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Pantech C3b comes to AT&T
First announced at the CTIA expo in March, Pantech's C3b phone has been picked up by Cingular/AT&T. Essentially identical to the basic C3, its main upgrade is Bluetooth, which should of course allow wireless sound and data transmission. Other features include e-mail and MP3 ringtones, as well as support for instant messaging clients by AOL, MSN and Yahoo. The camera on the phone only handles VGA resolution, but it does have a flash, and can rapid-shoot up to nine images with a single shutter click. The C3b is $200 unlocked, or just $20 with a two-year contract and a $30 mail-in rebate. [via SlashGear]
Refurb MacBooks gone
Apple's supply of reconditioned MacBooks has once again disappeared, but the company is still offering one MacBook Pro model alongside one refurbished Mac Pro system. Apple's 17-inch 2.16GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook Pro ($1,999) includes 1GB of DDR2 memory, a 120GB SATA hard drive, a slot-loading DVD±RW/CD-RW SuperDrive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics card with 256MB of video memory. The remaining Mac Pro Quad 3GHz Intel Xeon ($3,299) includes 2GB of DDR2 memory, a 250GB SATA hard drive, a 16x double-layer SuperDrive, and an ATI Radeon X1900 XT graphics card with 512MB of video memory.
Collanos Workplace 1.1
Collanos has launched an update to its signature application, Workplace. The software allows employees to work together online, by organizing tasks, sharing documents, and engaging in active conversations. Variants are available for the Mac, Windows and Linux. The v1.1 update adds two major features: the first is the Conflict Bin, which saves older versions of files, allowing them to be restored if someone in a group accidentally deletes them. The second is the Central User Directory, which is intended to link every user of Workplace worldwide, and should allow some work to be completed even when offline. The Mac program requires Mac OS X 10.4.2, as well as Java Runtime Environment 1.5.
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Leak
Lenovo's upcoming Santa Rosa update to its ThinkPad X-series has leaked today through two premature news releases from the company's own website. The X61 Tablet and ultraportable each use Intel's latest CPUs and gain the benefit of faster X3100 graphics and 802.11n Wi-Fi. Each also shares the same Bluetooth, 120GB hard drive, and 2GB of memory with the option of a 1GB Turbo Memory flash cache.
Body Glove kickstand case
Famous mainly for its swimwear, Body Glove has launched a new iPod case, simply dubbed the iPod Case with Kickstand. It fits 30GB, 60GB and 80GB video iPods, and as its name might suggest, it has a stand built into its belt clip which allows it to stand upright on a flat surface. If the clip proves more of an obstacle than help, it can be removed. Meanwhile, the case itself is made of Body Glove's "Ion" fabric, which stretches to fit iPods while protecting them from water and surface damage. The Kickstand is now available at Wal-Mart for $20.
HP 530 Notebook
Slipping out quietly among the company's Santa Rosa updates, HP has launched its simplified HP 530 notebook. Although one of the company's least expensive notebooks, the 15.4-inch system borrows design cues from the tx1000 to add an element of style. Either system keeps prices down with 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive as well as Celeron M or Core Duo processors.
CardRaider 1.2 adds RAW
Ecamm Network has released CardRaider 1.2, an update to its program for recovering photos from memory cards used in digital cameras. Any type of card is supported, so long as it can be accessed from a USB-enabled reader, or a camera with a connector cable. Users can choose to scan and save separately, or automatically save everything, with the added ability to export directly to iPhoto. Conversely, images can be deliberately sabotaged to be inaccessible. Version 1.2 introduces the critical feature of RAW support -- compatible formats extend from major manufacturers such as Canon and Nikon, to more niche companies such as Leaf and Sigma. The software requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, and costs $20 for the full version. A 1.9MB demo is also available.
