Thursday, January 31, 2008

24hr Apple Store Air Rollout

The Apple store workers are all a twitter over the new laptop rollout that's taking place at the 24hr Apple store in Midtown Manhattan. They've cordoned off the laptop stations to setup the sexy new Airs and Powerbooks. "No pictures", one coffee fueled tech asserts. "What are these diva laptops?" I thought to myself. There are about a dozen or so folks standing outside the "velvet" rope waiting till the workers turn them loose on the coveted technology. I stopped by to try out the trackpad for myself and it looks, yep it's time, BACK IN A SEC!

That trackpad is larger and you can use one, two, or three fingers to activate the multi-touch functions. It takes a few tries to get it, but only a few. Tap and click, dragging, drag lock, two finger scrolling, picture rotate, pinch open and close, screen zoom, and three finger navigate all work like a charm. I want it, but alas they won't take my money no matter how much I beg. They're just not for sale yet. Big teasers.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Eye-Fi Wireless Digital Camera Cards

Eye-Fi Card, Wireless 2 GB SD Memory CardMost photographers don't need to have their photos methodically dissected by an art director, sitting in front of a laptop, the moment after they have taken it, but who says you shouldn’t be able to wirelessly transfer your digital snaps instantly over your home network right to your hard drive?

Yuval Koren, co-founder of Eye-Fi, asked this same question and then started a business (if only we were all so resourceful). What he and his cohorts came up with is truly astonishing. Eye-Fi is a 2Gb SD cardEye-Fi Card, Wireless 2 GB SD Memory Cardwith built in Wi-Fi. It gives any camera that accepts SD cards the ability to wirelessly transfer photographs as soon as they’re taken to a waiting PC or Mac (iPhoto supported). Image transfers work over any wireless network that you’ve setup to accept the image files.

This trick by itself is commendable, but Eye-Fi takes this seamless system a step further. You can even have the Eye-Fi service, which is free; upload your photographic memoirs to social networks, or online printing services.

Facebook/Myspace junkies, if you’re worried about image size restrictions in place at most social network sites, you don’t have to. Eye-Fi service automatically and, pretty much, instantly resizes your photos and posts them without photographers having to touch a computer or adjust anything on the camera to compensate for the site’s image size restrictions .

These transfers, to printing services and social networks, can happen without any computer intervention at all, it doesn’t even have to be powered up. If you'd like a copy sent to your computer, in addition to the web, you can select to have the uploaded images transferred to the computer, as well. Next time you power up the photos will be transferred.

This inexpensive Wi-Fi enabled SD card would be a great gift for your photographically inclined lover this Valentines Day, or just a nice tool for a burgeoning professional photographer.

Yuval's company would really take off if they could just get these cards to work, without setup, on any open wireless network. Wait, maybe that should be my nonexistent company's mission. What's Yuval's e-mail again?

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

iPods as Military Hardware Leads to New Civilian Uses

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for our soldiers that are deployed in war zones having the appropriate equipment to get the job done. But, I have to ask myself, are iPods really helping to get their jobs done?

According to Vcom3D, an Orlando purveyor of an avatar based authoring suite called Vcommunicator, the iPod is the perfect platform by which software written with their suite can operate. Mobile LC, as it’s been dubbed, is a program they've written to demonstrate the authoring suite's capabilities. It translates English to Iraqi Arabic or Kurdish language. More importantly, their avatars can indicate the appropriate gestures to go along with the phases. This translation technology has effectively been given an military field test, now they're morphing it into a translation application that’s more suitable for travelers than armed forces.

It’s true that the iPod is a good platform for this technology. iPods are cheap and readily available, but the translation application itself is a bit limited. Soldiers can only select from a list of predesignated sentences that are mission specific, like “open your trunk” or “U.S. Army please open the door”. It doesn’t seem very adaptable to the quickly evolving or escalating situations that regularly present themselves to soldiers at war.

Where're the Star Trek translator joints at anyway?

Two-way translation would be nice when you want to communicate with an Iraqi rather than just ordering one around. The blog entry from Vcom3D states “[knowing] local culture can mean the difference between life and death”. I guess the trick for the soldier is to make the gestures learned look natural, instead of it looking like an avatar taught them to you.

This is throwing a technology at a cultural divide that’s really too wide to be bridged by it. There would have to be a radical change in the Army’s culture to bridge that divide for real. This device will help, and may even save lives, but to really get at the problem soldiers would have to immerse themselves in the culture of the people whose land they occupy/liberate.

