip was demonstrated today in a working notebook.
Nokia today claimed to beat its rivals to an important release with the introduction of Widgets, its own approach to mini applications on its Symbian 60-based cellphones. Much as with the iPhone and its Mac OS X roots, the Nokia Widget solution uses a combination of Ajax and other web technology to provide single-purpose mini applications: a WeatherBug tracker monitors temperatures and weather radar, while others cover Amazon shopping, chat, and other common online tasks.
Although demonstrated today, Nokia's technology will reach third-party developers by the summer and should result in finished widgets for the N95 and other phones running the more advanced Symbian version.
Apple ranks No. 121 in US
Apple jumped 38 spots to No. 121 on Fortune's annual listing of the top 500 US corporations. The company, which saw its revenues increase nearly 40 percent and its and profits surge by almost 50 percent from 2005, has a market value of $80.6 billion. Apple ranks fourth in its industry behind Hewlett-Packard (No. 14), IBM (No. 15), and Dell (NO. 34), but ahead of Xerox (No. 145), Sun (No. 187), and Gateway (No. 529). Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, reclaimed its spot as America's largest corporation on this year's Fortune 500 list, according to the most recent issue of Fortune Magazine. The retailer edged out Exxon Mobil, marking the fifth time in the last six years it has claimed the No. 1 spot. General Motors, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips rounded out the top 5, while Internet search giant Google jumped 112 spots to No. 241.
Jobs takes home $1 in 2006
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, once again, took home $1 as salary in 2006 and received no bonus, while Apple's chief financial officer took home millions, according to new SEC filings by Apple. The bulk of the Cupertino-based company's CEO compensation is from a 2003 equity stock grant that fully vested in 2006 and is worth nearly $1 billion. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer earned $56 million from the exercise of options during 2006 and also received a $615,000 salary along with a $450,000 bonus and restricted stock valued at $14 million. Apple's Chief Operating Officer Timothy D. Cook received restricted stock valued at $22 million, a salary of $697,000 and a $525,000 bonus for 2006, the filings reveal. Filings reveal that Apple received six shareholder proposals, including a proposal to urge Apple's board to adopt a policy allowing shareholders to vote annually on executive compensation. Apple's shareholder meeting is scheduled for May 10.
Toshiba 200GB Portable HD
Toshiba claimed to set records on Monday by launching its 200GB Portable External Drive. The storage figure is the highest ever achieved for a notebook-sized hard disk and can hold the entire media library of most users: Toshiba estimates as many as 52,000 songs or 88 DVD-quality movies. As with earlier storage, the 200GB model is bus-powered and comes with NTI Shadow backup software for automatically preserving files.
The 200GB black aluminum drive works with both Mac OS X Panther and Windows 2000 systems or later, and sells today for $230; Toshiba also sells lower storage capacities starting at 100GB for $130.
Sony XDCAM EX
Sony launched its efforts at the NAB video expo today with the XDCAM EX, a new budget pro video camera that marks one of the company's first high-end cameras with movement-free storage. The new XDCAM records raw MPEG-2 video at up to 50Mbps 4:2:2 to flash memory by using the faster ExpressCard 34 format found in modern Mac and Windows notebooks. Sony's own SxS high-speed cards can store up to two hours of HD video on a 16GB card (8GB will also be available) that can then be transferred to a portable in the field. Video is recordable at a full 60Hz in either 1080i or 720p with 1080p possible at 30Hz or a film-grade 24Hz.
Nokia 8800 Sirocco Gold
Hoping to add a level of luxury to one of its most popular cellphones, Nokia today launched the 8800 Sirocco Gold. Its whole body is plated in 18-carat gold with white gold highlights; taking a cue from its own Vertu line by coating the LCD in sapphire to make it almost entirely scratch-resistant. A matching Bluetooth earpiece and desk stand exist for those who want to complete the effect, Nokia says.
The Gold model carries the same hardware as other Sirocco Editions, with a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, and 128MB of internal flash memory. The special edition ships now for 1,000 Euros ($1,337) in some of Nokia's key markets. Click through for a larger shot.
Adobe Media Player at NAB
Adobe today announced the Adobe Media Player, a new desktop application that expands the company's internet video solutions. Leveraging Adobe's Flash architecture, the Adobe Media Player delivers more engaging video experiences to viewers while offering content publishers new abilities to distribute, track and build businesses around their media assets. A preview of the new player will be shown during NAB tradeshow in Las Vegas. Offered as a lightweight download, Adobe Media Player enables higher quality Flash format playback, the ability to download and view videos offline, full screen playback, one-click viewer ratings, and a powerful Favorites feature that automatically downloads new episodes of favorite TV shows or video podcasts. The cross-platform player is based on open standards, including RSS and SMIL.
More CS3 betas
In addition to shipping Creative Suite 3 and introducing its new Adobe Media Player, Adobe on Monday announced free public previews of Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, Adobe After Effects CS3 Professional and Adobe Soundbooth CS3 software, components of the recently announced Creative Suite 3 Production Premium, which is expected to be available worldwide in the third quarter of 2007. Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 is a major upgrade to the company's nonlinear video editing software tool. Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 is a major upgrade to the company's nonlinear video editing software tool for visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing for film, video, DVD, the Web, and mobile devices. Adobe Soundbooth CS3, released last October as a beta, is a new innovative and intuitive audio software tool for creating and editing audio and fixing common audio flaws using visually-oriented tools. All products support Intel-based Macs, while Adobe After Effects CS3 is also available for Macintosh as a Universal Binary application.
Adobe ships CS3
[Buy from Adobe] Following last month's launch, Adobe today announced the immediate availability of the highly-anticipated Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Standard editions and Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Standard editions. Available from Amazon.com, new releases feature tightly integrated, design and development software, bringing together Adobe and former Macromedia technologies. The company is now shipping the standalone versions of Adobe creative applications: Photoshop CS3, Photoshop CS3 Extended, InDesign CS3, Illustrator CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Dreamweaver CS3, Fireworks CS3, and Contribute CS3. The new Adobe CS3 applications and Adobe Creative Suite 3 editions are available as Universal applications for both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. Adobe also introduced its new Adobe Media Player and released public betas of Premier Pro CS3 and After Effects CS3.
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