MSI Santa Rosa Notebooks
Electronics giant MSI has revealed a sweeping change to its notebooks that will add more than one of the benefits of the Santa Rosa architecture from Intel. The 17-inch GX700 (shown) will have both one of the faster processors at 2.2GHz as well as a 1GB Turbo Memory cache that uses flash to speed booting and responsiveness in Vista Home Premium. Intel's 802.11n Wi-Fi will also be onbard. Gaming is also a focus with the desktop replacement and includes a 512MB GeForce 8600M GT for strong 3D. MSI hopes to further ship the GX700 with an HD DVD drive, 2GB of memory, and a 1.3-megapixel camera.
Giga-Byte today announced the first-ever shipping mini DTX mainboard, allowing enthusiasts and system builders alike to start creating systems. Codenamed Churchill, the board packs features normally reserved for larger desktops in cases smaller than large books. A builder can fit either an Athlon 64 or a Sempron desktop CPU in the system as well as PCI Express X1 and regular PCI expansion cards. Up to six Serial ATA drives can fit in the system while as many as eight USB 2.0 ports provide room for outside peripherals. The need for expansion is reduced thanks to integrated SiS graphics as well as surround-sound audio.
Flash-based Apple laptops
Apple is planning to release a new notebook with solid state flash memory "soon," according to sources cited by Macworld UK. The Cupertino-based company is destined to release an ultra-portable thin 13-inch MacBook with an LED-back lit display, no optical disc drive, and on-board NAND flash memory that is thinner and lighter than existing MacBooks, according to AppleInsider, which should launch late this year or early next year. Industry watchers speculate that the portables will make use of Intel's new Santa Rosa laptop processor, which implements support for solid state memory that can boost laptop battery life and startup times. Apple CEO Steve Jobs earlier this month in an open letter to the public revealed that the company plans to introduce its first Macs with LED backlight technology this year.
MS Word Open XML converter
Microsoft today released its standalone, drag and drop MS Word Open XML file converter for Office 2004 for Mac. Helping users transition to the new Office Open XML file format, the company said that the standalone, drag and drop converter was developed as a provisional solution until the final, integrated converter is available. The new converter provides read-only access to Office Open XML files and converts Word documents to a Rich Text Format (.rtf) while offering both individual and batch file conversion.
TiVo Swivel Search
TiVo today released Swivel Search, a new software feature for its DVR boxes. Similar to the indexed searches in Mac OS X and Windows Vista, the feature lets owners find content beyond just immediate titles. Owners can search shows based on hidden tags such as actors, the description, and user-submitted suggestions; the search list updates as users type and will show both all the available programming to record as well as related shows. The service will also find content beyond the TV programming guide such as TiVo-delievered podcasts and movies or TV shows bought through Amazon Unbox.
Ableton Live Lite to Full
Ableton has announced that an upgrade package, called Live Lite to Full, should now be available from instrument dealers around the world. Live Lite is a "crippled" version of Live 6, and mainly comes bundled with equipment from companies like Digidesign, Korg and Tascam; by buying Live Lite to Full, the missing features are restored. Some of these include unlimited audio and MIDI tracks, unlimited effects and plug-ins, and high-quality multitrack recording (32-bit, 192KHz). MP3, FLAC and Ogg Vorbis formats become supported, as do things such as ASIO, ReWire and Core Audio. Finally, buyers get a copy of the Essential Instruments Collection sample library. The software costs $420 (€380).
Vista Sales Halved
Microsoft today revealed that it had sold 40 million copies of Windows Vista in the 100 days since its late-January debut. Company founder Bill Gates made the statement at the opening of Microsoft's WinHEC conference, and noted that many of the copies sold were versions above and beyond the standard version; 78 percent of copies were for Home Premium or higher, he said. The figure was cited as proof of an increasing shift to digital media in most computer users' lives.
