Give Kinect a try at any Microsoft store

Don Lynn | Gaming | Jun 25, 2010 4:37 AM CDT

If you didn't get a chance to give Microsoft's newest toy for the Xbox 360 a go at E3 last week, the Kinect sensor will now be available for trial at any Microsoft Store across the U.S. The downside? There are only four in the country: Scottsdale, AZ, Mission Viejo, CA, Lone Tree, CO, and the newest store opened today in San Diego, CA.

Of course Microsoft is also pushing the Kinect preorders at the Microsoft site as well as many stores nationwide, but states on the site now that "official pricing has not yet been announced," and "$149.99 is an estimate only and subject to change." A preorder with a price subject to change doesn't sound like something I'd like to sink that much money into, but the Kinect has drawn rave reviews and will most likely be a big hit at release.

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The next "it phone" for the teen texter: The Samsung :)

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jun 24, 2010 11:03 PM CDT

Yes, I just used an emoticon in a news title. But it is warranted, because T-Mobile launched three new Samsung phones including the :). That's right, an emoticon as the name.

The Gravity 3, Gravity T and, get this, the Samsung :) are social networking and texting based slider phones equipped with T-Mobile's Social Buzz which sends notifications and messages when there are new posts on sites like Facebook and Twitter. The Gravity models have 2mp cameras and 16gb of supportable memory while the  has a smaller 1.3mp camera, but shortcut buttons to messaging applications.

All three phones are now available in the U.S., but no international launches have been scheduled yet. C'mon, you know the whole world needs a smile..........:)

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100 Millionth Blackberry sold; RIM looking forward to two new devices

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jun 24, 2010 10:03 PM CDT

RIM, the company that brings you Blackberry, are still doing a lot of business in the wake of the iPhone and Android crazes recently. RIM has reported a company record 11.2 million BlackBerries shipped in the spring quarter, a company record and 43 percent higher than last year. The company also reported the sale of their 100 millionth BlackBerry and 46 million accounts active.

40 percent of the sales are outside the U.S. and could have done more with adequate supplies of their highest sellers like the Curve 8500. Revenue is up about 24 percent to over $4.2 billion, and its profit grew 41 percent to $768.9 million.

RIM also reported in a conference call that two new high-end devices coming later this year. One is rumored to be the BlackBerry 9800, their first touchscreen phone, but the other is yet to be announced. Rumors are floating that RIM is developing a tablet device and this may be the second item noted.

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VidaBox introduces Media Center controls for iPad

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jun 24, 2010 9:11 PM CDT

Vidabox, an award winning media server and control solution manufacturer, debuted their new iPad Media Center controls at the Asian Pacific CEDIA EXPO in Melbourne, Australia. This is believed to be the first such solution for Windows based Media Centers. This solution can be used to control your TV, media players, cable, satellite, and even be programmed to control lights in the house and other automated devices.

"We're all absolutely thrilled to be the first in showcasing what dealers have been asking for," claims Steven Cheung, President of VidaBox, LLC. "With the iPad®, users can now browse and launch movies & music by cover art, get rich metadata, and much more - quickly and easily - all from a single, inexpensive device. Beyond controlling media center, dealers and integrators can potentially tie in multiroom audio, or basic room control with lighting and more."

The controls are expected to be rolled out sometime in Q3 of this year to dealers and integrators.

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iPhone 4 officially launches; problems reported amidst the hysteria

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Jun 24, 2010 8:26 PM CDT

Well, it's officially here. The iPhone 4 officially launched today, to the delight of thousands of people. Reports are flooding in from all of the initial launch countries (USA, UK, France, Germany and Japan) of long lines, crowded stores, and joyous people clutching their prizes like a 6 year old getting their favorite toy at Christmas.

But the story is not all happy-go-lucky. Reports of retail stores having no where near the expected stock on hand of iPhones and various problems with the unit itself have been cropping up all over the internet. Walmart, Radio Shack, and best Buy, the biggest in the chains expected to carry the phones, only had them in limited supply at select stores. Best Buy seemed to only have them available for the preorder crowd and Walmart is reported to have only had 8,000 total phones spread across 1,500 of their over 4,000 stores.

Then there are the issues with the phone itself. The biggest complaint has been the loss of signal when holding the phone a certain way, as the metal that rings the outside of the phone also acts as an antenna. Most people are getting "don't hold it that way" as their answer to the problem, although getting a rubber case also seems to help the issue. Other complaints have included yellow spots on the screen (residue from the manufacturing process reported to go away with time) and lack of Bluetooth connectivity.

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Intel admits GPUs are 14x faster than CPUs in its tests

Shane McGlaun | CPUs, Chipsets & SoCs | Jun 24, 2010 2:04 PM CDT

When you have multiple companies operating in the same product category each wants to claim that their widget is faster than or better than the completion for one reason or another. This was the case when NVIDIA crafted its GPUs to run applications that were before that point only able to run on a CPU.

Developers have claimed that the GPU is as much as 100x faster in some applications that the CPU. NVIDIA says that Intel has unveiled a paper at ISCA in France called "Debunking the 100x GPU vs. CPU Myth."

The catch is in debunking the 100x myth in Intel's mind; the company admitted that the NVIDIA GTX 280 GPU was 14x faster in the benchmarks it ran than its own processor. Intel didn't say specifically which benchmarks it ran to arrive at its conclusion.

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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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