Monthly Archives: October 2007

XtremeMac unveils new iPod speaker system

Electronista: XtremeMac has introduced a new audio system for use with the iPod. Calling it the Tango Studio, the company advertises full-range stereo sound, which is powered by two 3-inch loudspeakers. Designed for the budget-minded iPod owner, it lacks the subwoofer of its more expensive sibling, the Tango.

However, the Studio is more compact which allows for more versatile placement. The unit features a built-in FM tuner, an auxiliary line in, a remote, a retractable dock connector, and a simple no-frills look. The LCD, which displays the FM station, volume level or input source, shines through from behind the cloth speaker grill. Controls are also located on the top of the sound system, in case of a misplaced remote.

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2 new Blu-Ray Players from Denon

Akihabaranews: Denon will sell from January 2008, 2 new High-end Blu-Ray players with the DVD-3800BD, with the support of 1080p24, a DAC of 12bit/297MHz, the D.D.S.C-HD (or Dynamic Discrete Surround Circuit-HD), D.P.I.C. (DENON Pixel Image Correction), as well as the AL24 Processing Plus from Denon, HDMI 1.3a, RCA/BNC, RS-232C; and, the DVD-2500BT, which only has HDMI 1.3a and RS-232C, but with DivX supports.

While we are extremely happy to know that Denon will sell high-hands Blu-Ray players, we are stunned by the prices of these 2 devices… And you will have to expect a price of up to 2000€ to be able to put your hands on the DVD-3800BD.

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HTC to ship 50,000 Google phones by end of this year?

Mobile Magazine: There have been rumors flying around about a Google Phone for the longest time and many people are saying that the actual handset will be produced not by the search engine giant, but by a third party manufacturer already known for creating some rebadged wonders. And now, there’s even more fodder to substantiate that rumor.

A UBS analyst is reporting that HTC is set to ship “about 50,000″ cell phones running on a Google-developed mobile operating system. And the shipment will happen before Santa makes his rounds at the end of this year. As you recall, the HTC-produced Google Phone will be running a mobile variant of Linux, hopped up with a bunch of Google software. Between 3 and 5 HTC devices have been seen running Google’s mobile OS.

Interestingly, this first batch of Google Phones will not be destined for the marketplace. Instead, the 50,000 units “are going to be available for developers only to understand how the software works.” A commercial unit may be ready sometime in 2008.

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An end to exploit-based development on the iPhone?

InformationWeek: With the upcoming introduction of an Apple-sanctioned iPhone software development kit in February, mobile application developers will no longer have to exploit a vulnerability to write iPhone applications.

Until then, determined developers may continue looking to the work of security research H.D. Moore, who has written a recent series of blog posts about cracking the iPhone.

Moore, director of security at BreakingPoint Systems and creator of the Metasploit vulnerability testing tool, has published details about the exploit that third-party developers have been using to put applications on the iPhone against Apple’s wishes.

“Using a security vulnerability to enable third-party development is nothing new, but in the case of iPhone, this can be a problem,” Moore said in a blog post last week.

The problem is that the flaw isn’t merely useful for iPhone developers who just can’t wait for Apple to open the iPhone up; it’s potentially useful for hackers.

In a statement Wednesday on the Apple Web site, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made it clear that Apple is concerned about iPhone vulnerabilities.

“Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones — this is simply not true,” said Jobs. “There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.”

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Town wakes up to digital future

BBC News: The town of Whitehaven in Cumbria has become the first place in the UK to undergo the official switchover from analogue to digital TV.

BBC Two’s signal was switched off at 0200 BST on Wednesday, with digital channels replacing it shortly after.

The other signals will go from 14 November, when 25,000 households will need Freeview, satellite, cable or broadband in order to watch television.

Analogue TV will be switched off in the rest of the UK by the end of 2012.

Any local residents who stayed up to watch the switchover would have been watching BBC Two’s Learning Zone before the screen went blank.