AutroPrice for QuarkXPress
Meadows Publishing has released a new version of its AutoPrice application, which now supports QuarkXPress 7.0 Universal Binary. AutoPrice enables catalog publishers to link documents directly to a database, which ensures that both print and online publications are updated with the very latest price information. It can also be used to update other figures, such as timetables and telephone numbers, so long as the information can be referenced by a key value, such as a product number. To order a new copy of AutoPrice, buyers must contact Meadows directly. (Pricing not available.)
Maxtor 1TB Prototype
Seagate's sub-brand Maxtor today unveiled a new, prototype version of its 1TB Shared Storage II network drive for the home. This special version of the hard disk uses a slew of new technology to streamline the sometimes difficult setup for network disks. A combination of Plug and Play Extensions (PnP-X), a network finder, and web services would let even novices find and use the storage, Seagate says: the drive will self-configure to appear on a network disk without requiring web tools or software. Web services also run in the background on the drive and can broadcast the status of the drive to small web-based utilities such as Windows Vista's Gadgets. It should be possible to monitor free space and backup progress on the Secure Storage II purely in the background, according to the company.
Samsung F200 at FCC
Several Samsung phones are likely to reach the US, according to FCC filings. The Ultra F200 has recently been approved by the US agency and should bring the swiveling handset to those who may prefer it to the dual-sided UpStage (F300). No changes have been listed for the device, though it's now known to be a GSM device that would most likely arrive on AT&T or T-Mobile rather than Sprint. Bluetooth is present and may be accompanied by a camera given diagrams. No release date accompanies the FCC update, though a release is expected within the next few months that may include the US.
Napster on Motorola phones
In a bid to further extend its influence, Napster has formed a partnership with Motorola, who will soon begin promoting the former as the main way of downloading music to its phones. The first step will be an offer of a free month of the Napster To Go subscription service, which gives access to over three million songs, although in the US, these disappear when a subscription ends. European customers will have access to five permanent downloads when they sign up.
Promotions will apply to both existing and out-of-the-box phones, and network carriers as well as retail shops. Unfortunately for those against DRM, all tracks will be in the protected Windows Media format. Retail offers are set to be launched in Europe and the US in the second half of 2007.
CrossOver Mac 6.1 released
CodeWeavers today released CrossOver Mac 6.1 and CrossOver Linux 6.1, improving Windows 3D game performance with quicker speed frame rates. CrossOver Mac enables Mac owners to run Windows software on a Mac by sidestepping the entire Windows environment with all its accompanying issues and vulnerabilities. The update enables Outlook users to work remotely using RPC over HTTP, and adds support for more games such as Call of Duty 2. Popular Windows applications supported by CrossOver Mac 6.1 include Microsoft Office, Viseo, and Project as well as Quicken and QuickBooks. CrossOver Mac 6.1 is priced at $60, and requires an Intel-based Mac.
Microsoft Expression Media
Microsoft has unveiled Expression Media, a new professional asset management tool that works on Mac OS X systems to visually catalog and organize digital assets for retrieval and presentation. Users can drag-and-drop to import more than 100 different media formats, including digital RAW files. Expression Media features batch processing to rename, convert, or tag hundreds of files at a time while offering search functionality to find and retrieve digital media assets.Users can edit images and track changes with version control, and folder watching keeps catalogs up to date. Microsoft Expression Media is priced at $300, but is available for pre-order from Amazon.com for $280. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
Samsung on Tuesday afternoon upgraded its SyncMaster LCDs with the 225UW, an enhanced version of its recent 22-inch LCD. The updated design is built for video conferencing with a 2-megapixel webcam integrated at the top as well as dual microphones that help cancel out background noise. Samsung also promises a two-port USB hub for peripherals and the choice of either DVI or VGA for the display signal. As with recent 22-inch displays, the 225UW boasts a 700:1 contrast ratio and a quick 5ms pixel response for gaming and movies. Pricing and availability for the new display haven't been announced by Samsung, which is aiming today's announcement at the US market.
