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Pentax Optio V20
Pentax tonight ducked past the initial wave of camera releases this year and introduced the Optio V20. Though it runs at 8 megapixels versus the 10 or more of some high-end cameras, the point-and-shoot is balanced with a higher than average 5X optical zoom as well as a 3-inch LCD for composing shots. The camera producer also claims to deliver more intelligent electronics, with an automatic switch to macro mode, blink and smile detection to produce usable portraits, and autofocus that tracks moving subjects.
Analysts torn on iPhone
With Apple's recent introduction of the iPhone/iPod touch SDK, some analysts are torn on the device's corporate future, despite support for Microsoft's ActiveSync protocol. According to MarketWatch, the latest changes to the iPhone platform could make it more competitive with the RIMM BlackBerry platform, but analyst Toni Sacconaghi said the introductions may do little to change the iPhone's overall position in the smartphone market.
Surgient virtual lab
Surgient today unveiled a new version to its virtual lab management software, introducing a number of features that add to its support of heterogeneous and mixed lab environments. Version 5.4 adds compliancy with VMware ESX 3.5 systems, and Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 R2, as well as the integration of SOAP and command line interfaces into the SDK. Licenses for Surgients product lifecycle systems start at $15,000.
Aspyr Media has released The Sims Castaway Stories for Mac, the third release in the product line. The title has begun shipping to retail stores throughout North America. This Sim Story takes place on a tropical island. "Help them make a new life in an unexplored paradise in this easy-to-play, laptop-friendly version of The Sims." This title features two ways to play: a directed Story mode, allowing users to fulfill goals as they explore the island, build a shelter, learn to find food and make life comfortable as possible and an open-ended Free play mode, in which you create your Sims and determine how they'll evolve on their new island home. The Sims Castaway Stories is available now for only $30 through Aspyr's website.
QuickerTek Antenna Array
QuickerTek today unveiled the Time Capsule Antenna Array, a 3dBi tri-antenna which can be positioned anywhere to improve broadcast range and speed. The company advertises that the antenna boosts broadcast depth by up to 50-percent, allowing users to backup from a more distant location. The kit is available for both the 500GB and 1TB versions of Time Capsule, starting at $130 for a self-install kit, or $200 as installed by QuickerTek.
Intel on Nehalem, etc.
Speaking to the press in a conference call, Intel has revealed more details on some of its upcoming processor technologies. Among these is "Larrabee," an upcoming graphics chipset; while it should be integrated into motherboards, as Intel has done with most such efforts, the company says it expects to produce dedicated cards, raising the specter of competition with NVIDIA and AMD/ATI. Larrabee processors should scale to the multi-teraflop level, and will use a global cache shared by all cores. Larrabee products should begin shipping in 2009.
Sony-Ericsson rarely supplies North America with its highest-end phones, which makes the K850i a rare treat for the continent: it comes equipped with 3G Internet access, a 5-megapixel camera, and a media player that draws on Sony's experience with its Walkman players. Electronista has tested the phone and in its full K850i review learns whether the phone lives up to the ideal or falls victim to its own emphasis on features. The handset is already available today on Rogers in Canada and may be available soon through AT&T in the US.
Piper Jaffray on Apple Qtr
In a recent report, analyst firm Piper Jaffray predicts that Apple will sell between 9.7 million to 10.5 million iPods for the March quarter, based on the current street concensus of 10.8 million units. Senior analyst Gene Munster says the outlook is a slight boost from its estimates at the one-month mark, but still represents a 4-percent year-over-year decline, based on the midpoint. Munster says that the increase is most likely due to a price drop in the iPod Shuffle in February.
Two LG Vus coming to AT&T?
The LG Vu, scheduled to go on sale with AT&T sometime this year, appears to be coming to the wireless carrier in two different versions. An official list of the company's TTY-compatible phones points not just to a CU920, the Vu's standard name, but a "CU915," an apparent alternate version. Though both phones are identified as supporting AT&T's 3G network technology, nothing else is known about the 915.
Nokia 3555 hits T-Mobile
A new Nokia phone, the 3555, is now available through American carrier T-Mobile. Although a relatively basic phone, its primary feature is said to be support for T-Mobile's upcoming 3G network, making it one of the first compatible devices. Specifically, it is able to operate on the 1,700MHz WCDMA band, though there is no sign of a front-mounted camera for video calls.
Toshiba 128GB SSD RX1
Toshiba's Japan-only new Dynabook SS RX1 is the first ever notebook to offer a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), matching the storage capacity of conventional hard-disk drives with the speeds associated with flash drives. The model will be available about nine months after Toshiba also unveiled the first laptop with a 64GB SSD drive. In North America, the RX1's equivalent is the Portégé R500, already a holder of many "world's first" accolades.
Specs, photo of LG VX9700
New information has allegedly been revealed on the VX9700, an LG phone approved by the FCC and headed to Verizon Wireless. Among these are hardware features such as a 3.2-megapixel camera, using a Schneider Kreuznach lens; storage is said to be expandable with microSDHC cards, while sync can be conducted through a micro-USB port. Text can supposedly be entered in several ways, including T9 entry, multi-tap, or an on-screen QWERTY keyboard.
Europe DVB-H Standard
The European Commission today said it would make DVB-H an official standard for mobile TV on the continent. Previously ratified late last year, the decision asks any European Union country to push the Nokia-made standard above others as the primary choice for digital, over-the-air TV for cellphones and other devices that can pick up the handheld standard. Officials say the decision was made in part because DVB-H has the strongest presence in Europe and is already in service in Italy, where rival standards are currently limited to tests. Allowing multiple standards to float around the market would only hurt business, the Commission explains.