Engineers spent 37 minutes switching off the analogue signal on BBC Two and switching on digital versions of BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, CBBC, BBC News 24 and Five.

Other digital channels will follow when analogue BBC One, ITV1 and Channel 4 are switched off next month.

Industry body Digital UK has been overseeing the country’s switchover from analogue.

Chief executive Ford Ennals said it was “a landmark day for British broadcasting history”.

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Mobile phone boarding pass idea takes off

Mobile Marketing News: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced a global standard that will make it easier for international travellers to use their mobile phones to check in for flights.

Passengers using the system will be able to register their mobile number with their flight operator when booking journeys. They will then receive a text message with a unique code that will in effect become their boarding pass.

The bar code will be read directly from the mobile’s screen, replacing easy-to-lose paper tickets.

Previously, airlines had rarely used mobile boarding passes due to different regional formats making bar codes incompatible with one another. The IATA’s new global standard should change that.

“This standard is an important step in getting rid of paper that bogs down processes and drives up costs,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s director general and chief executive, adding that passengers want the convenience of self-service options.

The industry has set a deadline for its members to implement 100 per cent bar coded boarding passes by 2010.

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Sony, Sharp open new LCD TV plants

PCWorld: Sony Corp. and Sharp Corp., two of the largest manufacturers of LCD (liquid crystal display) televisions, have both opened new factories to produce the hot-selling flat-panel TV sets.

Sony has begun production of flat-panel televisions at a new plant in Slovakia while Sharp has started operations at a second factory inside its Sharp Electrsnica Mexico S.A. de C.V. plant in Mexico.

The Sony factory in Nitra is manufacturing large-size, high-end LCD sets and the start of operations there is a step towards a reorganization of Sony’s TV manufacturing operations in Europe.

Sony already has two TV plants in Europe, one in nearby Trnava and one in Barcelona, Spain. During 2008 the TV production lines at Trnava will be relocated to Nitra to push annual production at Nitra to 3 million sets. Once that relocation is complete the Trnava plant will be used to produce TV tuners for the sets while TV production will continue at Nitra and Barcelona.

European consumers are fast adopting flat-panel televisions like those produced at Nitra. During the second quarter of this year 97 percent of all TVs shipped on the continent were flat-panel sets, according to Display Search. That ranks Europe second to Japan, where 99 percent of TVs were flat panel, and ahead of North America, where 88 percent of TVs shipped were flat panel.

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Broadcom rolls out 3G phone on a chip

eWeek: Claiming a major competitive advantage over rival chip makers, Broadcom said Oct. 15 it has developed a low-power, single-chip processor that integrates all major features of 3G technology.The BCM21551—code-named Zeus—combines a high-speed third-generation baseband, a multiband radio frequency transceiver, Bluetooth, and an FM radio receiver and transmitter. The device also features advanced multimedia processing, up to 5-megapixel camera support and 30-frame-per-second video capability.

“With what we believe is more than a full year’s lead over similar competing products, this new 3G solution should place Broadcom squarely at the head of the hyper-competitive 3G chip race,” Yossi Cohen, senior vice president and general manager of Broadcom’s Mobile Platforms Group, said in a teleconference given from Irvine, Calif. “This is truly amazing engineering execution. … Our investments in multimodal wireless and high-definition multimedia technologies will further widen our mobile technology leadership in the coming years.”

Phones carrying the new chip will be able to download content at up to 7.2M bps and upload content such as pictures and videos at up to 5.8M bps. The chip can also be paired with other Broadcom devices, such as Wi-Fi and GPS.

“A single-chip mobile phone is the holy grail of the industry,” Cohen said. “This is a very significant step forward from 2G to 3G.”

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AU Optronics unveils 5000:1 ultra high static contrast ratio LCD TV technology

CNNMoney: AU Optronics Corp. (AOU) yesterday introduced its advanced commercialized LCD TV technologies, strengthening its pioneering role as the industry technology innovator. In response to the current concerns regarding a greener environment, AUO’s newly launched TV technologies not only demonstrate ultra-high contrast ratio, and thinner, lighter and power-saving technologies, but also show AUO’s commitment to being a global corporate citizen.

