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Altec's 5 new speakers
Altec Lansing, a division of Plantronics, has unveiled a new line of Bluetooth wireless and corded speaker systems designed for use with MP3 enabled mobile phones, iPods, laptops and other portable digital devices. The company also introduced a set of speakers designed to attach to desktop flat-panel displays. The iMT521 SoundBlade Stereo Bluetooth Speaker features dual 2" full-range high output speakers and full stereo Bluetooth v.2 for wireless connectivity with most A2DP stereo Bluetooth mobile phones and laptops. It also comes equipped with AVRCP for two-way remote volume, mute and track forward/back controls from a cellular handset. Also included are a built-in echo-canceling microphone for wireless speakerphone capability. It supports both AC and battery (AA) power. The iMT521 SoundBlade will be available in November 2007 at $130.
Palm Treo details
We're beginning to get more glimpses of the Palm Treo 500, which carries the code name "Gandolf." As previously reported, the metal-accented smartphone will come in more than just the white, Windows Mobile 6 version shown in the past: a modified version of the Palm-created Garnet OS stripped of touchscreen support will provide an alternative for those who want different software. The unit will purportedly feature 3G wireless, a 240×320 screen, Micro-SD expansion, a 2.0 megapixel camera, and Bluetooth v2.0. [Image courtesy of WMExperts]
The Sims Pet Stories
Aspyr Media has announced that The Sims Pet Stories for Mac has begun shipping to retail outlets in North America. An expansion pack for The Sims, Pet Stories lets you train, play with, and care for your Sims cats and dogs. Features include two complete stories in directed story mode, a Pet Show, open-ended, and laptop-friendly gameplay -- featuring simple shortcuts and an all-new auto-pause. The creators say "Choose from two different stories in the directed Story mode, taking on a variety of challenges as you compete in a local pet show and learn that even pets have their own personalities. Unlock rewards as you achieve set goals for your Sims and their pets. In open-ended Freeplay mode, create your Sims and their pets, design their homes, and teach your pets tricks. You decide how their stories unfold." The pack is priced between $27 and $36 depending on reseller.
faster, cooler than stock
Other World Computing has announced today the immediate availability new PowerLogix G3 1.0GHz ZIF memory upgrades for PowerMac G3 'Beige,' G3 B&W, and G4 'Yikes' PCI Macs, priced at $140. The upgrades are compatible with Macs running OS 8.6 to 9.2.2 and Apple OS X 10.1.5 and later (including Mac OS X 10.4.x Tiger). The company claims the upgrade runs far cooler and uses far less power than the stock processor. It includes 1MB of 1:1 high-speed on-chip level 2 cache.
Mitac car/foot GPS units
Japan's Mitac is preparing two variants of the same basic GPS design, to be released on September 26th. Both the C523 and C525 Mio DigiWalkers have 4.3-inch screens, and come with 2GB of ROM, preloaded with map data. As normal, an SD slot allows expansion; atypical is a broader range of supported video formats, including 3GP and QuickTime, as well as ASF, AVI, MP4 and WMV. Supported audio types include MP3, WAV and WMA, though it cannot play DRM-locked tracks.
Sony BMG and Universal Music today fought back against declining sales of physical CDs with the concept of the "ringle." The album would include both the music of a traditional single, such as the main track and as many as two B-sides, as well as a ringtone edition of the song ready to use with a cellphone. Special deals will be in place to grant access to the ringtone when the CD is put into an Internet-connected computer. Prices would still be roughly in line with retail singles at between $6 and $7 each.
Samsung U470 at Verizon?