Panasonic has officially released its latest Blu-Ray player, the DMP-BD10A. The primary upgrade is the support of 7.1 surround formats, namely DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD, both of which are becoming increasingly prevalent. DTS, Dolby Digital and Digital Plus are supported as a matter of course.
The player can also read the H.264 video codec, and be controlled through a single button when matched with compatible Panasonic EZ-Sync components. Some buyers, however, may be persuaded by the player's disc bundle, which includes five titles: Crash, Fantastic 4, Transporter and the first two Pirates of the Carribean movies. The BD10A should be available today for $600.
Images of the Sky IM-U200
Pantech's high-end Korean division, Sky, has let slip images of its latest cellphone, the IM-U200. The device marks a radical departure from even the likes of the R200 or the IM-U170, since it is perhaps the only phone in the world which closes by twisting -- allowing the main screen to remain visible. In theory, at least, this could provide a more compact way of watching video.
The 200 also has an unusual numberpad, with raised concentric rings that may make it easier to "feel" buttons without accidentally hitting a divider. No other information is available, despite the fact that the phone is expected to launch this month. Click below for both available images. [via Akihabara News]
Mac mini mod, 3G/EVDO
Recent speculation suggested that Apple may incorporate 3G wireless technology into its future notebook models, but tests from EVDOinfo.com reveal that all currently shipping Intel-based Macs may already support EVDO. "Over the last few months, we have been doing our own internal testing," the site wrote, concluding that all current Intel-based Macs may already support EVDO. "It isn't a pretty solution, but it works!" Testing started with an Intel-based Mac mini, which testers modified by removing the built-in AirPort card and inserting a Novatel Expedite PCI Express Mini Card Module -- which was previously activated on a supported laptop -- in the AirPort slot. After bypassing a hardware check and installing Apple's WWAN update for EVDO, a dialog box popped up showing the internal EVDO card as recognized.
Moto RAZR 2
Updated with official photos Motorola today introduced the RAZR2. Also known as the V9, the stainless steel clamshell is even thinner than the iconic RAZR by 2mm but stronger thanks to the use of the stronger material. The phone is also the first of its kind to include dual large screens: a 2.3-inch main display on the inside handles main features, while the outside screen is a full 2-inch LCD with dedicated music controls. Its external display is large enough to display album art and full-sized contact photos without crowding out essential information, Motorola says.
Alcatel C825 Vintage
Alcatel today added a new media phone to its C-series phones. The C825, better known as the Vintage Slider, is meant to recall classic electronics with a copper and chrome look; even so, it also pushes advanced media with MP3 playback and dedicated music controls directly below the screen. A 128MB microSD card helps users get started, the company says. Stereo Bluetooth and a 1.3-megapixel camera with USB webcam support round out the phone's media features.
The Vintage is a tri-band GSM phone and should reach Europe first in June or July. A North American release is possible given Alcatel's presence in the US, but wasn't included as part of the announcement.
Sony Europe AV receivers
A trio of new Sony AV receivers are set to debut in Europe. Already available for $200 is the STR-DG510, a basic model which only features the company's Digital Cinema Auto Calibration (DCAC) technology, plus HDMI switching, meaning that multiple inputs can share a single HDMI output.
It's the STR-DG710, due later this month, which introduces the more original features, such as an HDMI repeater and the Digital Media Port -- a connection on the back which allows phones, Walkmen and WiFi/Bluetooth receivers to be attached through separate modules. Bravia Theater Sync obviates the need for an extra remote, if the other components are compatible Sony products.
Motorola Ships Q8 and Q9h
Motorola today confirmed that it was at last shipping the Q9h, its upgrade to the popular Q that brings 3G wireless as well as Windows Mobile 6. The phone is one of the fastest in the class, according to the company. Its 256MB of RAM is double that even of faster phones such as the Samsung BlackJack, and it can download equally quickly: a 3.6Mbps HSDPA modem can download a song online in ten seconds versus 20 or longer for most cellphones, which even in 3G mode often manage only half the transfer speed. The 2-megapixel camera is also the best among thin smartphones, Motorola says.
