Monthly Archives: March 2008

Subaru using Harman Kardon in their vehicles

Slashgear: So Jaguar goes and picks up Bowers & Wilkins for their cars and Subaru follows suit and goes and picks up another well known non-car audio system manufacturer to do work in their car. The announcement was made on Thursday at Subaru’s R1e unveiling.

They are going to have HK outfit their Subaru Legacy and Subaru Outback vehicles with what will likely be optional high-end audio systems. This puts Subaru on par, audio wise, with a lot of other high-end auto manufacturers such as Audi which has long been using Bose audio equipment in their vehicles.

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Patent dispute may block Blu-ray, cellphones

Electronista: A patent infringement claim may lead to blocks against importing both Blu-ray technology as well as cellphones and other storage, the US International Trade Commission said today. The potential impasse has its roots in a complaint by patent holder and Columbia University emeritus professor Gertrude Rothschild, who claims that bringing numerous foreign-made devices with short-wave lasers and LEDs violates her own claims to the technology in the US. Most companies affected by the dispute are those producing Blu-ray optical storage drives and involve chief backer Sony as well as LG, Pioneer, Samsung, and Sharp.Toshiba is also implicated for the blue laser in its HD DVD players, though the end of the format reduces the impact of the complaint on its business.

However, the suit also implicates multiple cellphone makers and may complicate the sale of cellphones in the country. Motorola, Nokia, and Sony-Ericsson are directly implicated in the complaint, which may also affect LG and other firms that produce both handsets as well as HD video readers. Calls to restrict part suppliers, such as optical drive maker Lite-On, may also impact third-party computer and general electronics firms.

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Nintendo scores 0.3 on Greenpeace rankings

Slashgear: The world (mostly) seems to love Nintendo. Almost every gamer has some kind of fond memories of the company, whether it’s with their shiny new Wii, or the classic NES. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem that Nintendo loves the world. Or at least that’s the way Greenpeace sees it.

Greenpeace releases a “Guide to Greener Electronics” guide on a regular basis which tracks how “green” technology companies are on a scale from 0-10. Their latest guide features 18 companies, and Nintendo came in dead last.

Not only did they come in dead last, they scored only a measly 0.3 of 10. Their closest competitor (Philips) scored a full four points higher. There are a total of nine different categories that are taken into account for the score. Apparently the only thing Nintendo managed to do was establish a Green Procurement Standards for Suppliers. They weren’t able to actually provide this information, only mention that they had it. That gave them a “Partially Bad” on Chemicals Management, and “Bad” on everything else.

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PS3 update to bring Blu-ray Profile 2.0 features

Electronista: An impending update to the PlayStation 3 will make it one of the first Blu-Ray Profile 2.0 players, Sony said this morning. The version 2.2 firmware update for the game console will add the Internet features inherent to the new profile (known also as BD-LIVE) that are expected to come with newer movies: future titles will allow users to download new content or play games online, Sony says. The update is possible as the PS3 is the only Blu-ray movie player to have included Internet access on its own, with most Profile 2.0 dedicated players shipping only later in the year.The new update should also let users sync specific music and photo playlists with a PSP, providing a PC-free means of loading the PSP with custom music quickly. Other additions will include an improved web browser with direct streaming of non-Flash video, the ability to use a PSP as a remote control for music on the PS3, and a playback memory feature that will let users resume most Blu-ray or DVD movies from their last pause points even if the discs have been ejected.

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KORG DS-10 synthesizer for Nintendo DS

Audio Junkies: AQ Interactive out of Japan has a very cool piece of music creation software in the works called the KORG DS-10 Synthesizer. The DS-10 is designed to be used with the Nintendo DS and features a multitude of high-quality sounds that can be controlled using the DS’s dual-screen touch panel.

“In addition to the two analog synth simulators and drum module, a 6-track/16-step sequencer enables precise control and provides a wide range of musical possibilities. Several units can be connected and played together through a wireless link, and this and other features make the Nintendo DS and KORG DS-10 almost limitless in their application – they can take you places that no single synthesizer can.”

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Armour launches Systemline on-wall speakers

HiddenWires: Armour Home has increased the speaker options for its market leading Systemline Modular range with the addition of two new stylish on-wall speakers.

These elegant on-wall designs are shallow depth, protruding no more than 60mm from the wall. Operating entirely via Cat5/6 cabling as part of the Systemline Modular range, they are easy to install and configure, linking with keypads, touch screens and local inputs. For more minimalist installations, the speakers have built in infrared capability enabling control via one of the elegant Systemline Modular remote handsets.

Employing Advanced ‘Balanced Mode Radiator’ (BMR) drivers, the new M-OW2 speakers provide distinct advantages over conventional loudspeakers with an ‘Ultra-Wide’ soundfield which allows listeners to enjoy sound anywhere in the room and not just the ‘hot spot’ as with ordinary speakers.

Available in White & Gloss Black and optional colours subject to MOQs, the sleek design of the OW2s allows them to be discreetly installed to blend into the décor of a home.

