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Word 2008 preview
Users eagerly await the release of Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, especially those that use Intel-based Macs, as this will be the first incarnation of the suite to include Universal application support. The suite has been redesigned to be more "available" to users, introducing a number of new elements, as well as reconfiguring old features to make them more obvious to new and regular users alike. While Office 2008 doesn't ship until the start of Macworld on January 15th, Microsoft has provided MacNN with a preview of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage ahead of the announcement.
Trojan removal tool
SecureMac has announced a free Trojan Detection Tool dubbed DNSChanger Removal Tool. DNSChanger Removal Tool detects and removes latest spyware targeting Mac OS X: DNSChanger Trojan (also known as OSX.RSPlug.A Trojan Horse). This trojan attacks users attempting to play a fake video file. Affected systems are used to hijack some Web requests that lead users to other phishing sites, or simply display ads for other pornographic websites to generate ad revenue. Phishing attacks may lead users to believe they are surfing to eBay, Paypal, or various banks when in fact they are accessing specially-crafted mockups designed to retrieve usernames and passwords for those sites. Upon attempting to play the video, the victim receives the following message: "Quicktime Player is unable to play movie file. Please click here to download new version of codec."
mStation cases, Orb II
mStation today announced several additions to its product lineup in time for CES 2008, with new iPod and iPhone cases and a new incarnation of its 2.1 Stereo Orb. The mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb II comes in several new colors that compliment the look and feel of the 3G iPod nanos, with a choice of the following: red, black, green, pink, and silver. The speaker system is compatible with any iPod and the iPhone, as well as being able to sync with iTunes through the included USB connection. Users can control the unit with a 10-key remote, or through the embedded controls on the Orb II itself. The mStation 2.1 Stereo Orb II will be available during the first quarter of 2008 for $130.
Macrovision, the company largely responsible for modern DVD copy-protection schemes, has officially integrated its technologies with CinemaNow to offer downloads of CinemaNow premium video directly to Macrovision-enabled consumer electronics devices. Users who have registered Macrovision-enabled hardware at CinemaNow.com can use those devices to watch movies, TV shows, and music videos from CinemaNow's online library of available programming, according to TWICE.
N95 gets YouTube, widgets
A new update for Nokia's 8GB N95 smartphone adds some features conspicuously similar to that of the iPhone. The v15.0.015 firmware firstly adds support for YouTube, which on the iPhone and iPod touch is given a dedicated browser; on the N95 however, users must visit the site through the phone's web browser. The update also finally lets N95 owners run web widgets, which are present on the iPhone in the form of the Weather and Stocks applications.
Verbatim SmartDisk Drives
Verbatim's contribution to pre-CES announcements is a significant overhaul of its SmartDisk portable hard drives. The new versions now top out at 320GB of storage but also offer the option of a combo FireWire and USB model; users can pick whichever format they can use. Both are completely bus-powered and run without the use of a power brick, making either an ideal choice for notebook owners whose carrying space is at a premium.
One-touch video transfers
Pinnacle Systems today debuted Pinnacle Video Transfer (site not updated), a device that record analog video onto any USB 2.0 storage device without the need for a computer. With the touch of a button the company says users with little or no technical expertise can record from a TV, DVD player, iPod, or other device to a USB flash drive or USB hard drive. Users can select three different recording levels for each device, opting for varying video qualities and sizes. Pinnacle Video Transfer will ship January 15th for $130, and includes three RCA audio/video cables as well as a power supply and a quick start guide.
nova media has announced Fone2Phone for Mac OS X, which will be shipping at Macworld Expo 2008. Fone2Phone is a utility that will copy data from an ordinary cell phone to the Macintosh computer in one streamlined operation. Jan Fuellemann, for nova media, said, "This little jewel takes care of the complete communication process, from connecting the cell phone to saving the files in the appropriate locations on the Mac." The tool has a simple wizard interface for copying contacts, events, tasks, notes, bookmarks, photos, music and movies from the old cell phone to the Mac.