An anonymous source has suggested that Verizon Wireless will soon play host to the U470, a new phone from Samsung. Somewhat resembling the Ultra F200, the 470 is said to be extremely tall when opened, and have an unusual scrollwheel similar to knobs on high-end stereos. While its display is limited to 128x200, specifications suggest it will have a camera and a microSD slot, as well as stereo Bluetooth and new FlashUI themes. If real, the phone is expected to debut sometime next year. [via phoneArena]
Wyse X90 and V Class LE
Wyse today put a unique spin on its thin client PCs with the introduction of the X90 line of notebooks. In sharp contrast to almost any other notebook, the new 12.1-inch portables have no general storage of their own; the only local storage is a 512MB flash chip that stores an embedded version of Windows XP, with all information coming from a virtual environment provided across the Internet or a local network; Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or cellular broadband make this simple, Wyse says. The systems also break from tradition with a 1.2GHz ultra-low voltage Via C7M processor that offers enough performance for streaming video. The capability lets the system run as though it had all the capabilities of most full systems without the fear of a security risk if the system is lost or stolen, Wyse says.
New Sony e-book reader
Pre-orders have begun for the PRS505SC, Sony's latest entry into the young realm of e-book readers. It uses a six-inch, four-tone e-ink display, one said to be powerful enough that it can be read in broad daylight. An internal battery can handle up to 7,500 page turns on a single charge, and internal memory allows it to store up to 160 books, a number which can be expanded through SD and Memory Stick Duo cards. One of the primary purposes of the cards however is loading miscellaneous media files, including AAC and MP3 audio, PDF and Word documents, and a collection of image formats.
CIDTrackerX 1.2 ($15) Caller ID program for the Mac that can decode the caller ID information from a caller ID modem. It networks with other caller ID programs on Mac or windows using the NCID, YAC or Caller ID Sentry protocols. It has full Growl, AppleScript and Address Book support and can send an email with call details. The new release is also a Universal Binary. [Download - 4.6MB]
RapidoStart 2.0 (free) designed to quickly launch applications, open documents, or access folders. A discreet icon sits in the corner of your screen, and you click to activate it. A palette slides onto the screen, to which you can add your favorite applications (with a simple drag and drop), or of course, select them to launch them. The new release has multiple screens management, better categories management and more. [Download - 9.5MB]
VisualHub 1.27 ($24) Video conversion for nearly every format into modes compatible with iPod, PSP, DV, DVD, Tivo, AVI, MP4, WMV, MPEG and Flash. Based on the popular, award-winning "iSquint" conversion software for iPods. Features batch processing and more. The latest release includes full support for the new iPod nano and iPod classic. [Download - 4.7MB]
DiscLabel 4.4 ($33) CD/DVD label design software for Mac OS X. The update features an adjustable contrast option that will improve legibility when using a LightScribe drive to laser-etch designs on CD/DVD discs. Also added is additional media support including Pappa labels and UAL digital video labels. [Download - 14.1MB]
pop-pop 1.0.5 ($25) arcade game action with internetworkable combat with over 100 built-in puzzle levels. Also has a built-in Ambrosia game tracker that allows you to easily find other people to play against. "Pick your pop and enter the bright happy world of fierce brick-bashing combat, where your paddle is your weapon, and your pop-fu must be strong to survive." The new release is a Universal Binary that runs natively on PowerPC and Intel Macs. It is also compatible with Mac OS X 10.5. [Download - 22.1MB]
Plantronics Voyager 855
Plantronics on Monday rolled out a pair of Bluetooth headsets it hopes will sway cellphone users, particularly those who juggle both calls and music. The Voyager 855 is claimed as the first to be convertible between mono and stereo while also offering noise reduction. A second earpiece on a cableprovides full stereo sound for cellphones and other devices that support the A2DP standard for wireless stereo sound; detaching the cable reverts the headset to mono when the portability outweighs the passive noise canceling and musical advantages of the stereo attachment, Plantronics says. Leaving the stereo portion attached enables the AVRCP standard for remote controlling basic music functions over the wireless link.
MassTransit 5.1 released
Group Logic today released MassTransit 5.1, the latest revision of its enterprise software designed to simplify the exchange of digital files while ensuring accountability. The update makes it easier for untrained users to successfully send large folders to remote destinations, and adds support for Active Directory-based passwords as well as Single Sign On (SSO) for easy access to MassTransit's browser-based file transfer client. MassTransit 5.1 is a free update to all licensed MassTransit 5.0 users that have an active support contract (pricing and system requirements were unavailable).