This kind of cultural immersion is not supported by U.S. military conventions. The military personnel communication technology, that has been so well funded and very well received by troops, connects up the soldiers to each other and their command in such a pervasive way that soldiers never have to develop cultural sensibilities towards the citizens of the land they're in.

Say, you got separated from you squad, in earlier days you had to depend on the locals residents to help you; nowadays your location is mapped on the command’s console and the Calvary arrives before you even get hungry.

This is great, if you’re that soldier, but think of the relationships that are lost because of this. Not to say we shouldn’t use these technologies, just deploy them with less of a ‘us and them’ attitude. The example doesn't even need to be that extreme, soldiers deployed in Germany for decades just stay on the base, all the time; it's that kind of culture.

To ‘win the hearts and minds’ it would help to seem a bit more connected to the people of the land through human relationships, rather than just being connected to a computer network.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Casio's Perfect Phone for a Disaster

This phone is marketed as a fitness phone, it has a calorie counter and a pedometer that displays calories burned and distance traveled. It is also sweat/waterproof. I think this disaster preparedness angle would be better, 'guess they don't what to scare us'.

Casio W61CA, Credit: Casio Japan Normally, I’d leave this one alone, we don’t even sell phones anymore, but this standard looking flip is far too impressive to ignore. The big plus of the fetching phone, especially in a survivalist sense, is its disaster coping skills. This Casio could quite literally help save your life.

Casio W61CA, Credit: Casio JapanDisaster preparedness is a real concern for most city dwellers, think less “Escape from New York” and more hurricane induced floods. Unless your private road to Ohio is well under construction you might want to pick up one of these Casio W61CAs if they ever make the jump across the sea from the Asian.

Earthquake alert, which presumably could be modified for region (typhoon, hurricane, volcano, tsunami, etc.), provides you with valuable predictive information. This information alone could help save you, but what’s the good of knowing of an impending disaster if you don’t know where to go?

'Nabi' disaster, Casio W61CA's built-in disaster evacuation tool, aims to keep you up-to-date on evacuation route and traffic conditions via DMB; while directing you, thru GPS, to the quickest route to safety. Now, these systems are all dependent on the quality of information they are given but I’d rather have the Casio W61CA to depend on than my battery operated handheld radio.

A slew of other fine features make this Casio an awesome upgrade from their calculator watch days. ..via Gizmodo..

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Friday, January 25, 2008

SDI Technologies Announce iHome iP14

iHome iP14Not much in the way of iPhone specific speaker docks have been announced lately. Many had expected Macworld to be a haven for iPhone accessory manufactures to introduce new technologies. However, much to the surprise and joyful glee of attendees, vendor offerings were skewed heavily toward software (something Mac users need more anyway).

iHome iP14 So the expected torrent of iPhone docks has been more of a trickle, which is great because there’s less crap to wade through. SDI Technologies has announced an intriguing dock, iHome iP14, which compliments the accelerometer technology on the iPhone and iPod Touch, (that thing that changes the display’s orientation in relation to the device’s position).

The iHome iP14 is an L-shaped clock/speaker dock that rotates 90° allowing you to view movies with sound amplification while your Apple is securely docked and charging up. The clock display rotates complementing the iPod's orientation; adding to the desire to acquire this unique compact alarm clock dock. These are scheduled to ship in April with an MSRP of $99.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Casio PX-110 Privia Keyboard/Digital Piano

Casio PX-110 Privia Keyboard/Digital PianoPrivia keyboards from Casio deliver the full sound of concert piano, in a highly versatile, lightweight portable package. Weighing-in at a mere 30lbs and boasting a slim design, the Casio PX110 Privia digital piano can be setup just about anywhere.

These full scale 88 key electric pianos feature Casio Hammer Action keys that give pianists the same resistance and response they would feel from a traditional piano. Additionally, polyphonic keys allow for multiple key strikes, up to 32, to sound at the same time; adding even more traditional piano functionality.

The MIDI interface allows you to use the advanced, full scale, touch sensitive keyboard to control your professional music production computer applications with a new found control over the sound.

The instrument works just as well as a standalone also. With the internal speakers musicians can use the built-in sound bank of 11 preset tones and 20 rhythms to create compositions on the fly, and then record these musings with the on-board two track recorder for transfer to a computer later.