Bluetooth dongle for iPod
Hitachi Maxell today introduced an SRS WOW HD-enabled Bluetooth audio transmitter (site not updated) for iPod to enhance sound quality of the portable player's digitally compressed audio and video files. The new Bluetooth-enabled dongle is compatible with all full-size iPods as well as iPod nano and iPod mini, and uses the proprietary Apple DIN connector that attaches directly to the iPod dock. The company offered no shipment details or pricing.
Pharos Trips and Pics
Pharos Science and Applications today announced a new geologging hardware product called Pharos Trips and Pics, which is designed to interface with any digital camera. Trips and Pics allows users to do a photo catalogue of their travels for personal or professional purposes. By using the iGPS-500 receiver with a pocket battery unit, users can upload the post-trip data to their computers through USB, where Trips and Pics presents a step-by-step set of download instructions. Pharos Trips and Pics will be available for purchase at major retail outlets in January for $90.
Parrot frame, vehicle kits
Portable electronics maker Parrot has begun shipping the DF7700, an unorthodox new photo frame. While nominally a standard seven-inch digital display, it ships with its own SIM card, complete with a dedicated phone number. This allows any cellphone owner, including friends and family, to upload to the frame from wherever they are, so long as they have been given the proper number. Over 500 images can be stored on the frame, and alternate upload methods include a USB port and an SD slot. At the moment however, the DF7700 is only being sold through a French wireless carrier.
Joby said today that it would take Bluetooth headsets upscale at CES with the Zivio. The company's first earpiece is not just comparatively stylish but one of the very few to offer a retractable microphone boom. Adding this extension improves outgoing clarity for a phone call in noisy conditions; with a shorter distance to the mouth, the microphone is less likely to be hobbled by strong winds, according to Joby. The Zivio is likewise purported to be easier to wear with a removable, ball-mounted ear hook that pivots to hang depending on the ear's shape.
Goldmund unveils Logos 3F
Goldmund today introduced its Logos 3F Subwoofer and Noise Eliminating USB Audio Input (site not updated). The Logos 3F boasts the same frequency response of 7Hz to 17Hz bandwidth as its older 3F sibling, but reduces its size to 12-inches for easy concealment inside interior walls. Goldmund's new USB processors use a multi-channel processor with up to 32 channels, extending to 128 channels. Pricing is currently unavailable, but the company says it will display the new offerings at the CES trade show.
QuartzCube 2 released
JS8 Media has released QuartzCube 2, an update to its configurable wide-angle rotating video cube software for Mac OS X. The latest release uses the HUD format in the inspector window, adds a cube rendering pause button to the toolbar, brings a snapshot item to the view menu, and improves Leopard compatibility. QuartzCube 2 is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
PMP Market Flat in 2008
This year will be the first that the world's dedicated portable media player market will show clear signs of having neared or reached its peak, according to a new study published by iSuppli. While growth in 2007 was already cooling off compared to the rush of early years, having edged 8 percent ahead year-over-year, 2008 will represent considerably slowed results. Predictions have sales income expanding by only 3.5 percent; the slowdown is expected to continue until at least 2011, where growth may be virtually non-existent at just 1 percent higher than it is today, according to the report. At least some of this can be attributed to lower-cost music players, which may sell in greater numbers but ultimately generate less revenue than in the past.
Corsair 32GB Flash Drives
Corsair vowed a new benchmark in removable storage today with a pair of extra-high capacity jumpdrives. Both the rubberized Flash Voyager and the water-resistant Flash Survivor both now hold 32GB of data, allowing users even in harsh conditions to carry a large amount of content without fear of losing it through a sudden drop. Roughly 16 full-length movies could fit on a single drive, Corsair touts. The storage is bootable and has enough space that users can fit both a core operating system and needed apps, effectively creating a virtual computer.
