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Gadget4all USB hubs
Gadget4all has released two new USB hubs, the USB Moody 3-Port Hub + Erasable Memo Pad and 3-in-1 USB Combo Bar. The Moody provides three USB 2.0 ports, an erasable memo pad that can be used to leave little notes, and a built in glowing moody light that changes color. It stands approximately 113mm x 94mm x 28mm in diameter, and weights roughly 100g. Also Included in the package is a pen with an eraser that fits on top of the USB hub.
Samsung CTIA Hands On
While at the CTIA mobile expo this week, Electronista has tried Samsung's new lineup of US devices and come away with early impressions. The Impression is undoubtedly the company's flagship non-smartphone for the US and has likely one of the best-looking touchscreens of any device in the country, including the iPhone: while it's a bit smaller at 3.2 inches, the active matrix OLED display is simply stunning. Colors are extremely vibrant and don't exhibit the gradient banding artifacts often seen on mobile LCDs. It's also bright enough to stand out even in the difficult lighting of a show booth.
Nuvifone M20 hands on
Electronista at CTIA had a chance to take a closer look at the Garmin-Asus nüvifone M20. The handset offers a smaller form factor than the G60 and looks more like a phone than a GPS navigator. Every dimension has been shrunk, with 17 mm cut from the height and a width reduction of 6 mm. The M20 is described as a phone with GPS functionality, while the G60 is more of a GPS with phone functionality. The company also dropped the Linux operating system for Windows Mobile 6.1.
Tunewear has launched its first earphone product for portable music players, the TuneSonic Crystal. The earphone delivers a high-resolution 9mm neodymium magnet driver that the company says produces clearer sound with input as strong as 5mW. It comes in three different colors, "black onyx" (black with rhinestone), "chrome silver" (silver with clear crystal), and "crystal pink" (pink with clear crystal). Also included is a 24k gold-plated 3.5mm stereo cable.
IBM Sun Deal Maybe Monday
IBM's rumored deal to take over Sun may close as soon as the start of next week, multiple sources indicate. Initially thought by sources of both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal (one, two) to be worth as much as $7 billion, the Financial Times now says negotiations and the market have tentatively pushed that number down to $6 billion but that a deal could be made public as early as Monday. Discussions are characterized as hectic and have the price changing from moment to moment.
ATT Retracts Cell TOS
AT&T tonight has quickly backtracked on its controversial new terms of service for cellphones that would ban video on 3G and the rest of its cellular network. In a statement delivered to Electronista, the company claims that the posting was made "in error" and that it has since been removed in favor of an earlier agreement. No mention was made as to whether any of the terms were likely to return in the future.
Samsung thin-bezel HDTVs
Samsung on Friday announced the launch of three new LCD display panels, the 46-inch 460UT, 460UTn and 460UTn-UD, all of which sport a bezel that is just 2.4mm (0.09-inch) thick on the right and top side of the display, and 4.3mm (0.17-inch) thick on the left and bottom sides. The commercial LCDs all deliver 1366x768 resolutions and as much as 700 nits of brightness. Their contrast ratios are rated at 3,000:1, while their response times are still fast at 8ms.
BlueAnt S1 speakerphone
BlueAnt at CTIA introduced its latest Bluetooth speakerphone accessory, the S1. The visor-mount device offers many of the same features of the Supertooth 3, but without text-to-speech functionality. The company added support for A2DP which enables music to be streamed from compatible handsets. Users can answer calls with their voice, or use voice dialing with certain phones.
Mackie HD speakers
Mackie has introduced two new high-definition loudspeakers, the 1800W HD1531, and 1600W HD1521. Both speakers incorporate the company's acoustic correction processing that delivers transducer time alignment and phase correction, and features a 15-inch neodymium woofer with 3-inch voice coil, and a 1.75-inch titanium compression driver with heat-treated titanium diaphragm. Also integrated is Mackie's fast-recovery circuitry, which helps the amp recover from the occasional aggressive transient, to provide clean audio under most situations.