Another notable feature of the PX-110 is having 2 headphone inputs, this would be great in for a music teacher. These inputs would allow for both student and teacher to hear the lesson’s progression while maintaining a quiet home. Thereby, saving the house’s other residents from a nervous breakdown caused by repeated poor performances.

Give yourself, or your love ones, the tools necessary to make music composition more than just a hobby, consider a Casio Privia PX-110 for your next instrument purchase.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Numark TTi Records Vinyl Directly to iPod

Numark TTiAnalog sound recordings, like vinyl records, sound better than digital music, but there’s fewer and fewer DJs that bother with schlepping around records to their gigs. Not to say that vinyl isn’t still king, in the world of DJing hunting for vinyl still happens, on the regular. However, most NYC DJs, I know, have converted their vinyl collections to digital; it just makes logistical sense.

If you’re lucky enough to have a strong network of fellow DJs most any song you could want to throw in the mix, old or new, is usually just an email request away. Getting this inside track doesn’t come easy. If you’re just starting out you don’t have the resources of a professional network yet. So having a good collection of digitized vinyl to use and share is always a welcomed asset.

Numark TTi

You spend hours a week with your head hovering over case after case of records, anyway, why not give yourself a quick and easy way to get those tunes into 1s and 0s. Numark’s TTi records directly to iPod via bulit-in dock, or your computer (USB), making archiving and sharing vinyl recordings with your friends or audiences a breeze.

The software bundled with this transfer happy turntable is written for Mac or PC and uses a sound filter to reduce cracks and pops from older vinyl. Another nice feature of this software is Music ID technology from Gracenote, this analyzes your vinyl recordings and retrieves album, artist, and song information from the net.

Digital archiving is the new standard in DJing; stay current with help from Numark.

The Numark TTi is scheduled to be available this spring at an MSRP of $449.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Belkin FlyWire, Wireless HD Video Transmitter

Belkin FlyWireIf you finally decided to make that HDTV purchase you are now faced with the slight dilemma; where‘re you going to put the thing? TV stands are a viable option, but they kind of defeat the purpose of a flat panel. The très chic action to take is hanging it on the wall, and hiding any wiring to the television, in the wall.

This is a perfect option for new builds, but existing homeowner’s usually have a healthy and well founded fear of putting big holes in their homes’ walls. I sympathize, apparently so does Belkin. They’ve demonstrated a new product named FlyWire at CES.

This truly fascinating wireless technology transmits high definition video signals (24 fps, 1080p) over the 5GHz radio spectrum. It works through walls, and transmits the video signals from DVRs, DVD players, cable boxes, and so on...right to your HDTV via HDMI.

The receiver part of the package is quite small and thin so it would easily attach and to the back of your HDTV and be completely hidden. The transmitter box, as it exists now, has but one HDMI interface, to pull a signal from a HD movie player for example, but Belkin is rumored to have their engineers working hard in order to provide more HDMI interfaces for their production model.

Along with the HDMI, the FlyWire’s backside is adorned with video component and composite interfaces to adapt to all video output devices (no upscaling, though). Included on the back of the transmitter is one interface that looks like it would interface with the digital video card in your computer. This all seems very promising.

There’re conflicting stories about price and release date for these, from what I can gather they will most likely ship right before Christmas, however, some have the ship date pegged to be closer to summer. Price also is yet to be confirmed by Belkin. The projected range is anywhere from $400-$600.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Macbook Air Uncovered

Wired's Gadget Lab, yesterday, broke the news on Apple's new "sub-notebook" computer. Is this their version of ASUS Eee PC?

Our own source inside Apple enlightens us to further specs. The MacBook Air, as it is rumored to be called, will sport a seven inch screen and don around 32Gigs of hard drive space. That's about all we've got on this breaking story, check back after Steve's keynote address for more news.

Update: Well, we couldn't be more wrong. Here's the scoop from Steve himself.

MACBOOK AIR specs: 0.76" at its tallest end and 0.16" at shorter end, 13.4″display, ships with 80gb flash HD or 160gb solid state, 1.6ghz or 1.8ghz Intel Core Duo, new Intel chip that is 60% smaller than usual core duos, comes with 802.11n and latest Bluetooth, price: $1799, 5 hr batter life, 'remote disk' feature will allow you to install software from another computer.