OpenMoko Linux phone
CES will signal the debut of the Neo FreeRunner phone, maker OpenMoko has announced. Though based on an existing phone called the Neo 1973 (pictured), the FreeRunner is touted as the world's first mainstream phone to run on an open-source software platform, beating out any rivals running Google's Android. It specifically uses GNU Linux, enabling any coder with the skill to write a third-party program.
The FreeRunner also represents a technical upgrade over the 1973, as it has a 500MHz processor, 3D graphics rendering, and an updated assortment of applications. 802.11b/g Wi-Fi enables fast Internet access, and some commands can be triggered through motion sensors.
CrushFTP 4.5, a significant update to the full-scale FTP server by Ben Spink, adds rolling account expiration days, better support for iCal calendar publishing and subscribing, a new report to notify when new files have been added to a users directory, and SFTP enhancements. Additionally the WebInterface now supports adding items to a download basket so that you can then download the entire basket as a single .zip file. Several bug fixes are also included in this version. CrushFTP 4.5 is a free update to registered 4.x users.
Entering an increasingly heated race for smartphones, ASUS today revealed that it will launch its P527 smartphone in the US. The candybar sequel to the earlier P526 not only includes true GPS for navigation but is designed to make better use of its mapping abilities than other devices. A Travelog feature can be especially useful for vacationers and workers alike, according to ASUS; when set, the software will mark travel points and save them in a format that can be used by Google Earth to plot a trip regardless of its distance. Emergencies are handled by a unique Location Courier feature that automatically relays coordinates to as many as five separate phone numbers through SMS text messages.
LaCie ups drive capacities
LaCie today announced that it has increased the capacity of its All-Terrain Hard Disk as well as its 2.5-inch Little Disk (shown at right) to 320GB. The full-size external drives, designed by Neil Poulton and Sam Hecht, are designed to make backing up and transferring data easy. Simple plug and play allows the drives to interact smoothly with any laptop or desktop computer''s USB or FireWire port to add increased mobile storage for all-types of digital media. Both the 320GB All-Terrain Hard Disk and 2.5-inch Little Disk (both start from $200) are slated for shipment in late January.
Westinghouse Wireless HDTV
Westinghouse on Thursday opened up its offerings for CES by unveiling what it says is the first-ever HDTV to be truly wireless outside of power cables: the unnamed set uses CWave's newly established Wireless HDMI format to avoid the clutter of cabling. Courtesy of ultra-wideband wireless and high quality video compression, the format is said to provide enough speed for 1080p images and surround audio without affecting quality. The technology will allow users to place HD movie readers and DVRs independently from the TV's own location.
Apple, Jay-z record label?
Rumors had circulated that rap star Jay-Z and Apple would together launch a record label, but a new report from the Boy Genius Report "just about" confirms a deal. Citing a "high-up" source attached to Jay-Z, the deal is said be a go. Jay-Z is allegedly happy with the business model and wants to go ahead with the plan. The implications of Apple forging its own music label would likely send tension thundering through the already-tenuous relationships between the Cupertino-based company and its music label partners selling tracks via the iTunes Store.
Six new iPhone accessories
Newer Technology (NewerTech) today unveiled its new NewerTech iPhone Accessory Line consisting of six devices, and promised to showcase the accessories at Macworld Expo in San Francisco later this month. NewerTech's new iPhone accessories include its iPhone Speaker Dock & Hands-Free Mic ($35, shown at right), Hands-Free Mic & Earbuds ($20), iPhone Mic Extender Cable ($15), Bass Response Earbuds ($20), iPhone Headphone Jack Adapter ($8), and its iPhone and iPod Auto Charger ($13).
New LG.Philips A4 e-paper
The joint company LG.Philips LCD says it has developed a new type of e-paper display, one which is claimed to be the best in its class. Although built in the standard A4 paper size, measuring 14.3 inches diagonally -- a format LG.Philips has already explored -- the new display is unusual in that it has a maximum resolution of 1280x800, slightly above the 720p HD ratio. It also has an abnormally high range of colors, extending to 16.7 million versus the frequently low-color or monochrome displays of e-book readers such as the Amazon Kindle.
