Few more tid bits on Microsoft's Phone 7 and Telstra's plans for it

Steve Dougherty | Mobile Devices | Aug 26, 2010 3:44 AM CDT

Microsoft's Tech.Ed conference which took place on the Gold Coast recently gave indication of what might be happening with Telstra's upcoming range of Windows Phone 7 handsets.

One such detail mentioned by David Powell whom is Telstra's manager of Device Management & Operations was that there will be a good amount of different Windows 7 based phones on offer right off the bat, but did not say how many exactly.

When questioned about the exact feature list of these next-gen Microsoft phones, Microsoft evangelist David Glover said while there are defintive features locked in for launch and others still undecided at this point, Microsoft is being super careful about giving stable features on a solid platform as a first and foremost directive.

Continue reading: Few more tid bits on Microsoft's Phone 7 and Telstra's plans for it (full post)

What's going on with all our freeview HD content?

Steve Dougherty | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Aug 26, 2010 2:21 AM CDT

The rollout for high definition freeview TV certainly ran at a slow pace in the initial stages, but for a while there things were looking good for free high definition TV on all of the major Australian networks.....until said networks started pulling the plug on dedicated HD channels that mirrored their popular SD channel content.

First we witnessed the loss of Ten HD once channel One arrived, which many are still unhappy about to this day with a lot of good HD content lacking on One that Ten HD had. Then came the recent loss of ABC HD, with ABC's excuse being that they would launch ABC News 24 in replacement. This is by no means a step forward; to the contrary, only a minimal amount of news on this channel is in high definition.

Now channel 7 is going a similar route and has indicated that when its new channel "7mate" arrives in late September, it will signal the end of 7HD. Once again, a new dedicated channel wouldn't be so bad if it retained all the good, most watched content; the problem is it doesn't and 7mate will not be broadcasting shows like Packed to the Rafters, City Homicide, Home and Away and Sunrise; so it's goodbye to those in HD, too.

Continue reading: What's going on with all our freeview HD content? (full post)

Newest iPad fans: Sumo wrestlers!

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Aug 25, 2010 8:33 PM CDT

What do you give a group of people who have fingers too large to text and a hard time connecting with 21st Century technology? An iPad, of course! The Japan Sumo Association is distributing around sixty iPads to all of the training facilities and top association officials to help improve communications between the groups who have, until now, still mostly relied on "outdated" tech like telephones and fax machines to share information.

The sport has come under fire recently amidst many scandals including apprentice hazing, gambling, match fixing, and gang ties. Clumsy and ineffectual information sharing between leaders has been tagged as a major culprit, and the JSA is hoping that the iPad will help the sumo leadership connect in ways that are nearly physically impossible with a cell phone or even a computer for the sport that has been slow to adopt new tech.

"It seems rather easy to use," association chief Hanaregoma said following a brief training session on the popular tablet gadget. "Sending emails was very easy." Hanaregoma also stated that although he can read texts on his phone, he doesn't know how to reply and rarely uses a computer. This is commonplace among the Sumo, who are tightly bonded with their traditions and ancient ways. "If we place this (iPad) in all the stables, we should be able to contact them anytime," the association's spokesman Nishonoseki has said.

Continue reading: Newest iPad fans: Sumo wrestlers! (full post)

Cisco and Verizon expecting holograms over IP within ten years

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Aug 25, 2010 7:45 PM CDT

With the current rage over 3D technology invading our movie theaters and homes now, it wasn't going to be long before something like this came to fruition. Cisco CEO John Chambers has predicted that holograms over IP will become "commonplace" within ten years. Verizon is already conducting experiments with hologram technology over their FiOS network, with their CIO tinkering with a 1Gbps link in Manhattan, NY.

With the constantly growing hunger for bandwidth of these new technologies due to file size, Cisco is stating that even streaming video will quadruple bandwidth demands by 2014 so the 1 Gbps link may be necessary to keep even the simplest 3D video from being a choppy mess by then. Considering the fact that some DSL connections occasionally hiccup with simple YouTube videos, these types of speeds seem pretty far off in the distance for a lot of people, but ten years can be like a century in the tech world.

Continue reading: Cisco and Verizon expecting holograms over IP within ten years (full post)

Google Voice now integrated with Gmail for free VoIP calls in the U.S.

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Aug 25, 2010 6:26 PM CDT

Google's press event in San Francisco offered up a ton of new goodies today. The company launched Google Voice integration with Gmail, allowing Gmail users in the U.S. to make and receive phone calls over Gmail to landlines and cell phones. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are free, while calls to dozens of other countries are only two cents per minute.

This large expansion to Google Voice adds several new features: Both outgoing and incoming calls are supported, calls can be switched between Gmail interface and call/landline interface, and Google Voice can be set up to ring multiple phones to reach you wherever you may be. Google says audio quality is outstanding; even over a computer's built in speakers.

Google is even placing big red phone booths at selected airports and colleges to allow people to try out the new service free of charge. Just connect to the Google Chat toolbar and select place call, and you are able to dial your number. Incoming call alerts pop up at the bottom right corner of your screen.

Continue reading: Google Voice now integrated with Gmail for free VoIP calls in the U.S. (full post)

Mitsubishi debuts 1080p 3D TVs with HDD and Blu-ray burner built-in

Shane McGlaun | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Aug 25, 2010 12:06 PM CDT

There are a lot of TVs on the market today that are crammed with cool tech like internal HDDs for directly recording programs, Blu-ray burners for burning those recorded shows to disc and 3D. Typically, you can find sets that have both a HDD and the Blu-ray burner in one, but it's not common to find a set that has all three of those features. Mitsubishi has now announced a new line of full HD TV sets that have all three features.