Following successful launches of the 1200:1 contrast ratio AMVA technology in 2005, and the 2500:1 contrast ratio AMVA technology in 2006, AUO today introduced its 5000:1 ultra-high static contrast ratio AMVA technology, by implementing new bump-less pixel design, optimized color resist, and integrated backlight structure and optical film. This ultra high contrast ratio technology not only can enhance dimmer image performance in large-sized panels, but it can also maintain features of high transmittance, low color washout and a wide viewing angle. Although LED-backlit LCD TV panels have better dynamic contrast ratio performance, LED-backlit LCD TV panels in reality have not been widely popularized and started into major mass production yet. Thus, AUO’s newly-launched 5000:1 contrast ratio AMVA technology with CCFL backlight is on the top of the static contrast ratio ranking.

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Motorola, Sony Ericsson to share Symbian

PCWorld: Motorola Inc. took a 50 percent stake in UIQ, a move that is likely a reaction to stepped up competition from the iPhone.

Under the agreement, Motorola and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB will equally share ownership of UI Holdings BV, the parent company of Symbian user interface developer UIQ Technology AB.

Motorola’s interest in UIQ could be an effort for the handset maker to produce more user friendly devices in the face of competition from Nokia Corp. and Apple Inc., said Gerry Purdy, chief analyst at Frost and Sullivan. UIQ was developed early on as a touch-based user interface. That concept has seen renewed interest since the launch of Apple Inc.’s iPhone, which has a unique touch screen user interface.

The investment in UIQ could signal that Motorola plans to release more Symbian phones, Purdy said. The announcement could also mean that Motorola hopes to influence the development of UIQ such that the software could become compatible with other operating systems like Linux, he said.

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Nokia ships its N95 8GB with Spider-Man 3

Absolute Gadget: Nokia has confirmed that trucks carrying its N95 8GB have started their engines today, and the “stunning”, “memory-packed” devices will be hitting a store near you soon. To celebrate, the handset maker has teamed up with Sony Pictures Entertainment to offer the device pre-loaded with the full-length feature film Spider-Man 3 in Europe and selected countries in Middle East and Africa region.Apart from some Spidey/Venom/Sandman action, the N95 8GB also offers:

  • 8GB of built-in memory (but you’d probably already guessed that)
  • 5-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics
  • A-GPS for sat-nav capability
  • WLAN for wireless internet connection
  • HSDPA
  • 2-way slide
  • luminous 2.8″ (240 x 320) QVGA display

Nokia says the N95 8GB’s expanded memory offers up to 20 hours of video or up to 2,000 songs encoded using the AAC format at 128kbps.

“We’ve reached a pinnacle with the Nokia N95 and now with the addition of one of the largest ever displays, built-in Assisted-GPS and improved battery power, the Nokia N95 8GB takes entertainment enjoyment to another level,” said Jonas Geust, vice president of multimedia at Nokia.
 
Boasting up to, the Nokia N95 8GB has all the key features of its predecessor, including a 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, built-in A-GPS, WLAN, HSDPA and an innovative 2-way slide. The sleek black N95 8GB also boasts a luminous 2.8″ (240 x 320) QVGA display, so watching videos, browsing the Internet or viewing maps is a real pleasure.
 
The N95 8GB has an estimated retail price of €560 before taxes or subsidies.

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Microsoft ZunePhone patent totally mirrors the iPhone

Mobile Magazine: Everyone wants a piece of the iPhone pie. Rumors of a Microsoft cell phone — affectionately referred to as the ZunePhone — have been floating around for some time, but now we’ve found patent drawings depicting Microsoft’s future cell phone. Based on these sketches, the user interface appears nearly identical to that of the iPhone.

The patent calls for “extensible filtered lists for mobile device user interface”. The voicemail interface mirrors Visual Voicemail, as does the album and picture flipping. They’re almost exactly the same.

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