Apple NOR Flash Squeeze
Demand for Apple products could be preventing mainboard makers from getting the flash memory they need for business, says a report from anonymous industry sources in Taiwan. Two higher-profile manufacturers of NOR flash memory, Spansion and SST, are said to have had their entire flash memory capacities filled with orders from Apple. Factories from Macronix and Winbond that are set to make the chips themselves will run at peak levels for "months" as a result, according to the claims. No definite end to the production increase is in sight and is expected to benefit companies that have recently increased their production levels, such as Macronix.
New Bluetooth Laser Mouse
IOGEAR today unveiled its Bluetooth Laser Mouse. The new mouse is usable up to 33 feet away via Bluetooth technology and functions on almost any surface via a VCSEL (Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Laser) light source. IOGEAR's latest device is covered with a Titanium Dioxide and Silver nano-particle compound that decreases the ability of bacteria to survive on its surface, according to the company, which deactivate enzymes and proteins of bacteria that would have otherwise survived on the accessory. The mouse boasts 1600dpi resolution, and is plug-and-play compliant. The Bluetooth Laser Mouse is available for $80 and is backed by IOGEAR's 3-year warranty.
iPhones unlocked for $100
A company called Wireless Imports has begun taking orders for software-based iPhone unlocking services at $100 a pop, allowing iPhone owners to subscribe to other cellular carriers like T-Mobile. All the iPhone's features work as normal, according to the company, with the exception of Visual Voicemail which is an AT&T-only feature. The software unlock works with firmware 1.02, according to Wireless Imports, and customers are not guaranteed that a future Apple update will re-lock their phones after the device is unlocked. "While we have taken all possible measures to ensure that the phone will remain unlocked, we can only guarantee the current released versions of updates (up to and including 1.0.2). With any of these versions, even if the phone is fully restored, the phone will remain unlocked." The company also says it has tested both voice and data features extensively in multiple countries using iPhones unlocked with its software. [corrected]
Sony 40GB PS3 Rumor
Sony is planning a new, relatively low-cost Playstation 3 designed specifically to tackle the price gap between the Blu-Ray console and Microsoft's $350 Xbox 360, according to an unverified report from a historically reliable source at Ars Technica. In addition to an expected price cut that would bring the new 80GB PS3 down from $600 to $500 once existing supplies of the 60GB are exhausted, the console maker would release a 40GB version for $400 -- the lowest price yet for the system and a $100 price difference versus the launch console of November 2006. Either the 80GB model or both would also come packed with a Blu-Ray copy of Spider-Man 3 as an incentive, the leak claims.
LG flash/HDD hybrid laptop
Korea has begun receiving the XNOTE E200, LG's latest laptop. A 12.1-inch model, its most notable feature is the inclusion of 256MB of flash storage, used to improve boot speed and program loading. Files are normally kept on a 120GB hard disk. The system is equipped with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of RAM, and has other notable touches such as an 800MHz front-side bus, a 1.3-megapixel webcam, and an HDMI connection for full 1080p support. More mundane features include three USB ports and a Radeon X1250 video card. The E200 is on sale for approximately 1,400,000 won ($1,492). [via AVING]
Gold MacBook Pro in works
Apple's MacBook Pro is receiving royal treatment with a gold-plated cover encrusted with diamonds. The Computer Choppers Team has offered a preview of its forthcoming gold and diamonds MacBook Pro. The casing is plated in 24kt gold gold to replace Apple's own notebook enclosure, complete with cutouts for ports and power connectivity. The classy notebook body also features a custom logo that allows glowing light to shine through the diamonds set into the back of the lid. Computer Choppers allows customers to customize the logo on each case to nearly any degree, with any combination of precious metals from gold to platinum and valuable stones varying from diamonds to sapphires. The company cites turn around time at 2-3 weeks, and requires that customers phone for a pricing estimate.