ATT 3G Upgrade for iPhone
AT&T is ramping up its network upgrades a third year in a row to accommodate the heavy data use for its 2009 iPhone launch, according to a vendor contact at AppleInsider at least partly supported by Electronista's own check at the CTIA expo. The US carrier has recently snapped up a large number of cellular network routers from Juniper Networks and has been working quickly to get a network upgrade in place for the end of May. Engineers have reportedly been told that the update is necessary due to a predicted tenfold spike in the amount of traffic on the network following a 2009 iPhone update and a sudden influx of video streaming.
NTT DoCoMo CTIA demos
Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo demonstrated several devices at the CTIA expo, including the F-01A waterproof clamshell, a phone for kids and a handset with a separable screen. The F-01A, produced by Fujitsu, is claimed to enable submersion down to three feet for a duration of 30 minutes. The device offers a 3.5-inch touchscreen and a 5.2-megapixel camera, with support for GSM and W-CDMA networks.
2 new games released
Macgamestore.com is now carrying two new games, County Fair and Flower Shop: Big City Break. In County Fair, gamers have the challenge of running a fair, setting up rides, concessions, hiring staff and more. The game has both resource and time management challenges, and can be played at numerous locations across the United States. It is now available for $20, requiring an Intel-chip Mac with Mac OS X 10.4 or higher.
AT&T TerreStar phone
AT&T has plans to launch a hybrid smartphone capable of both 3G and satellite connections sometime in 2009, reports say. Working in conjunction with TerreStar, a provider of voice and data networks via satellite, the branded handset will have coverage in the mainland US as well as Canada, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. It is being marketed mainly at travelers and sailors, who would not otherwise receive a signal in many remote areas.
Health Tracker 3.3.0 ($20) is a tool for tracking and graphing any health related measurement. Diabetics can keep track of their blood glucose levels and people on diets can track their weight. The software also keeps track of your rate of losses or gains for each measurement, and evaluates how long it should take you to reach a goal, if a goal has been entered. Version 3.4 has fixed an bug related to deleting entries and also includes several user interface enhancements. [Download - 3MB]
Glider-Pro iPhone case
IvySkin has announced the latest in its line of iPhone accessories, the Glider-Pro case. Made with full-grain leather and suede lining, the case is designed to protect an iPhone against bumps, scratches and scrapes. Also present is a chrome pulley system, which enables users to simply pull a tab located on the front in order to slide an iPhone upwards and out. The pulley system is said to be capable of withstanding forces over 80 pounds in any direction.
DealNN: Buffalo DriveStati
Today's featured DealNN deal is on the refurbished Buffalo 1TB DriveStation. This hard drive has a list price of $149.99, but eCost.com has reduced the price to $87.99, making this the lowest price we could find on this hard drive by about $35. Features include fast data transfer rates of up to 480Mbps, PC encryption software, and a power saver mode that reduces power consumption by up to 75 percent.
ASUS ADSL2+, Wi-Fi hybrid
ASUS on Friday announced it will soon offer the DSL-N11 hybrid modem that offers both a 300gMbps Wi-Fi 802.11n router with an ADSL2/2+ modem for fast internet and data access. A new graphical user interface called ASUS EZ UI combines installation and management programs that are meant to make is easy for any user to set up and manage the functions of the modem. The Quick Internet Setup automatically detects local VPI and VCI settings as well as Internet connection types. The Network Map offers detailed network status information, including the number of wired and wireless devices connected to the device.
Eee PC 1000HA keyboard
The new ultra-thin ASUS Eee PC 1000HA model has quietly received an upgrade to the same Chiclet-style keyboard used on the current Eee PC 1000HE. A black version of the freshened-up netbook is already available for purchase at certain retailers, though a white-colored version has not yet been spotted.
LG Voyager 2 images leaked
Hot on the heels of a leaked image of the LG Env 3 handset on Thursday, the successor to the Voyager was revealed on Friday as well. Little is known about the handset, other than that it sports a large touchscreen interface and opens up to reveal a QWERTY keyboard. Verizon's logo is already visible on the blurry photos, though it is not known exactly when the handset will be released.
MacHeist 3 Twitter promo
With four days to go, MacHeist has added two new applications to the MacHeist 3 software bundle. The new applications can be had via a Twitter promotion, which requires following MacHeist on Twitter for a unique code. The two titles are specifically Delicious Library 2 ($40) and Multiwinia ($20), increasing the value of the bundle by $60.
