Thursday, March 04, 2004


THE MAC G5 MAKES SOME NOISE »

Related entries: Desktops

powermacG5We sorta dig the idea of a computer that hisses, hums, and wheezes (well, only in theory), but Apple has admitted that in some cases using the new dual-processor 1.8GHz Mac G5 with pro audio equipment causes it to emit all sorts of unusual sounds, and has gotten around to fixing the problem. Turns out it had something to do with the G5’s power supply.

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REVIEW OF THE REPLAYTV 5504 »

Related entries: Home Entertainment

replaytv5504

PC Magazine review of the latest digital video recorder from ReplayTV, the 5504, which can store up to 40 hours of programming (which is starting to seem a bit paltry, these days). The new ReplayTVs also lack some of the finer features of the old ones, like the ability to automatically skip commercials or email shows to friends. The new owner of ReplayTV didn’t feel like being sued, so these features promptly got the ax. But to be fair, TiVo has never had either of those abilities.

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THE POWERDESK »

Related entries: Desktops

powerdeskSomeone’s gone ahead and created a line of desks with PCs built right into them. Sure, the PowerDesk has “European craftsmenship” and comes in your choice of marble or corian desktop, but the specs — a 2.4GHz processor, 256MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive — are a bit poky for a desktop, meaning that in three months when your PC is obsolete you’ll either have a huge piece of furniture to throw out or figure out how to upgrade.

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PROBABLY NOT COMING SOON: THE SPERM-KILLING CELLPHONE »

Related entries: Cellphones

We weren’t able to catch the big 3GSM trade show in Cannes, France, last week, but after hearing about some of the crazy cellphones that surfaced there, we really wish we’d been able to make it. Some of the oddities include: The Encyclo-phone, which has the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica stored on it; the Defenderfone, which has a built-in stun gun; the X-PandaCam, which can project a slideshow onto a wall from as far as 10 meters away; and most disturbingly (and we hope this is some sort of hoax), the Nippit 3000, a special chip from Prophy-Lectric meant to be installed into cellphones. The Nippit 3000 can project a ultrasonic beam that supposedly kill any sperm within a range of 18 feet and is supposed to be used as a form of birth control. What’s terrifying is that anyone crazy enough to employ such a bizarre method of birth control probably shouldn’t be reproducing anyway.

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THE FLUIDFOCUS LENS »

Related entries: Digital Cameras

fluidfocus

Mimicking the way the human eye works, Philips has created a camera lens that can focus without any moving parts and is made entirely out of two non-mixing fluids.

The Philips FluidFocus lens consists of two immiscible (non-mixing) fluids of different refractive index (optical properties), one an electrically conducting aqueous solution and the other an electrically non-conducting oil, contained in a short tube with transparent end caps. The internal surfaces of the tube wall and one of its end caps are coated with a hydrophobic (water-repellent) coating that causes the aqueous solution to form itself into a hemispherical mass at the opposite end of the tube, where it acts as a spherically curved lens.

The supposed advantage of the FluidFocus lens is that because it has no moving parts it can be manufactured cheapily and easily, meaning that focusing lenses could be brought to all sorts of things (like cameraphones and low-end digital cameras) which usually only have fixed-focus lenses.

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THE DEVIL DUCKIE »

Related entries: Misc. Gadgets

devilduckie

We’re not exactly sure it’s a devil or why ducks are such a popular motif for these things (remember the iDuck?), but TikiMac is selling a Devil Duckie USB 2.0 Flash drive that comes in 128MB, 256MB, and 512MB versions and is compatible with Macs and PCs.

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IBIZ’S VIRTUAL LASER KEYBOARD »

Related entries: Cellphones

virtuallaserkeyboardiBiz Technology’s Virtual Laser Keyboard, in which you type onto a projected image of a keyboard rather than actual physical keys, should be out by the end of the month. The Virtual Laser Keyboard attaches to a PDA (it’s both Palm and Pocket PC compatible), and will also work with laptops and desktops. A version for cellphones is due out around the end of the year. We were able to play with one of these at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January, and while it does take a little getting used to, it definitely does work as advertised. Whether we would want to tap away at a flat surface for hours on end is another matter entirely.

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CHEAP 3D SCANNER ON THE WAY »

Related entries: Misc. Gadgets

cheap3DSpiral Scratch, a British start-up, say they’ve created an inexpensive gadget for making 3D scans of any object. It’s still a couple of years away from production, but they’re claiming it’ll cost just 100 pounds when it comes out. Combine one of these with a cheap 3D printer, and you can expect a boom in people swapping scans of all sorts of objects online.