Sharp spreads 120Hz
The Japanese division of Sharp is releasing three new AQUOS D LCD panels. While all of them are 1080p-capable, their most important contribution may be a 120Hz refresh rate, usually seen only on higher-end TVs. Faster refresh is both easier on the eyes and more accurate in scenes of rapid motion. Each set also has three HDMI inputs, along with DVI-I, Ethernet and RS232C connections. Brightness is being rated at 450cd/m2, with a contrast ratio of 2,000:1; in practicality however, the contrast may be closer to 900:1. The 32-, 37- and 42-inch sets should ship on October 10th for 260,000 ($2,289), 300,000 ($2,642) and 370,000 ($3,258) yen. [via Impress Watch]
Enermax Jazz enclosures
The American division of Enermax has announced a new line of hard drive enclosures, the Jazz series (not pictured). A predominant feature of the enclosures is a "zero screw" design, allowing onwers of 3.5-inch models to quickly insert or remove hard drives. The units also have aluminum bodies and "waved" mesh covers, which should act to better dissipate heat. Extra conveniences include acrylic stands and three-color LED indicators. The 3.5-inch enclosures support either eSATA ($65) or SATA-to-USB ($55) connections; a 2.5-inch enclousre ($25) only supports SATA, but comes with a water-resistant travel bag. The Jazz line should begin shipping in early October from sites such as Newegg and ZipZoomfly.
Samsung Notebook 64GB SSD
Samsung today began shipping a new 2.5-inch, 64GB solid-state drive, becoming one of the first to ship a high capacity flash drive for notebooks in the US. The capacity doubles the 32GB of previous drives and gives owners the option of installing much more software while taking advantage of the greatly improved loading times and battery life of solid-state drives. It also produces very little noise and should be shockproof, Samsung says. The Serial ATA connection helps to both maximize the bandwidth available to the drive and let the drive drop into almost any modern notebook to replace traditional rotating hard disks.
iPod touch FM transmitter
iLuv has begun shipping its i707 FM transmitter for Apple's new iPod touch. The device is designed to complement the design of Apple's newest iPod, and integrates into most vehicle dashboards while running from an adjustable arm that plugs into the cigarette lighter, according to TechDigest.tv. iLuv's i707 FM transmitter provides powerful short range transmission while blocking interference from other radio sources, broadcasting the iPod's tracks over FM radio waves to the vehicle's built-in FM stereo. The company boasts near CD quality playback, and is selling the new transmitter for around $40.
Amazon.com adds new iPods
Amazon has added Apple's newly released iPods to its online store, and has issued a store news email notification to subscribers detailing the refreshed line of portable players. Apple debuted the new iPods at its special event on September 5th in San Francisco before announcing a new partnership with Starbucks and a hefty $200 price cut on its popular iPhone cellular handset. Amazon.com is offering Apple's iPod touch in 8GB ($300) and 16GB ($400) capacities, as well as the iPod classic with 80GB ($250) and 160GB ($350) of storage space. New iPod nano "fatty" players are priced at $150 for 4GB models and $200 for 8GB versions. iPod shuffles with new colors are also available from Amazon.com for $80 each.
Apple to join FCC auction?
Apple is another contender for the FCC's auction of the 700MHz wireless spectrum, according to two anonymous sources. The company is said to be studying the consequences of bidding on January 16th; if it won, Apple would potentially have access to wireless faster than any current cellular or Wi-Fi technology, with the added benefit of longer range and the ability to pass through buildings and harsh weather. This could be particularly relevant to the company's hardware, since the iPhone would no longer be dependent on carriers such as AT&T, and virtually all other products could tap into a 700MHz network for data. Such services would have to wait until 2009, the scheduled year of death for analog TV, which currently holds the 700MHz range.
OQO model 02 Upgrade
OQO today launched an upgrade of its model 02 UMPC, improving its speed and storage while also making the system more accessible. The 5-inch handheld now runs on up to a 1.6GHz Via C7M mobile chip, bolstering its performance in Windows Vista on the top model. Every model gets an increase in storage with a base model now climbing from 30GB to 40GB and the top versions climbing from 60GB to 80GB. A third option of a solid-state drive gives owners 32GB of flash storage that greatly reduces loading times and renders the system virtually skip-proof in the event of a fall.