A second Apple patent application, published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office, shows a new keyboard design that may change how some future Macs operate. Each key in the new layout has multiple OLED lights, which are tied to application-specific integrated circuits; the lights can form symbols specific to a command, and may in some cases be animated, across individual individual keys as well as whole groups. An unspecified form of tactile feedback may also be present.
HP MediaSmart and Vaults
HP wrapped up its primary batch of CES announcements with an upgrade to its MediaSmart HDTV equipment and MediaVaults. The HDTVs themselves now feature a refreshed look and 1080p resolution with every model as well as 802.11n wireless that ensures streaming even high-resolution video across a local network, including CinemaNow movie rentals. Its universal remote also controls as many as four different devices. The sets each bring three HDMI inputs and should be available in the spring, though HP has not supplied prices.
i2i music sharing device
Aerielle today launched its i2i Stream Digital Music Broadcaster, a device that allows users to listen to music wirelessly by streaming music content from any audio device. The company will demonstrate the device streaming CD quality sound for the first time at CES next week. "Whether it's friends hanging out and listening to a single iPod or the desire to stream music wirelessly to speakers in the home, the i2i Stream is the perfect solution," said Art Cohen, president and CEO of Aerielle. The i2i Stream is already available for $70, with 2-packs priced at $130.
Archos TV+ Leak
Archos is about to announce a dedicated media hub that should offer features simply not possible on the Apple TV or most other media hubs, according to a leak from UberGizmo. Called the Archos TV+, the extender will pull videos from the local network to the TV but will use its connection more intelligently than the current Apple hub: both Ethernet and Wi-Fi can be used to download content directly to the TV+ through an Archos portal site or to browse the web with a mobile version of Opera similar to that found on the Archos 605 Wi-Fi and other handhelds. A new remote will include both a directional pad, a trackpad, and a keyboard.
iMac-like notebook dock
An Apple patent application, disclosed by the US Patent and Trademark Office, may point to a radically new notebook docking station. The submission is entitled Integrated monitor and docking station, and depicts a device that solves two problems of current docks, namely the space and lack of convenient transport posed by having to hook up separate dock, notebook and display components. The Apple invention is essentially a "hollowed-out" iMac, into which users insert a MacBook completely from a side-facing opening.
HP tx2000 and HDX
As promised, Hewlett-Packard today continued its string of CES announcements with both an upgrade to its home tablet PC and its flagship gaming notebook. The tx2000 is the first major update to the 12-inch convertible tablet from HP and now brings an active pen input that simplifies drawing with a stylus compared to the simpler, passive tx1000. It also boosts speed with a 2.3GHz Turion 64 X2. The system will be available as of next week at a base $1,299 price with a 120GB hard drive, DVD burner, and integrated graphics.
Macworld gear expectations
Three main announcements will be made at Macworld 2008, according to Shaw Wu of American Technology Research. The biggest of these is the widely-anticipated subnotebook, which Wu notes will mark Apple's first such computer since the PowerBook 2400 released in the late 1990s. It is predicted that the new subnotebook will make use of NAND flash storage, not only increasing access speed but improving weight, reliability and battery life.
Moto DH01 and WiMAX
Motorola today launched an aggressive campaign to bolster its wireless offerings and began with its first handheld geared just towards mobile TV: the DH01 (pictured) will pick up digital over-the-air broadcasts using the DVB-H standard and allow users to watch without the restrictions of cable or satellite; it will also offer DVR-like abilities with both a five minute buffer for short breaks and an SD card slot that stores recorded TV shows or pre-recorded music, photos, and videos the user already owns. About 90 minutes of TV shows will fit on just a 256MB SD card, Motorola estimates. The built-in battery on the DH01 lasts for four hours of live TV.