Belkin Network USB Hub
Belkin today unveiled its Network USB Hub (site not updated) that works with existing wireless routers to access printers, media readers, and external hard drives. The hub simulates a direct USB connection that makes devices on the network appear attached directly to a computer, and special caching techniques allow for support of high-speed USB devices as well as isochronous transfers at full speed. Belkin's software also allows users to transfer control of USB devices on the Hub between computers. The company is planning to ship the new device in late June with launches in Asia, Europe, and Australia to follow. Mac drivers are slated for availability in September. Belkin's Network USB Hub is priced at $130 with five USB ports.
Wacom this morning took its tablets in a different direction with the Bamboo, one of its first designer tablets. Made to look like a luxury Japanese pen set, the A6-sized drawing surface also has a circular trackpad for scrolling through images and other documents without interrupting the drawing process; programmable buttons surrounding the pad will also perform specific actions on command. The pen can also quickly change roles, Wacom adds. A button on the side switches to a gesture mode that controls the computer without affecting the drawing area onscreen.
Sony BX40 and LA3
Following the US release of the VAIO FZ, Sony today refreshed three portables and one desktop in Europe, all of which will point to future American updates. The AR40 (pictured) is the fastest update, bringing Intel Santa Rosa architecture with either a 2GHz or 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo and up to 320GB of storage spread across two drives. The company has also made a major change to its unique media center desktop with the LA3; though based on Intel's earlier Merom generation, the all-in-one sees a major boost in storage with a 320GB hard drive as well as 2GB of RAM. A 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo and GeForce Go 7600 video provide enough performance for HD video and recording analog video through a TV tuner.
Kensington on Tuesday morning launched the QuickSeek FM Transmitter for iPod, a new audio broadcaster it says eliminates the manual hunting for a clear station that often mars the experience. The namesake technology can automatically scan through and find the clearest station in the area, saving the trouble of skipping through individual stations. Owners can also set three presets for stations they know they can use. Although compatible with any FM stereo, the QuickSeek is built for cars and includes a 12-volt car charger that can power all fourth-generation or newer iPods as well as generic USB devices.
McCartney on iTunes
Apple today announced that Paul McCartney's new album, "Memory Almost Full" is available for digital pre-order beginning Tuesday exclusively on the iTunes. iTunes customers pre-ordering the 13 track album in the US will receive the "Dance Tonight" music video when the album is delivered and the single "Ever Present Past", immediately upon pre-ordering the new album. Additionally, Paul McCartney's full catalog of 25 solo albums will be available for the first time digitally on iTunes later this month. "Paul McCartney is one of the greatest musicians of all time, and we're extremely excited to offer his first digitally distributed album on iTunes," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO.
Apple updates MacBooks
Apple today updated its MacBook consumer notebooks with faster Intel Core 2 Duo processors, 1GB of memory and larger hard drives in every model. The entry-level MacBook now features 1GB of RAM,a 80GB drive, combo drive (CD-RW/DVD) and a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 processor for $1,099, while the SuperDrive-enabled model features 1GB of RAM, a 120GB drive, and 120GB drive for $1,299. The black MacBook adds a larger 160GB drive for $1,499. Update Apple's online store is back online after the announcement early Tuesday morning.
Fujitsu 250GB Laptop Drive
Fujitsu today began shipping the MHY2BH, the highest-capacity 5400RPM drive yet available for notebooks at 250GB. The drive is quiet at 24 decibels when idle, and is also miserly by consuming no more than 1.9W of power at peak activity. Unlike the slower 300GB drive, the blend of capacity and effectiveness doesn't come at the price of size, according to Fujitsu: where the earlier drive is 12.5mm tall and meant for desktop replacements, the MHY2BH is only 9.5mm high and capable of fitting into thin-and-light notebooks.
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