Etymotic's new headset's offer custom molded earpieces

Don Lynn | Peripherals | Jun 23, 2010 9:27 PM CDT

Etymonic has unveiled a new line of in-ear noise canceling headset in a variety of colors. Their MC3 and M5 lines, retailing for $99 and $79 USD respectively, feature an inline control pod and a noise isolating microphone with adjustable volume for music and other things like phone calls. The top of the line MC series for $179 feature an expanded control 3-button pod that's inline with the audio cable and are designed for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

The coolest feature included for these products is the ability to get fitted for custom eartips to match your ears. Buyers can sign up for a voucher for a free visit to an audiologist who will fit your ears with a mold, then send those impressions to a lab "where your impressions will become custom-molded, Etymotic-compatible eartips." The custom eartips will set you back $100 USD and carry a one year warranty. This program starts July 1st and is available for all Etymonic products.

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Motorola Droid X officially announced

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jun 23, 2010 7:59 PM CDT

With all of the leaks, pictures of features in the Droid eye, and other not-so-mysterious stuff surrounding the Droid X, it's about time we have something set in stone. Motorola and Verizon did just that with the official Droid X announcement at the Droid event today.

Here's some hard specs: a huge 4.3″ 854×480 screen, an 8mp camera capable of shooting 720p video with a "super slow mo" feature, metal casing, and Android 2.2 onboard later this summer. It even has HDMI out that will play back any media without DRM on your TV. The Droid X also has the ability to create a wireless hotspot for up to five devices, but you'll pay a $20 USD fee for 2GB of data with a 5 cent/mb overage fee. Need storage? They've got you covered with 8GB onboard and a 16GB microSD card included.

The Droid X is slotted to be available on July 15 for $199 USD after a $100 USD mail in rebate with a two year plan and $30 unlimited data fee. CDMA means Verizon only for now, but there may be an international version around the corner.

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Nintendo 3DS game carts pictured as well as possibility of e-reader capability for the device

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jun 18, 2010 5:26 PM CDT

Nintendo's handheld 3DS system has gotten a lot of attention at E3 this week, and they had an actual game cartridge on hand to give the crowd a look at what the carts will look like. Slimmer than Nintendo DS carts, they also have a tab on one corner to set them apart from previous cartridges.

This was not the only news about the device though. It's ben reported that Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata spoke with Nikkei and gave the possibility that the wireless connection of the 3DS could possibly lead to ereader functionality, including downloading e-books, newspaper articles, and magazine. The 3DS also has the ability to connect to any WiFi network which would help make e-reader functions more available.

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Build your own tablet with this DIY tablet kit

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jun 18, 2010 2:47 PM CDT

We have seen a lot of news about a lot of tablets on the horizon, but if you're not into the iPad, what's a guy gotta do to get his hands on a tablet right now? Well, for about 400 dollars, you can build your own "iPad killer" from the comfort of your own workshop.

Liquidware a company dealing in open source hardware, has released a tablet starter kit called the "Beagle." With a 4.3" OLED screen that mounts on a "BeagleBoard," the kit also includes a 1 Ghz processor, a battery module, and 4GB pre-formatted SD card to boot Angstrom Linux. Android is said to be supported on the system as well. There is no onboard storage past the SD card, but a USB port is included to connect an external device or pop in a larger SD card. Battery life is said to be from 3-6 hours. Everything from loading the OS to all the applications is up to the end user.

"The Beagle tablet is a portable modular open source handheld computer," says Justin Huynh, director of product development at Liquidware. "It's all about customizability and embedded development. With the iPad, you would have a hard time hacking it to read from a specialized sensor such as a temperature sensor or add your own custom hardware," he says. "The Beagle tablet is all about innovation."

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Tablets will outsell desktops by 2013 according to Forrester

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jun 17, 2010 8:04 PM CDT

Some interesting figures came out of the Untethered Conference in New York City today, with Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester Research providing projections that Tablets will outsell netbooks by 2012 and desktop computers by 2013. Tablets have only begun to surface with the iPad, but with the strong popularity of the Apple tablet along with the plethora of products on the horizon tablets look to be the wave of the future.

Epps expects 3.5 million tablets to be sold in 2010 (which is a VERY conservative estimate considering the iPad has already sold 2 million units all by itself) and will make up 6 percent of total PC sales. The market share is projected to more than double to 13 percent next year, eventually growing to nearly a quarter of the PC market by 2015. According to the figures, tablets are chewing almost exclusively into the desktop computer market, as the percentages for laptops (which will have the highest percentage as early as next year) and netbooks stays about the same throughout the graph. This goes against many beliefs that tablets would end up the replacement for netbooks.