..Via TechCrunch..
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Squeezebox Duet, it's All About the Control

Your digital music collection just found a new outlet for expression. Squeezebox Duet ($400 MSRP), far from being a duet redo of a rockin’ Who song, is Logitech’s answer to the problem of getting the tunes on your computer to play through the speakers of your home theater system or similar system.

Squeezebox’s disposition for making sweet music with computer contents stems from its wireless capabilities. The Wi-Fi connects to you digital music library over your home network and also connects to music streams like Pandora, Rhapsody, or Slacker (w/ a SqueezeNetwork subscription) even when the computer is powered down.

There is no amplification provided by the squeezebox receiver, so plugging the squeezebox into a stereo receiver or some powered speakers is a definite requirement. Connecting the unit up a stereo receiver happens via the analog or digital (coax/optical) connections.

The jewel of this soon to be released multi-room system is the controller. This Wi-Fi home audio controller features an iPod like scroll wheel, large color display, flickr support, built-in speaker, headphone jack, and (just uncovered) a hidden SD card slot. Control all your music and streams from this well laid out, easy to handle remote.

The system comes with one controller and one receiver. The packaged system includes the equipment for setting up one room. Multiple rooms can easily be accommodated by extending the system with the purchase of additional receivers ($150 MSRP). Every room in your house could have it's own unique soundtrack with each room controlled by the single remote, of course you can get more remotes too ($300 MSRP).

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Panasonic's new Blu-ray player and Home Theater

Panasonic is on the winning side of the format war. They're the leaders and main innovators in plasma TV and Blu-ray players, and never in short supply of a loyal fan base.

Their 150 inch plasma display show piece did its job well at CES, attracting the appropriate attention from journalists and attendees, alike. Other items garnishing attention for Panasonic are the first profile 2.0 Blu-ray player, the DMP-BD50, and the newest home theater-in-a-box offering, the SC-BT100.

Panny's newest systems boasts more advanced sound reproduction not only through Digital Sound Processing, but in terms of speaker construction, as well. Bamboo diaphragm speakers replace the traditional paper diaphragms units. This improves sound velocity and reproduces superior high definition fidelity in 7.1 surround sound. Underscoring these improvements is the improved strength and durability gained with the use of bamboo.

Other cool things about Pannny's HTB are: wireless speakers, advanced processing engines for color processing and image upscaling, SD card slot to coincide with "full HD" cameras and camcorders, GUI, and an integrated flip down iPod dock complete with on screen controls and iPod video playback.

Also, there's the little announcement about how they will break with tradition, seems to be become a theme with them as of late, by not using the founder’s name Matsushita as the company name. Instead, opting to use the name everyone knows and loves, Panasonic. So that's the rundown from the Panasonic camp for CES 2008.

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    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    Cuisinart Grind 'n Brew DGB-700BC

    Coffee is one of those things that could take up to fifteen or twenty minutes to prepare, if you’re into that sort of thing. Luckily that doesn’t have to be the case. What could be better to exemplify convenience in coffee making, then a Cuisinart? Sure, Mr. Coffee would get the job done, but don’t chump your coffee like that. Free trade gourmet beans deserve much better.

    Keeping beans in their natural state right until brewing is the only way to insure the full flavor release from each bean. The Burr grinder gives a wonderfully consistent grind with no wasted coffee. Even the steadiest hands are prone to spilling finely ground coffee.

    Early morning my not be the best time to operate unfamiliar machinery (especially if a morning cup hasn’t been swigged), so the lining up of arrows to get the machine to work right can trip one up, but only the first couple times. The thermal carafe keeps the coffee nice and cozy until ready to enjoy without expending any excess electricity. This machine is a welcomed addition to any morning routine.

    Read more!

    Digital Frame that also Prints Photos

    Hybrid Devices, Photography

    Prinics Printer Frame When you see that favored snapshot of your loved ones flash across the screen of a digital photo frame, how many times have you thought "I should really print that shot out and send it to my great aunt"? Printing it never happens. It stays locked in the virtual world never to reflect the light of the day. If only that great aunt of yours would get up to speed and get online.

    The torrent of hybrid devices just keeps cascading. Prinics’ newest offspring of the ravishing relationship between a photo printer and a digital photo frame was given a thorough photo spread today. Thanks Jason.