Texas gov't bans Vista
The Texas Senate has approved a rider to the state budget that would prevent governmental agencies from using Microsoft Vista on their computer systems unless a special approval was granted from a legislative board, Yahoo reported on Friday. Democratic Senator Juan Hinojosa proposed the change, because Vista is well-known for its problems and added Windows XP still works very well. Agencies who wish to buy Vista licenses or PCs pre-loaded with Vista need to first get written approval from the Legislative Budget Board.
2009 Apple Design Awards
Apple has announced that it is now accepting submissions for the 2009 Apple Design Awards, given for the best iPhone OS and Mac OS X applications. Each entry will be evaluated for platform innovation, technology integration and adoption, Internet connectivity, and the availability and language choices for users worldwide. Entries will additionally be judged on overall design and quality, such as performance tunings ranging from memory usage and start-up time to stability and efficiency.
RealDVD gets court date
RealNetworks will get a chance to defend the legality of its RealDVD DVD ripping software on April 24th in court, launched back in September, sales of which were later banned by a federal judge and the ban extended after the software maker was sued by movie studios. The trial will take place in a US District Court in San Francisco, RealNetworks Chairman and CEO Rob Glaser said in a Friday TWICE report.
Default Folder X 4.2 ships
St. Clair Software has released Default Folder X 4.2, an update to the Finder utility that provides faster access to favorite folders and open and save dialogs. The app remembers favorite folders, along with recently-used ones and application-specific favorites. Version 4.2 now supports OpenMeta tags in the Spotlight and Open dialogs, and adds a new AppleScript command, ClearRecentFolders, which clears the list of recently-used folders in an active folder set.
AT&T restricting 3G video
AT&T has taken steps to severely limit the kinds of video applications that can be used with its cellular data network, reports note. Terms of service for AT&T Wireless have been changed to block "downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, customer initiated redirection of television or other video or audio signals via any technology from a fixed location to a mobile device, web broadcasting, and/or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices."
VLC 0.9.9 launched
VideoLAN has released the latest update for its VLC media player, VLC 0.9.9. The new update is primarily a bugfix update that improves the video performance on Intel-based Macs. The new version also includes an experimental native decoder for Real Video v3.0 and v4.0, using the FFmpeg codec. VLC is free, open source software that supports MPEG-1, MPEG 2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, AVI, MKV and many more audio/video formats. It supports streaming video as well as standard playback, and can unicast or multicast on IPv4 and IPv6 networks.
Motorola CTIA Hands On
While at CTIA this week, Electronista has had the chance to try some of Motorola's latest phones, including the QA4 Evoke that was just launched at the event. The slider is unofficially pitched as one of Motorola's first real attempts at a competitor to the iPhone, and in practice we'd tend to agree, even if it's not aimed at the exact same audience. Aside from the self-evident black-and-chrome design similarities, it shares a capacitive touchscreen (a first for Motorola) and is very easy to navigate with finger swipes and taps, though it doesn't support multi-touch.
LightWorks 8.0 released
LightWork Design has begun shipping LightWorks 8.0, a major update to its 3D rendering engine. Dominant amongst the software's new features is progressive rendering, which provides immediate feedback through a quicker preview of lighting and materials. Effects such as radiosity and ambient occlusion can be simulated as well.
Disneyland Park Planner ($3) features a custom-drawn map of Disney land that is GPS-enabled allowing users to see their current location and nearby attractions in the park. The application also highlights attractions on a user's personal to-visit list, with color-coded wait times for certain attractions based on information provided by other users. In addition, one can view thumbnail photos, locations, descriptions, FASTPASS availability and height restrictions for all attractions.
Neutrano Nutec WristFones
Canadian company Neutrano at the CTIA show in Las Vegas this week announced the upcoming release of its Nutec WristFone. The touchscreen device combines the functionality of a phone, camera music player and wrist watch, says company president Gary Rotman. Rotman adds the biggest challenge the company faced was making it less awkward to talk into a device while it's worn on the wrist, but overcame it by developing the first detachable cell phone watch; users can remove the display face to take a call. Bluetooth support also makes it possible to pair the device with a compatible headset for communications.