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HOW TO NEVER MISS A CALL WHILE FLYING »

Related entries: Cellphones

For ten bucks a month, Verizon Wireless will let you forward calls from your cellphone directly to your seat while flying, as long as you’re traveling on an airline that uses Verizon’s Airfone service, that is. There’s also a cost per minute of 10 cents, but compared to what it normally costs to make a phone call while aloft ($3.99 for set up, plus $3.99 a minute), this is a huge bargain.

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NO 3G MICROSOFT SMARTPHONE UNTIL 2005 »

Related entries: Cellphones

MSMobiles reports that it won’t be until next year that we see a 3G cellphone running on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system. Not that it makes a bit of difference here in the US, where 3G remains a (somewhat) distant dream, but in Europe high-speed 3G cellular networks are already a reality, and sooner or later anyone willing to shell out some serious cash for a smartphone running Windows Mobile is going to want one compatible with 3G.

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BLUETOOTH: FOR EUROPEANS ONLY? »

Related entries: Handhelds

Effectively saying that Bluetooth is for Europeans only (sorta like unpasteurized cheese!), Dell’s new version of their wireless Axim X3i Pocket PC with built-in Bluetooth will only be made available in Europe.

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IRIVER’S 1GB MP3 PLAYER »

Related entries: Portable Audio

iriver599t

Don’t get me wrong, the iPod mini feels so right in your hand, and they’ve done their best to prevent the hard drive from skipping, but if you’re jumping around, eventually your iPod is going to skip — or worse yet, freeze up. (And yes, we know that can be remedied with a simple reset.) The iRiver 595T and 599T are two new Flash-based players that come with a whopping 512MB and 1GB respectively, and also pack a built-in FM tuner and MP3 recording, a couple of features the iPod mini lacks. They are also both a bit smaller than the mini, and claim a staggeringly long battery life of 28 hours, but there’s a massive downside to these long-lasting, skip-proof players: their cost. The 1GB player runs $450, or about the same price as the 40 GB iPod. Ouch.

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THE PERSISTENCE OF THE TREO 610 »

Related entries: Cellphones

The rumors that a Treo 610 will be announced this month persist. We still have yet to see any concrete evidence that palmOne actually has one in the works.

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THE BERKELEY LOWER EXTREMITY EXOSKELETON »

Related entries: Robots

bleexWe’ve seen a few of these pop up in Japan, but now there’s an American-made robotic exoskeleton suit, as well. Researchers at UC Berkeley have created the Berkeley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton, or BLEEX, which consists of

mechanical metal leg braces that are connected rigidly to the user at the feet, and, in order to prevent abrasion, more compliantly elsewhere. The device includes a power unit and a backpack-like frame used to carry a large load…The researchers point out that the human pilot does not need a joystick, button or special keyboard to “drive” the device. Rather, the machine is designed so that the pilot becomes an integral part of the exoskeleton, thus requiring no special training to use it. In the UC Berkeley experiments, the human pilot moved about a room wearing the 100-pound exoskeleton and a 70-pound backpack while feeling as if he were lugging a mere 5 pounds.

All we can say is that we’re glad there’s finally a homegrown powered exoskeleton out there.

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N-GAGE ADS BANNED IN THE U.K. »

Related entries: Cellphones

ngageOur favorite punching bag, Nokia’s glorious failure known as the N-Gage (no relation), is in the news again. And not because it’s sales have been poor or because it’s gotten another negative review. No, this time it’s because Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority has banned several of Nokia’s ads for the N-Gage, saying that they’re too violent and “offensive and distressing.” We haven’t seen any of the ads yet, but we’re sure they’ll be a huge hit here in the States.

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SANDISK IS THE NEW KODAK »

Related entries: Digital Cameras

The San Francisco Chronicle says that SanDisk, which makes those Flash memory cards used in digital cameras, is set to become the Kodak of the digital age, and is trying transform itself into a household brand name. By contrast, Kodak (the Kodak of the analog age) is struggling as the market for traditional film continues to slide and slide and slide.