    ..via Gizmodo..
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    Wednesday, January 9, 2008

    Hybrid Devices Able to Handle More Tasks

    iriver W7 & Pioneer AVIC-F500BT

    Multitasking portable devices aren’t a new concept. Most new GPS units offer the option of media file playback through an SD card slot or some other means of transfer. The option is added as more of a side note to the primary function, so less attention gets paid to things like the interface and sound quality. These two devices, announced at CES, have fully embraced this prevailing wave of device integration while maintaining their individuality. A trick the iPod touch knows well.

    Pioneer AVIC-F500BT

    Pioneer AVIC-F500BTPioneer has realized their hybrid concept by taking the voice-recognition capabilities of and in-dash GPS and combining them with the flexibility of portable navigation. This system, equipped with USB and SD card playback, can act as a standalone media player and portable navigation device or it can connect up to the car audio system via the AUX input. The main advancement here is the inclusion of newer VoiceBox software. This software is designed to recognize more natural, ‘conversational’ commands; rather then systematic commands and controls both phone calls and iPod interface. No working models exist as of today, yet release is set for March at a price that is yet to be determined.

    iriver W7

    iriver W7iriver is known for superior sound processing in their media players. So, their version of a hybrid device is skewed towards the Media player side of things; the GPS isn’t built in. The W7 gives you the option of adding a GPS antenna that slides on to the back and also mounts to a cradle. All the add-ons you’d expect from iriver, like an FM tuner, voice recorder, large touchscreen, music, video, text, and photos are included along with an electronic dictionary, SD expansion slot, and Flash games; this makes the iriver W7 one versatile portable navigation device. The release is set in the US for spring of this year…This ship date shouldn’t be a problem considering Koreans have been rockin’ these since November.

    Say tuned in to find out more about iRiver W10 with GSM phone built in.

    Read more!

    Give Peace a Chance in the Format War

    I’m always one to root for the underdog, but sometimes it’s better to just admit being outmatched and focus on other things. Such is the case with HD-DVD, Toshiba's high definition video disc format using Microsoft software. The format has failed to out sell its arch nemesis Blu-ray Disc, in terms of players and titles.

    New statistics publicized today at CES followed the announcement of a second profile update for Blu-ray, profile 2.0. As with profile 1.1 this 2.0 update gives you more interactivity and special feature access; most things HD-DVD has had since its beginnings. Despite this constant retooling, Blu-ray remains on top in total sales.

    According to Home Media Research, an independent market research firm, Blu-ray titles outsold their competition 2 to 1 in the states this year; player sales stand at 3 to 1 in Blu-rays favor. This particular statistic makes HD-DVD sound like a salvageable format in the states; its pretty bad but not a total shutout. Unfortunately for HD-DVD lovers, the rest of the world’s major electronics markets have a much more decisive numbers. The European market has the ratio of Blu-ray titles to HD-DVD at 3 to 1 and players at 10 to 1. The real blow comes from the land where these things tend to be decided, Japan. Consumers have voted with their wallets overwhelmingly for Blu-ray. Home Media Research puts the ratio at 14 to 1 for titles sales, and 100 to 1 for player sales. Is that a death rattle I hear?

    Update: Toshiba PR stateswoman fires back at CES press conference

    ..Via CES Press Releases..

    Read more!

    Tuesday, January 8, 2008

    Magellan's New Lineup, iPhone Inspired?

    Magellan Elite 2370
    Magellan, seemingly taking a play from the iPhone play book, has announced that a borderless 3.5” touch-panel display will adorn one of their latest PND, the Elite 3270 (not pictured). By removing the traditional beveled plastic case, Magellan hopes that the resulting form will be considered more “elegant and high-tech” by users, thus setting them apart in a crowded PND market.

    Along with its new edge to edge flat screen, touch sensitivity is also enhanced. If brought to market today the Elite 3270 would be the industry’s most compact PND standing 3.24” tall and 0.7” thick. The model will ship with all the necessary accessories for easy installation into your vehicle. Alas it’s not out yet. The list price is $499.

    Maestro™ Elite 5340+GPRS

    Maestro™ Elite 5340 (pictured above)
    Improved processor speed and a dedicated graphics accelerator are good reasons to choose the Maestro™. But, if display size is a driving factor in your GPS purchase decisions, than you might be interested in the 5” screen that beautifies this newest flagship model of Magellan GPS.

    For the majority of us this alone is not enough to make the sale. So what other goodies does Magellan have up their sleeves?