The new sets are the Real MDR1 series and can be had in 40-inch, 46-inche, and 55-inch screen sizes. So far, the TVs have only been announced for Japan. All of the screen sizes are LED backlit and the internal HDD is a 1TB unit. The sets also have a ten speaker sound system that should provide sound better than the average TV without needing external speakers.

The Blu-ray burner will also play Blu-ray films. Other features include USB, HDMI, and a SD card slot and they all ship with a single pair of 3D glasses. Pricing for the sets are up to $5,900 for the 55-inch unit and exactly how much additional sets of glasses will cost is unknown. All of the sets will hit stores in Japan on October 21.

Continue reading: Mitsubishi debuts 1080p 3D TVs with HDD and Blu-ray burner built-in (full post)

Periscope offers new Lighted Folio for Kindle 2 and Nook

Shane McGlaun | Mobile Devices | Aug 24, 2010 3:02 PM CDT

With the iPad blowing up the market right now, the eReader isn't as popular as it was a few months before tie iPad was unveiled. Despite the fact that the iPad is selling better than many eReaders, there are still lots of folks out there who would rather just get a good eReader like the Kindle 2 or the Barnes & Noble Nook. If you are one of these sorts the lack of a backlight for the screen means you will need a light of some sort to read in the dark.

Periscope has been making its line of covers for various eReaders for a line time that have integrated lights. The company has announced that the latest version of its Periscope Lighted Folio is designed to work with the Kindle 2 and the Nook. The new Folio has the LED light inside powered by three AA batteries that is for reading in the dark.

The LED light is good for 40 hours of use per set of batteries. On the left side of the Folio is a 5 x 8 pad of paper and a place for a pen so the reader can take notes if needed. The new Folio can be had in black or pink colors. Either color sells for $49.95 and both are available right now.

Continue reading: Periscope offers new Lighted Folio for Kindle 2 and Nook (full post)

GefenTV offers new Auto Volume Stabilizer for TV fans

Shane McGlaun | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Aug 24, 2010 2:04 PM CDT

I bet most of us can relate to wanting the volume to be the same for the commercials we see on TV as the show we are watching. It's irritating to when you are watching a show and then a commercial comes on that is five times as loud as the show you are watching. It's also annoying when you are watching at a reasonable volume on one channel and change channels to find the volume way louder than the previous station.

GefenTV has announced a new product that will stop that from happening. The device is called the Auto Volume Stabilizer and it connects inline between your audio source and the speaker system you are using. The rear of the Auto Volume Stabilizer has ports for analog and digital sound inputs. Once the input is connected, the output is run from the stabilizer to your speakers.

The device is then able to adjust the volume in a way that you never realize it is being adjusted and ensure a consistent volume across all inputs and channels. The device has LEDs to show what mode it is in. It has a bypass mode that will let the unaltered sound come through if wanted. You can pick the device up now for $179.

Continue reading: GefenTV offers new Auto Volume Stabilizer for TV fans (full post)

Logitech adds new products to Ultimate Ears line

Shane McGlaun | Audio, Sound & Speakers | Aug 24, 2010 12:04 PM CDT

Logitech purchased the Ultimate Ears earphone company a long while back. Ultimate Ears makes some very nice sets of earbuds that can be had in audiophile grade offerings that are expensive down to affordable sets that the normal consumer might be interested in. I have used several Ultimate Ears earphones and they generally perform well. Logitech has announced new additions to the line.

The new Ultimate Ears models are the 500, 350, 200, as well as the 500vi and 200vi offerings. The 500 is the flagship offering of the new models with a small design made to sit flush with the ears and noise isolation with a detailed sound stage. The 500vi is the same earphones with inline controls and a mic for use with music phones like the iPhone. The 350 is a set of earphones that are optimized for lots of bass and to resist sweat during workouts.

The 200 series are budget offerings with a low profile design and come in pink, black, and blue colors. The 200vi is designed for use with music phones like the iPhone with a 3.5mm headphone jack and controls for music along with a mic for voice calls. The 200 sell for $29.99, the 350 will cost $49.99, and the 500 will sell for $69.99 the vi versions add $10 to the price of the normal offerings. All of the new headsets will ship in September.

Continue reading: Logitech adds new products to Ultimate Ears line (full post)

Microsoft first to market with CPU/GPU combo

Shane McGlaun | Gaming | Aug 24, 2010 11:02 AM CDT

Both AMD and Intel have been talking about new CPU/GPU combination processors for a long time. When we first heard of the combination processors chipmakers were predicting that they would be the end of the discrete GPU. Whether that will play out remains to be seen, but I doubt it. We would have expected the first CPU/GPU hybrid to come from Intel or AMD, but Microsoft has beaten both to the punch.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 team unveiled the new SoC that will power the coming slim Xbox 360 250GB gaming console. The SoC is built by Global Foundries on the 45nm process and combines the GPU and the CPU onto one chip. The goal Microsoft had in mind was making the construction of the gaming console cheaper in an effort to eek all the profit it could out of the console.

Benefits for the gamer looking to buy a new Xbox 360 is that the SoC is more power efficient and more importantly allows that massive power brick the Xbox 360 uses to go on a diet. Less power needed will also mean the console should run cooler, which is a big deal if you cram your console into an entertainment center. Microsoft apparently had to add in a system that reduced the performance of the SoC to keep the new console inline performance wise with older systems. The new SoC uses 60% less power than the original console that debuted back in 2005.

Continue reading: Microsoft first to market with CPU/GPU combo (full post)