Mail-Grab 1.0 launched
Urban Design has launched Mail-Grab 1.0, a new batch e-mailing application that works with Mail. Mail-Grab extracts e-mail addresses from Apple's software, removing duplicates and applying user-determined filters to target a group for mass e-mailing. Once a message is written, Mail-Grab feeds back into Mail to generate and deliver output to each address. Mail-Grab also supports saving messages, printing them, and exporting to other applications.
Nokia Leap to Catch iPhone
Nokia's new markets executive VP Anssi Vankoji in an interview at the Web 2.0 Expo provided a surprise statement that his company's phones are lagging behind Apple's iPhone in software. He tells VentureBeat that while Nokia currently has technically superior hardware, the accessibility of its features and the overall ease of the use of the devices still have to take "quantum leaps" to reach Apple's current level, which relies on simple gestures and icons for control. Interface changes, along with a better app catalog with the launch of the Ovi Store in June, are considered key by Vankoji to matching Apple's expertise in mobile OS design.
Mac Pros and iTunes HD
Some Mac Pro owners may find themselves unable to properly view HD-quality video bought or rented from the iTunes Store, an account alleges. In the wake the iTunes 8.1 update, at least one user is said to have discovered that his Mac Pro will no longer play HDCP-encoded iTunes videos over DVI output, despite previously having support with a GeForce 7300GT video card attached to a Samsung T240 monitor. The issue is also said to be linked to a firmware update for the 7300GT, which may have disabled HDCP on the device without notice.
Samsung Louvre handset
Limited information and an image of the Samsung B7610 Louvre handset has been revealed by a Dutch branch of Carphone Warehouse. The horizontal slider smartphone is due to replace the company's F700/Croix handset launched by Vodafone back in 2007, and will run on the Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system rather than a custom platform. Other than the full QWERTY keyboard hiding behind the display, the handset may also get UMTS/HSDPA data network support, as well as a 5-megapixel camera and possibly Wi-Fi functionality.
Google in Twitter talks
Google is deep into talks for the purchase of microblogging network Twitter, according to two unnamed sources said to be close to the negotiations and cited by TechCrunch on Thursday. Since then however, AllThingsDigital has suggested that the two parties are simply engaged in "some product-related discussions" regarding collaboration on a real-time Google search engine.
VMware Fusion 2.0.3 update
VMware has released a new patch for Fusion, its Mac-based virtualization software. Although only described as a maintenance release, the download solves several major issues, for instance by restoring printer sharing. Mac printers should once again be accessible within Windows virtual machines; the compatibility was temporarily broken as a result of Apple Security Update 2009-001.
Samsung NC20 now available
The 12.1-inch Samsung NC20 netbook PC first revealed late in February is now available for purchase, priced at nearly $550. The computer features an unusually large 1280x800 display resolution and otherwise class-standard 160GB hard drive and 1GB of RAM. It most sharply breaks from the class average is via its use of a 1.3GHz VIA Nano processor instead of a much more common Intel Atom CPU.
3.2MP camera for iPhone
The next iPhone should indeed have a 3.2-megapixel camera, according to a Taiwanese industry report. Market sources claim that OmniVision has received orders from Apple for 3.2-megapixel CMOS sensors, with the specific intent of use in a new iPhone line. Aptina and STMicroelectronics are also said to have been in competition to produce the sensors.
LG enV 3 Leak
A leak today from a poster at Howard Forums appears to have confirmed that a third generation of LG's enV is in the works. The enV 3's design is more rounded with a ring-like directional pad and also appears to have important ergonomic improvements, such as a larger outside display and slightly wider keys on the inside. It likewise stands as a technical boost and should bring a 3MP camera with autofocus and flash versus the enV 2's 2-megapixel, unassisted sensor.
Nokia Hands-on at CTIA 09
Nokia had only the E71x to introduce at this year's CTIA, but the company's booth on the show floor is also the first opportunity for many in the US to see phones that have until now only been on view in Europe. We tried the N86 8MP and found that it's ultimately a pedestrian phone in most respects; its design recalls the N85 with the exception of the obvious swap of dedicated camera controls on the slider. However, what we could see showed a phone that lived up to its hardware claims, with a fairly bright and rich OLED as well as a high-resolution camera. Photo quality is unsurprisingly difficult to test without a larger screen and freedom of movement, but previews were promising.
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