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SCIENTIFIC ATLANTA PLANNING CABLE BOXES THAT PLAY GAMES »

Related entries: Home Entertainment

Scientific Atlanta, which makes TV set-top boxes used by Time Warner and other cable companies, says it’s working on new boxes that will be able to play video games. Not that we believe them, but they’re even claiming that the quality of the games will rival that of the Xbox and the PlayStation 2. Of course, there’s no word on when the first game boxes would be ready. 

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WORLD’S SMALLEST MP3 PLAYER »

Related entries: Portable Audio

ypt5

Samsung has what they’re claiming is the world’s smallest MP3 player which is just 5.4 centimeters tall, and weighs only 24 grams without its battery. The YP-T5, which comes in 128MB, 256MB, and 512MB versions, also has a built-in microphone for making voice recordings and Samsung’s “SRS WOW” surround sound technology.

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TIVO DROPPING PRICES »

Related entries: Home Entertainment

TiVo has just dropped their prices on standalone units and are offering another $50 rebate on top of that. The major stores are getting in line behind the price drop — all the big chains have followed suit. TiVo’s web store and most of the chain stores we visited were out of the 60-hour model, and it seems the supply of 40- and 80-hour models isn’t exactly brimming over. Could they be killing off their smaller capacity lines now that they have a 140 hour model on the way?

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MOTOROLA’S V600 CAMERAPHONE: FOR CELEBS ONLY »

Related entries: Cellphones

motorolav600

Om Malik reports that Motorola (not to go totally overboard with news about them this morning) may have included their sleek new V600 cameraphone in the famously overstuffed gift bags given to all Oscar winners and presenters, but good luck getting one if you’re a not a celebrity. There’s been no official announcement, but supposedly the phones have been delayed, possibly due to some sort of technical problem and now aren’t expected out until the end of the month at the earliest.

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MOTOROLA’S NEW A1000 3G SMARTPHONE »

Related entries: Cellphones

a1000

Motorola just announced their latest 3G phone running the Symbian UIQ operating system, the A1000. Its predecessors, the A900 and A925, each had a lukewarm reception when they were made available by 3G carrier 3. The A900 was a boat of a handset and curiously lacked Bluetooth, while, the A925, launched just two weeks ago, swapped in Bluetooth and reducing the size a little bit. Well, Motorola must have been hard at work putting this latest smartphone on a serious diet. The A1000 keeps Bluetooth and the other features of the 925 (while upgrading the camera to 1.2 megapixels), but manages to be smaller and slimmer (though still not sexy yet, sorry, Moto) than either A900 or A925.

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AN N-GAGE 2 ALREADY? »

Related entries: Cellphones

The rumors that Nokia was planning a follow-up to their poorly-selling N-Gage gamephone started flying almost as soon as it hit stores last fall. The latest speculation is that they’ll announce the N-Gage 2 at E3, the big video game trade show being held in Los Angeles this coming May, and that the next version correct many of the most common complaints about the much maligned gadget, like how it’s a huge hassle to swap in a new game.

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KYOCERA GETS KOI »

Related entries: Cellphones

koi

Maybe it was the Motorola V70, maybe it was the Sony Ericsson SO505i, but somewhere along the line a new trend in cellphone design got started. Flipphones are SO last year, 2004 is the year of the twistphone. Motorola announced the V80 a few weeks ago, an advanced follow-up to the V70 with a color screen, camera, Bluetooth and all the other advanced features its predecessor lacked. Now Kyocera has practically copied Motorola’s new design with a CDMA version called the Koi. Like all America-bound CDMA phones, it lacks Bluetooth, but the Koi makes up for it (sort of) with a 1.2 megapixel camera and fast 1xRTT data connection to send off those big pictures.

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PANASONIC’S NEW DVD CAMCORDER »

Related entries: Digital Cameras

vdrm70k

A brand new camcorder from Panasonic that records onto mini three-inch DVD-R discs rather than cassette tapes or Flash memory cards. The VDR-M70K comes out in Japan next month.

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ANONYMOUS SIM CARDS HELPED TRACK DOWN AL QAEDA »

Related entries: Cellphones

Constantly changing which cellphone you use definitely helps if you’re a terrorist trying to avoid detection, but it turns out that it’s not gonna get you very far if you keep using the same SIM card in each phone, which is apparently how the US was able to capture Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Al Qaeda’s military commander. Even buying anonymous, pre-paid SIM cards didn’t make a difference, and in fact was what lead to their downfall. Because they could be purchased anonymously, the terrorists didn’t think it was important to switch cards from time to time.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2004


THE EMIRATE 1 - THE FIRST POCKET PC PHONE TO HELP YOU PRAY TOWARDS MECCA »

Related entries: Cellphones

emirate1

A somewhat unusual-looking new Pocket PC Phone from ADCOM Group called the EMIRATE 1, which besides being the first Pocket PC built in the United Arab Emirates, also comes with built-in GPS navigation (which they tout as being able to help you find Mecca when it’s time to pray), Bluetooth, 64MB of RAM, a 312MHz processor, and an SD card slot.