Euro .Mac speeds crippled?
Apple's European .Mac service, which offers customers online tools that integrate with the company's iLife and Mac OS X software, is apparently crippling transfer speeds for users downloading iWeb websites as well as images from Web galleries. Confused European .Mac subscribers are flocking to Apple's own online for answers to their slow transfers. Forum posters believe transfers from iDisks complete at full speed, but that downloads from European iWeb web sites as well as galleries are throttled down to 80KB/sec. One user notes that US .Mac users receive full speed transfers in all cases, leading him to question Apple's overseas policy and why Europeans paying for Apple's service must succumb to choked downloads from much of their online content.
Eight new iPod Sleeves
Fabrix on Sunday rolled out eight new designs for its existing iPod Sleeves Collection. The company's cloth sleeves cushion Apple's various iPod models, protecting the devices from scratches and light bumps. Fabrix also notes that each iPod Sleeve is hand sewn to precise dimensions using quilted padding, snugly fitting its intended iPod model. New designs include "Spring Time," "Pink Fuschia," "Black Wallpaper," "Multi Stripes," "Swirly Pop," "Oriental Bloom," "Oriental Lavender," and "Oriental Paisley." Each sleeve comes with a small nylon loop that connects to keyrings or clips, and each new design is available in three sizes to fit the new iPod nano "fatty" as well as the iPod classic and iPod touch. Pricing starts from $20, and all of he new cases are already shipping.
AMD Quad-Core Opteron
AMD on Monday renewed its challenge to Intel with the advent of the Quad-Core Opteron, the first-ever true four-core processor based on the x86 platform and a design the chipmaker says is the most advanced of its kind. Unlike Intel's Xeon 5300 series, which grafts together two dual-core CPUs, the new Opteron is based on a real quad-core design with direct connections between each of the individual chips. This prevents cores from having to travel across the much slower system bus to share data and greatly improves performance in situations where more than two cores have to share work, AMD says. Each full processor also shares a 2MB L3 cache -- a technology just reintroduced to AMD chips -- and as many as three HyperTransport links that provide a quick link of up to 8GB per second between the processor and different devices on the mainboard. Overall performance has jumped by as much as 50 percent in floating-point and integer math compared to the best Opterons and Intel's Xeons even with a lower clock speed, AMD claims.
Acorn 1.0 released
Flying Meat today released Acorn 1.0, a new layer-based bitmap image editor built for simplicity. A fluid interface is designed to make iLife users feel comfortable when performing simple editing. The software features flood fill, gradients, vector shapes, drawing as well as erasing tools, and more. Acorn 1.0 also includes chaining filters alongside easy image and canvas resizing. "With plenty of power but zero bloat, Acorn will suit many needs. From quickly adding text to an image to creating a new graphic with pixel-precise control to just sketching out ideas, Acorn is great for all kinds of image editing." Acorn 1.0 is priced at $40, although the cost of the software will increase to $50 with the next iteration, according to the company. Acorn requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later.
BBC iPlayer for Mac OS X
The British Prime Minister's office has responded to calls for broader support in its BBC iPlayer software, opening the path to a Mac OS X version. A petition last week called on the British government to go beyond Windows XP, currently the only operating system for which the iPlayer beta is available. "The BBC," reads the petition, "should not be allowed to show commercial bias in this way, or to exclude certain groups of the population from using its services. The BBC say that they provide 'services for everyone, free of commercial interests and political bias'. Locking the new service's users into Microsoft Windows whilst ignoring those members of society who use other operating systems should does not fit in with the BBC's ethos and should not be allowed."