Apple Q1 report on Jan. 22
Apple's report for the first quarter of fiscal year 2008 is due on January 22nd, reports say. The details will be webcast starting at 2PM Pacific Time, or 5PM Eastern. Expectations are once again fairly high, as Apple stock has teetered on the $200 mark, and as many as 24 to 25 million iPods may have been sold in just a portion of the last quarter. Furthermore, Mac sales appear set to exceed some consensus estimates by approximately 100,000 units.
Aiming directly at the same retail space dominated by the likes of Acer and HP, Lenovo today introduced its new IdeaPad line of notebooks. The company claims to borrow the build quality of the ThinkPad series but adds that the new range has features just for home users: every model has touch-sensitive media controls, Dolby Home Theater audio processing, and a facial recognition system that uses a built-in webcam for security and other features. The IdeaPads' construction is also unique among home notebooks: each has a "frameless" display that lets the LCD run nearly to the edges of the bezel, allowing the PC maker to place a large screen in a relatively small space.
Dell Crystal and Inspiron
(Updated with DisplayPort info) Dell on Thursday jumpstarted its CES efforts with one of its most unique displays to date as well as a reworked version of its most popular notebook. The Crystal is Dell's first designer LCD and is designed to be as unintrusive as possible while offering a full media setup: built with a glass frame about 4mm (0.15 inches) thick, the touch controls, wiring, and speakers are all built into the frame surface and allow Dell to create the illusion of a "bare" LCD without the associated clutter. Only one cable typically needs to leave the back of the screen, Dell says. Quality is also evident in the panel itself; though most 22-inch LCDs offer poor color reproduction, the Crystal supplies about 98 percent of the NTSC color gamut and produces a 2,000:1 contrast ratio without sacrificing a 2ms gray-to-gray pixel response time.
Netflix, LG set-top box
Online DVD rental service Netflix and Korean electronics-giant LG have announced that they are working on a set-top box designed to stream movie content directly over the internet to a television. Netflix has long said it wishes to branch out its internet movie delivery feature, which allows members to play content on their PC from a library of over 6000 movies and TV shows. Reuters reports that the device will function in a similar fashion to the PC internet streaming, where users that subscribe to Netflix' DVD rental service would also get access to the TV streaming service. LG says that the Netflix set-top box will be available at some point during the second half of 2008.
Hitachi 500GB laptop drive
Hitachi today unveiled two new large-capacity laptop drives, offering 400GB and 500GB sizes in a 2.5-inch format. The new drives will be slightly larger than a conventional laptop hard disk, rated at 12.5mm thickness versus the typical 9.5mm. The drives make use of a two-platter setup, and use two heads to read data from both platters. Hitachi adapted their Rotational Vibration Safeguard technology from its 3.5-inch drives to the 5K500 series, allowing the drives to anticipate bumps and compensate accordingly. The drives will be available in February, starting at $350 for the 400GB version, with the 500GB model sitting at $400.
HP unveils multimedia PCs
HP today unveiled four new desktop computers that it will be showing at CES 2008, three of which are designed primarily for home theatre owners while one is ideal for digital photo enthusiasts. The Pavilion Slimline s3330f uses a smaller tower chassis that is a third the size of a conventional PC. While small, the s3330f upgrades to an AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core 5400+; the option of a dual-format Blu-Ray/HD-DVD player allows users to view high definition movie content, and connects with home theatre systems through an HDMI connector. An integrated TV tuner allows television recording, and the Nvidia GeForce 8500 graphics card can run DirectX10 games. The HP Pavilion Slimline s3330f will be available along with the other systems in February for $950.
HP BrightView LCDs
In addition to four new multimedia PCs, HP is introducing two new widescreen LCD monitors at CES 2008. Using HDMI and VGA to connect with hardware, the w2207h and w2408h use HP's BrightView technology to provide vibrant image quality. The w2207h is a 22-inch model that supports a maximum screen resolution of 1680 by 1050; the display is also able to pivot 90-degrees for either a portrait or landscape view. Integrated speakers reduce desktop clutter, and the foot allows users to place their keyboard out of the way when it is not in use. HP will be shipping the w2207h in February, selling for $350.
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