The numbers here show units sold and not total money made in sale, but with the numbers stating 59 million people will be using tablets in the next five years, the rapid growth is stunning. Then again, with smartphones also becoming so capable, they may become a direct tablet competitor as well. But 2015 is a long way off, and who knows what we'll have on the horizon by then. It's still fun to project though, right?

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Bit more substance on GTX 485 existence - coming this fall?

Steve Dougherty | Video Cards & GPUs | Jun 17, 2010 2:14 AM CDT

The german folks over at Hardware-Infos have managed to get a good scoop on NVIDIA's next dethroning weapon to the GTX 480; a mild leap forward to make it worthy of its GTX 485 SKU. NVIDIA's own chief developer Bill Dally was apparently the source for Hardware-Info's news about the card's existence, who says it will see light of day this fall.

Running quickly over the specs provided, the card looks to get mild increases in all the right areas; 512 CUDA processors (vs. 480 on the GTX 480), a 20MHz higher GPU clock speed and 40MHz higher Shader clock. Whilst the ROPs remain at 48 vs the GTX 480, there are four more texture units aboard the 485.

Perhaps one of the most praised enhancements to the 485 will be the supposed superior reference cooler going on this model, said to be more efficient and quieter of which anyone who's heard a stock 480 under load will definitely appreciate any efforts made to improve in this area.

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ATi Catalyst 10.6 released

Don Lynn | Video Cards & GPUs | Jun 16, 2010 4:03 PM CDT

It's time again for another ATi Catalyst Driver update. Version 10.6 is out and listing some minor bug fixes as well as OpenGL 3.3 and 4.0 as well as GPU acceleration of H.264 video in Flash 10.1. No gaming improvements were noted in the link, but give them a try and check it out for yourself! Download links at the Source link below.

List of improvements according to ATi:

New Windows Features

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Lsdmeasap takes Mushkin 1600MHz DDR3 to 2700MHz with dry ice!

Cameron Wilmot | RAM | Jun 16, 2010 1:41 PM CDT

Blimey Charlie! Words that not all of you will understand. But let us just say when I just got word now of Lsdmeasap aka Ed, GIGABYTE volunteer tech support and all-round great guy from our forums, hitting a 2700MHz DDR3 memory speed, I got just a little excited. We all know this guy knows his motherboards inside out, but even I didn't know he was really into extreme overclocking.

Using a GIGABYTE X58A-UD7 motherboard and a Mushkin 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1600MHz Blackline triple-channel kit, oh and of course some lovely cold dry ice, he managed to hit an incredible memory speed of 2700MHz DDR. This was with the memory set at a 2:16 ratio and the timings set at 9-12-11-31. And remember this is in triple-channel mode!

And you thought you had to buy G.SKILL, Corsair or OCZ RAM to get the big clocks. Welcome back Mushkin! Head on over to this forum thread for the full details and more impressive photos.

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Thermalright dresses Venomous X heatsink in all-black attire

Steve Dougherty | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Jun 16, 2010 7:14 AM CDT

In the same fashion as the TRUE120, Thermalright is looking to bring out an all-black version of its latest air cooling monster, the Venomous X which hit the market earlier this year. Again, it's basically the same model of cooler, but is black nickel plated from head to toe and comes with mounting kits for both AMD and Intel platforms.

A quick run back over the Venomous X's attributes; this is a cooler measuring 127 x 63 x 160 mm with a weight of 755 grams. It uses an all-copper base that is mirror finished and makes use of six 6mm heatpipes. Both 120 and 140mm sized fans can be strapped onto this cooler with the use of the included sets of fan clips and Thermalright includes its Chill Factor III thermal paste.

Pricing hasn't been disclosed as yet, but if the TRUE120 Black is anything to go by, there will be a small premium for this all-black dressed Venomous X.

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Microsoft not interested in giving 360 3D support right now

Steve Dougherty | Gaming | Jun 15, 2010 3:06 AM CDT

3D this, 3D that; as time goes by the push for 3DTV in the household looks to be cementing itself deeper and becoming a new standard. There are several early adopters already in the way of 3D-enabled displays and Blu-ray player updates. Even Sony is getting all serious about it with firmware updates for the PS3.

But how about Microsoft and its more beloved than ever Xbox 360 (thanks to a little known add-on called Kinect)? - Well, in Microsoft's opening press conference at E3 they made no mention of making 3D a standard feature on the 360 and were 100% focused on Kinect.

This is not to say they've turned a blind eye on 3D, but apparently their reasoning for not showing interest in it at this time is due to slow adoption rates. Microsoft don't feel 3D support would be demanded enough on a whole and would rather leave the decision up to game developers to implement it for their specific titles.

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