Canada Wireless Bidders
The Canadian government today introduced a list of bidders in the upcoming wireless auction that is expected to determine the future of the country's cellular industry. The auction is now known to include several newcomers under different operating names, such as Videotron owner Quebecor Media, Manitoba's MTS, and western telecoms firm Shaw. However, large existing carriers such as Bell Canada, Rogers, and Telus are also joining the auction.
Microsoft appeal denied
The US Supreme Court has denied a Microsoft appeal aimed at defeating an antitrust lawsuit, writes the Associated Press. The suit was originally launched by Novell in 2004, and accuses Microsoft of having "deliberately targeted and destroyed" WordPerfect and Quattro Pro with the purpose of preserving the monopoly of the Windows operating system. Both applications continue to be sold under the aegis of Corel, but no longer hold the marketshare they once did.
Acer game console?
Typically associated with notebooks, Acer's plans for next year include some form of game machine, according to the company's senior vice president. James T. Wong explains, however, that the company is not merely working on a performance-tuned Windows PC, but something intended to compete with the current crop of dedicated consoles. Furthermore, the machine is expected to be based on "open standards," a term which may refer to the Linux operating system.
Moto Drops Two Executives
Motorola has quietly dropped two of its key executives, the company revealed today in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. The company's European head of Mobile Devices, Mike Fenger, has been replaced by former regional sales VP Stephen Nolan; Larry Raymond comes from the retail chain Sears to occupy the role of treasurer, replacing Steve Strobel. The shift is "part of an overall plan to swiftly transform the senior executive team," according to a company spokeswoman.
Primatte Keyer 4 ships
Red Giant Software has launched Primatte Keyer 4, the latest edition of a program that extracts keys from backgrounds for the sake of movie production. It is compatible with DV and HDV video, and can fix issues such as uneven lighting, compression artifacts and problematic shadows. Though earlier versions only supported Avid and After Effects, version 4 now supports Apple's Motion and Final Cut Pro, and can operate directly from the timeline using 32-bit processing.
Apple Dual-Side Touchpad
Apple has developed a technique that could allow for a smaller iPhone with all the controls but half the size, according to a recent WIPO international patent filing. Described as a "dual sided trackpad," the primary variant on the invention would have a translucent cover with a capacitive, multi-touch trackpad that accepts input on either side and can activate controls depending on the pad's position.
Toast 9 Titanium ships
Roxio has released Toast 9 Titanium, the latest version of its disc burning software for Macs. The new version brings with it a number of upgrades; among these is Blu-ray support, including the ability to copy both computer files and raw video across multiple discs; some compatible video sources include TiVos, EyeTVs and AVCHD camcorders. HD video can also be burned to standard DVDs. The HD/BD plug-in will eventually cost $20 extra, but it is temporarily free through April 13th.
Google on MS Yahoo Bid
A successful Microsoft takeover of Yahoo could potentially impact the open nature of the Internet, Google chief Eric Schmidt said today. The head of the search engine giant is "concerned" that Microsoft's ownership would result in the use of proprietary technology and curb a diverse market that comes from web standards that work in any device or browser.
Apple Liverpool superstore
Apple is building a new "superstore" in the English city of Liverpool, a regional business publication reports. The specific location is inside the Liverpool One shopping center, a £1 billion project expected to open on May 29th; while little is known about the Apple Store itself, other outlets in the mall are said to feature design touches such as metallic walls and special sign lighting. News of the store's development is said to have been kept secret for months, but revealed today by One's management company.
Samsung Miniskirt Season 2
Turning its updates into a yearly refresh, Samsung on Monday released the Miniskirt Season 2, also known as the C225. The slider phone replaces the original C220 and adds a handful of features in addition to a suite of new colors. The 2-megapixel camera is one of the few to provide a smile detection for portraits; also new to the phone is haptic (vibration) feedback from the touch-sensitive buttons and a feature that finds meet-ups in SMS messages and adds them as calendar events.
AP Express adds 802.11n
Confirming some earlier rumors, Apple has officially updated the AirPort Express Base Station with 802.11n Wi-Fi. The technology is claimed to be as much as five times faster than the 802.11g used on the previous generation of AirPort, with twice the range. The update compliments 802.11n upgrades to other Apple products, including the AirPort Extreme router and its most recent Mac computers.
Win Mobile Gets Adobe Tech
Adobe on Monday revealed that Microsoft has licensed Flash Lite 3 and Reader LE. The move gives Windows Mobile devices support for web-based animation and video through Internet Explorer Mobile and allows viewing PDF documents both in the browser as well as through Outlook e-mail. The addition will help make Windows Mobile smartphones more "vibrant" with media, Microsoft says. No timetable has been given for when an update will appear to install Flash Lite and Reader LE, though Microsoft's own Silverlight is believed to be ready for Windows Mobile by mid-year.
BenQ this morning hoped to upturn the LCD business with the launch of the V2400W. Purportedly inspired by the B-2 stealth bomber, the 24-inch LCD's casing uses a new plastic injection technique that both curves the back of the display and makes it one of the thinnest of its kind: the display is about 2.4 inches at its thickest point and 0.9 inches at its thinnest, the company touts. The display also stands out through a thin bezel and a touch-sensitive control panel.
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