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World GPS Market Forecast to 2012 – Bharatbook.com

PRLog: Bharatbook.com, is proud to announce a free report excerpt, table of contents, and ordering information online at “World GPS Market Forecast to 2012″

Global Positioning System (GPS) is a revolutionary tool, which provides unequalled accuracy and flexibility of positioning for navigation, surveying and Geographic information system (GIS) data capture. Growing use in automotive and consumer applications is propelling the market for mobile location technologies. Although standalone products are quite popular, the most common applications are built around Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs), mobile phones, or car navigation systems. Moreover, the technology is fast gaining acceptance worldwide, as it is penetrating into previously untapped areas, says “World GPS Market Forecast to 2012”, a new market research report.

The report provides a comprehensive review on the market trends, drivers, challenges, and opportunities that are vital for the success of GPS industry across the world. Analysis is presented for major geographic markets such as the US, Canada, Europe, Japan, and other Asian countries like India and China. The report gives a detailed analysis on the end-user applications, including In-Vehicle Navigation, Survey/Mapping, Machine Control and others.

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Samsung 8 megapixel phone camera

PMP Today: Samsung has announced the most powerful phone camera yet, and it’s super thin, able to fit better in a phone than current 5 megapixel lenses. The sensor has “up to ISO 1600 light sensitivity, anti-blur and noise correction, and both face and smile detection for portraits.”

Other features include flexible optics with 30mm wide-angle capture and close-up shooting of up to .4 inches. Samsung will have samples of the phone camera on a phone by May and shipping will be in Q3 or Q4.

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EU to approve TomTom/Tele Atlas deal; look at Nokia/Navteq more closely

CNNMoney: The European Commission is expected to approve personal navigation device manufacturer TomTom NV’s proposed acquisition of map maker Tele Atlas NV and open an in-depth inquiry into Finnish mobile telecoms group Nokia Oyj’s planned buy of digital map maker Navteq Corp.

A legal source told Thomson Financial News that the TomTom/Tele Atlas deal should be cleared on or before the deadline of May 5, even though there are ‘clearly vertical competition concerns’.

The commission opened an in-depth inquiry into the deal in November after its initial market investigation indicated that the proposed merger raised serious doubts with regard to vertical competition concerns. Since then, the commission extended the deadline for the inquiry at the parties’ request.

‘This seems to be a concentrated market at upstream level and access to data will be a key issue in terms of remedies,’ the source said.

‘The commission obviously has suggested serious concerns (about the deal) but they should be addressable through making data available to third parties.’
The source said the key factor in negotiations over potential remedies will be assessing how to preserve the companies’ value.

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Samsung P2 going 16GB

Anything but iPod: The Samsung YP-P2 is one of the most popular players these days, with a wide range of features including touch screen, an excellent widescreen, and Bluetooth. The only thing that has been holding it down is the capacity, as so far it’s only been available in 2, 4 and 8GB. Until now.

True to their word, the 16GB Samsung P2 is now on it’s way. That should be welcomed news for those who couldn’t make due with 8GB. The 16GB version will launch in Korea in a few weeks and hopefully the rest of the world will follow shortly. No word yet if there will be a 32GB, but knowing Samsung that is still way into the future.

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Pioneer DEH-P6000UB review

CNet: With its monochrome display and blue backlighting, the Pioneer DEH-P6000UB is a sharp-looking head unit. Adding to the appeal of the faceplate, the stereo features a plain control interface consisting of a seven-way “multicontrol” jogwheel and six other hard buttons, for selecting audio source, radio band, and random playback mode, and for programming the display, the subwoofer, and the Sound Retrieval audio customization feature. Three other buttons on the right of the faceplate (clock, list, and eject), complete the picture, leading to an in-dash system with an economical–but intuitive–design. The absence of preset buttons is conspicuous at first, but also suggests that this is a device designed more for the playback of digital audio sources rather than for skipping between radio channels. (Radio presets are available, but have to be accessed using the jogwheel). While the rotary commander is a useful solution for packing a lot of control features into a single interface, we found it at times to be a little fiddly and loose for our liking: there is a lot of travel and very little resistance in the wheel as it tips over in the four compass directions, and we found that we often unintentionally selected the wrong function when attempting to push the commander in.

The DEH-P6000UB’s various sources are selected using a coverflow-esque menu, which lets drivers select sources using simple identifier icons. The stereo’s name gives some indication as to its feature set with the “UB” showing that the device has USB compatibility.

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Xbox 360 sees 40% sales boost

TrustedReviews: Sorry to say it PlayStation 3 backers, but it looks like your console of choice’s run of decent sales may well have been countered. It might be a tad early to tell, but it looks like Microsoft’s Xbox 360 price cuts have secured the sales increase that was no doubt hoped for. Specifically, over Friday and Saturday, console sales saw around a 40 per cent boost according to GamesIndustry.biz.

With the Arcade, Premium and Elite consoles now costing near enough £150, £200 and £250 (€195, €250 and €320) respectively, it’s not hard to see why there was a renewed interest in the systems. Conversely, though, software sales were fairly lacklustre with no noticeable increase – suggesting, oddly, that not many games were bought to go with the new Xbox’s.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, Sony does have a proverbial ace up its sleeve with the forthcoming release of Gran Turismo 5: Prologue. With a reported one million pre-orders already, there’s no denying the number of people interested in the title. Common sense would suggest that there is likely to be a surge of PS3 sales at the time of launch as newcomers decide they want a piece of the driving action.

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