IK updates SampleTank 2.5
IK Multimedia is now shipping SampleTank 2.5, a free update to its sample workstation plug-in; the update includes new features such as an enhanced built-in multi-effects system with send and master effects, new high-quality studio reverb, and the ability to read all "Powered by SampleTank" instruments.. IK Multimedia has added an expanded FX system that now includes 5 new Master insert effects and 5 Send pre/post effects (in addition to the previous 5 effects per part). IK also added a high-quality reverb derived from the company's popular Classik Studio Reverb, bringing the overall list of available DSP effects to 33 -- more than any other sample-based instrument on the market, according to the company.
Studiometry 5.0 ships
Oranged Software's Studiometry 5.0 is the latest version of its complete solution for companies to organize, plan, invoice, track and create with Client and Project data. Version 5 adds new features such as summaries, multi-page invoices and reports, detailed estimates and comparisons and more. According to the company, the upgrade also takes older features and gives them new life with improved capabilities. "The main window, for example, now shows the number of outstanding invoices, incomplete to-do's, and running timers for each Project, giving users an instant overview of the company's current situation," the company said. Studiometry 5.0 is available now as a paid-for upgrade for $50 and includes free updates throughout the next until Studiometry 6 is released. The full version is $210 with additional licenses available for $130.
After weeks of built-up anticipation, Sony today officially announced its Rolly music player. As suggested by a recent teaser video and its own name, the Rolly is designed to move on the floor while it plays; listeners can either let the device adapt its movement to the beat, or use a motion palette editor to customize a particular routine and share it with others on the Internet. The football-shaped player also lights up with multiple colors and swings either of its arms to accompany the music. Movement can be turned off entirely for a desk or other small space, says Sony.
1 million iPhones shipped
Apple on Monday announced that it has sold its one millionth iPhone over the weekend. The milestone, recorded 74 days after its introduction on June 29, surpasses Apple's own "end-of-quarter" estimates and comes on the heels of a significant price reduction last week. "One million iPhones in 74 days-it took almost two years to achieve this milestone with iPod," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "We can't wait to get this revolutionary product into the hands of even more customers this holiday sea- son." The company previously estimated that it would sell 1 million iPhones -- the best-selling device among smartphones during the month of July -- by the end of the quarter.
Mac mini wireless upgrade
In addition to to its 802.11n upgrade announced earlier this year, QuickerTek has announced an advanced 802.11 wireless upgrade for Intel-based Mac minis, bringing support for 802.11a wireless (as well as the newer, faster 802.11n networking). The new upgrade, which can be installed by a user or by the company, provides 802.11 a/b/g/n compatibility for maximum network compatibility. It has an external antenna for 'a' wireless as well as three antennas for MIMO wireless, which the company said enables the Mac Mini to easily reach top wireless speeds not previously possible on accessible networks. The user-installed upgrade ($150) includes the high speed 802.11 upgrade card, external antennas, cabling, tools and illustrated installation manual - everything needed to install the Mac Mini upgrade. The installation service ($200) is available as well (and requires additional charges depending on the shipping option the customer chooses); the 802.11a/b/g/n wireless upgrade is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
SanDisk Sansa View Remake
SanDisk today announced its final shipping version of the Sansa View, the flash memory maker's first video-oriented media player. Following several months after the company scrapped the old model, the new version is aimed at the same audience as the third-generation iPod nano. Though it boasts one of the largest screens for a pocketable player at 2.4 inches, the device is just 8.8mm (0.35 inches) thick -- as thin as a pencil, SanDisk says. Unlike the Apple player which has received similar comparisons, however, the View adds an FM tuner with 20 presets and a voice recorder.
REALbasic 2007r4 ships
REAL Software on Monday released REALbasic 2007 Release 4, an update to the popular cross-platform development tool that focuses on modernization and stability. The company says the update brings over 80 improvements and nine new features including Ubuntu linux support, faster ODBC and faster database access. Release 4 delivers an updated ODBC plug-in that has been optimized to provide significantly faster performance, according to the company. In addition, the REALbasic database API is now "significantly" faster when iterating through a recordset using the Field function. According to REAL, when combined with the new ODBC plug-in, customers have reported a 20x speed improvement in the performance of some database operations.
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