    Besides giving you 35% more viewable area, Maestro™ is a highly customizable device. With the “One touch” interface you can identify and store your favorite destinations, like which chain restaurant you like to eat at or what superstore you like to buy underwear from. Then, with one touch the Maestro™ instantly accesses directions to the nearest store in that chain from your present location. This would be great for traveling through unfamiliar territory. One touch is also touted as a safety feature minimizing driver distraction by streamlining access to destinations and POIs.

    Further contributing to driver safety is the SayWhere™ voice command. Simply speak the destination address and Maestro™ calculates the appropriate route in seconds or search POIs with voice commands like, “Nearest Indian Restaurant”. The Maestro is equipped with a dual microphone to decipher your voice, and for Bluetooth® enabled phone calls. After you tire of your selected voice telling you where to go, switch over to the media player with built in FM transmitter to broadcast your MP3s through the car stereo.

    Traffic data isn’t over looked either. This subscription based traffic update also makes alternate route calculation based on historical traffic data taking into account the time of day. The smartness of this traffic data system might make it worth continuing the subscription after the three month trial period expires.

    General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
    Is too much information every really *too* much information? We don’t think so. Magellan is betting most of their information age demographic feels similarly. To that end, Magellan has partnered with Google to provide their Maestro Elite 5340+GPRS with the uncanny ability to provide overly comprehensive location specific information through Google local search, "simply type in what it is you're looking for and Google displays relevant results around the your current location or a specified location". List price 1,299.

    These are said to be scheduled for release sometime in the first quarter of 2008.

    Read more!

    Monday, January 7, 2008

    Sennheiser's MX W1 Wireless Earbuds

    Sennheiser MX W1Sennheiser doesn't play around with low-fidelity sound, like the kind you can expect from Bluetooth. These sultans of sound decreed their newest innovation at CES, a fully wireless hi-fidelity set of earbuds. These new buddies use 2.4 GHz radio transmission technology from Kleer.

    RCA JetStream is the only other product on the market that uses Kleer's innovative technology. RCA’s arrangement is less than optimal. The great things about Sennheiser’s MX W1 is that there's no wire connecting the ear pieces and you aren't tied to a specific device; the transmitter jacks into any 1/8" output socket. The transmitter that plugs into your devices is smaller than a iPod Nano. It almost gets lost when straped to the back of the Nano, see pics.

    The cost of using two receivers (two earbuds) rather than one, with a wire connecting the two phones, does bring the final cost up somewhat; innovation is costly. So, is being an early adopter. The price is rumored to be hovering around the $600 mark.

    Soon to be Released Products
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    Samsung Dual Format Players BP-5000/U5500

    Samsung BP-5000Are you somewhat indecisive? Does the thought of selecting between two seemingly equal options make your palms sweat? This sounds likes many of us. As far as, the latest video disc format war (Blu-ray vs. HD DVD) chances are you, like me, haven’t made a decision on what format player you want to go with.

    Samsung BP-U5500 If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines waiting for the companies backing the different formats to duke it out before scooping up your set, you’re not alone. In an effort to get money from us non-committal types, Samsung is slated to offer a two dual format single disc players “Duo HD”, the BP-U5500 (second half of the year) and BP-5000 (hitting warehouses now).

    The BP-5000 is said to have shipped with some bugs in terms of sound processing. This will most likely be addressed in a software update by Samsung. One hopes that the BP-U5500 will ship without any major issues. However, with the addition of Ethernet access on the BP-U5500 if this is the case the player could be updated automatically. This addition also increases the amount of content that the player can access over the internet.

    The newer BP-U5500 player also supports Blu-ray Disc’s ‘Final Profile’ which allows for more special features support (when present on the new disc releases). Samsung gives you the best of both formats without you choosing sides or locking yourself into a particular format. These two Samsung models also handle your existing media (CD/DVD) with ease.

    ..via gizmodo..

    Update: The spec page is up from Samsung BD-UP5000. Seems as if the production models are label BD-UP5000/5500. Blu-ray Disc Universal Player, I'm guessing.

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    Friday, January 4, 2008

    Blackberry gets Slung over Slingbox PRO HD

    SlingMedia SlingBox PRO HD

    Blackberry's tried and true image of being a totally utilitarian device, more suitable for suits than slackers, maybe tarnished somewhat by this new announcement. SlingMedia is introducing, at CES, their latest model the Slingbox PRO HD. In this upgrade, the good folks at SlingMedia heeded the advice of their customers, more likely focus groups, and added Blackberry support for the SlingPlayer Mobile.