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INTRODUCING ERIC LIN »

Related entries: Announcements

There’s some other news regarding Engadget to relate: I’ve been lucky enough to convince Eric Lin, one of the most talented writers on wireless and mobile tech that I know, to become a contributor to Engadget. Eric is going to be pitching in with a few posts a day, focusing on cellphones and wireless stuff, but he won’t be limited to those areas, and I’ll continue to cover them as well. Please join me in welcoming him to the site!

Permalink »



THE ZVUE GETS DIVX »

Related entries: Portable Video

zvueHandHeld Entertainment just announced that they’re adding support for DivX to their remarkably inexpensive $99 ZVUE personal video player. That means that if you’ve got an SD memory card that’s large enough (the ZVUE has no internal storage of its own), you can just download DivX files of TV shows and movies off of the Internet (we’re sure you know how), and take them with you anywhere.

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PANASONIC’S NEW ONE MEGAPIXEL CAMERAPHONE »

Related entries: Cellphones

p900iHigher-resolution cameraphones are quickly becoming the standard in Japan, and the latest offered by carrier DoCoMo is Panasonic’s 1.3 megapixel P900i. The P900i’s built-in camera also as an auto-focus lens, another feature we expect to become commonplace in cameraphones rather soon.

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BELKIN’S UNIVERSAL MICROPHONE ADAPTER FOR THE IPOD »

Related entries: Portable Audio

belkinadapterNew universal microphone adapter for the iPod from Belkin. You won’t be bootlegging that next Radiohead concert, though, since it only records at 8kHz — or just good enough for capturing voice memos or lectures.

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Previous Entries

 » Acer goes wider
    Mar 3, 2004, 12:23 PM ET
 » Testing the iPod mini
    Mar 3, 2004, 12:00 PM ET
 » Not a Picture of the New Hiptop, a Picture FROM It
    Mar 3, 2004, 11:55 AM ET
 » Samsung’s new Palmphone
    Mar 3, 2004, 11:46 AM ET
 » So where is that Treo 610 everyone was talking about?
    Mar 3, 2004, 11:37 AM ET
 » Nintendo’s new portable game console might have Bluetooth
    Mar 3, 2004, 10:58 AM ET
 » The Ferrari of pet robots
    Mar 3, 2004, 10:28 AM ET
 » Nikon’s new digital camera
    Mar 3, 2004, 9:58 AM ET
 » The rise and rise of the USB Flash drive
    Mar 3, 2004, 8:53 AM ET
 » Introducing engadget
    Mar 2, 2004, 6:45 PM ET
 » JVC’s 16 hour DVD recorder
    Mar 2, 2004, 4:42 PM ET
 » New ruggedized tablet-style PC from JLT Mobile Computers
    Mar 2, 2004, 4:35 PM ET
 » First look at Sony’s new TH55 Clie handheld
    Mar 2, 2004, 4:29 PM ET
 » Video of Motorola’s MPx300 Pocket PC Phone
    Mar 2, 2004, 4:07 PM ET
 » Black version of Sony’s super skinny five megapixel camera
    Mar 2, 2004, 1:35 PM ET
 » DIY iPod battery pack
    Mar 2, 2004, 1:32 PM ET
 » No mini-hard drives from Hitachi. Sort of.
    Mar 2, 2004, 1:27 PM ET
 » Microsoft on every DVD player?
    Mar 2, 2004, 1:26 PM ET
 » Microsoft and Motorola’s marriage of convenience
    Mar 2, 2004, 1:24 PM ET
 » Rumors of two new Zires from palmOne
    Mar 2, 2004, 1:23 PM ET
 » Alcatel’s new cellphones
    Mar 2, 2004, 1:22 PM ET
 » New high-res Pocket PC coming from Asus
    Mar 2, 2004, 1:12 PM ET
 » T-Flash: aka “Yet Another Memory Card Format”
    Mar 2, 2004, 1:12 PM ET

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