    This new box streams your chosen supply of 1080i video over your home network (best way to use this model) or the internet (dependent on your bandwidth). The Slingbox PRO HD looks like its sibling the Slingbox PRO, and works basically the same way except for the HD quality video.

    Though Blackberry really doesn’t need a PR boost, this newfound goof-ability will certainly perk up some ears. As to when to look for these...Sling Media's answer is sometime "this year". For more pics click read more link.

    ..Via Engadget..
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    Thursday, January 3, 2008

    Microvision’s Vision of the Future

    Photo Courtesy of Microvision Incorporated

    Photo Courtesy of Microvision Incorporated
    CES News

    Pico projectors promise to increase the pervasiveness of tiny projectors embedded in all sort of devices. Microvision is unveiling a prototype of a minuscule standalone projector called “Show” (inventive name guys) next week at CES.

    Microvision, Pico's developer, is selling their projection system as the perfect solution for easily sharing videos or photos. Pico projectors enable other manufactures to develop smaller wearable displays, more versatile vehicle heads up displays, and tiny integrated or peripheral projectors. They envision their PicoP display engine being added to pretty much any device that has or attaches to a display.

    This ability to embed these projectors in tiny technologies is made possible due to the PicoP display engine's minute size and low power consumption. The actual process by which this technology achieves these projections is very fascinating, especially to a purveyor of pixels such as myself.

    I could see this projection technology gaining wide acceptance among photographers as a way of quickly proofing photos without having to carry laptops or display monitors to all you’re shoots. As it exists now the resolution is, a less than stellar, WVGA (848 X 480 pixels).

    My only qualm with this technology is the degree to which these projectors would be used in advertising. I will loathe the day when advertisers will inundated us with sparkling projections on billboards, subway cars, sides of buildings, and so on. After all, the LED ad screens that debuted on the N/R/W subway line’s 23rd street station entrance haven’t spread to many other entryways in the MTA system; most likely due to the costs of running and maintaining them.

    Maybe this projection technology will remain too expensive to be a viable replacement of printed ads. Come to think of it, that’s doubtful considering Mircovision estimates products could be priced at as low as $500 and still turn tidy profit. Also, advertisers could change ads remotely while saving on printing cost. So yeah, this revolution is pretty much inevitable.

    One final note, it's true TV ads are getting cut out by DVRs and internet uploads. Will this be where those ads go next? Being that I'm a photographer, I’m hoping that companies will continue opting for the cheaper production cost associated with photographic stills rather than only producing video ads.

    There are still magazines, right? Oh yeah, LG Phillips is looking to change that too. They’ve develop an ultra thin flexible LCD displays that could easily replace paper ads in magazines. Guess I’d better start learning how to shoot video.

    ..Via Gizmowatch..

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    Wednesday, January 2, 2008

    Alpine Uses iTunes Tagging in New DMRs

    Alpine and Apple having been engaged in a long standing courtship, have decided to take their relationship to the next level. Building on the successes of the iDA-X001, Alpine is releasing three more digital media receivers, for your auto, based on the same design functionality and iPod integration of this earlier model.

    Of course, newer iPods will be compatible with these yet to be released Alpine head units, but the real windfall for Apple is the new iTunes tagging feature that will be incorporated into Alpine's flagship receiver, the iDA-X100.

    iTunes tagging works in conjunction with HD radio. Let’s say, for whatever reason, your iPod playlist just isn’t ‘doing it’ for you. So you make the executive decision to switch over to HD radio programming (you just happen to have that module installed). Then things start to look up again, there’s this rockin’ song playing from some artist you haven’t discovered yet. In fact, you’ve enjoyed the song so much you would like to take note of the artist and song title. This all seems fairly plausible, right?

    At this point, iTunes tagging comes into play; all you’d have to do is press a button, there by ‘tagging’ the song playing on the radio. That tag is then relayed to your iPod and when you next sync the iPod to your computer you’ll be prompted to purchase the tagged song at, where else, the iTunes store. How’s that for Marketing 2.0?

    Also, seemingly in effort to build a buzz about their new releases Alpine has “leaked” their new product line brochure.

    Read more!