Imagi, the animation studio behind the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, and the upcoming Gatchaman and Astro Boy movies, has inked a deal with Wowwee Ltd., makers of the infamous Robosapien (amongst others), which will grant the toy-maker exclusive distribution rights for the studio's properties. According to the company press release, Wowwee will provide some of its proprietary technology for use in toys related to the upcoming pictures, which will closely replicate the look and story of the films in both design and "play patterns." As Imagi co-CEO Douglas Glen puts it "All too often, film-licensed toys fail to live up to kids' expectations, because they fall so far short of what the kids see on the movie screen," but Imagi and Wowwee will seek to avoid this by having toy designers and filmmakers work closely with one-another. Our personal hope is to see a life-size, fully functional Astro Boy... with feelings. Maybe we're expecting too much.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Filed under: CellphonesSoonR Talk workaround a go, fret not, as Skype has finally arrived (for realz) on the iPhone. SHAPE Services has introduced IM+ for Skype for iPhone, which is simply a Safari web application that enables one to "access the Skype ecosystem from the mobile environment." Reportedly, the app was "designed especially for the iPhone's touchscreen," and best of all, it's being offered up gratis "for a limited time." So go on, point your iPhone to SkypeforiPhone.com and get to yappin', ya heard?
Posted by Web Centric at 11:42 AM
Welp, that didn't take too long. Around 1.5 years after it was first announced, Google has decided to "shut down its premium video service." Nevertheless, the most intriguing aspect of the whole shebang is that customers who purchased DRM-laden files will reportedly no longer be able to view them once the Video Store closes up shop, and rather than refunding customers with, you know, real money, it sounds like Google plans to offer "fixed credit on the firm's online payment system, Google Checkout, instead." Interestingly, another report noted that the search giant would "provide refunds or online shopping vouchers for previously purchased videos that won't be viewable," so it looks like the final verdict remains to be seen.
[Via BBC, thanks Steffen]
Posted by Web Centric at 11:42 AM
modify the oh-so-lovable fast-forward feature, at least the latest hamstringing won't affect those willing to pay up. Dubbed "Look Back," the newfangled DVR feature will reportedly come "without a monthly fee," and will only allow customers to skip ahead and back in predetermined chunks of time; moreover, it will be limited to programs that are watched back before midnight of the day they air. The firm plans to test it out this October in South Carolina before "gradually introducing it around the country," and it was also noted that this -- along with the "Start Over" feature that functions exactly as it sounds -- would not require viewers to "remember to record programs," but alas, it also eliminates the ability to keep a library of stored content onboard. Ah well, so long as we diehard DVR users can keep on coughing up the dough required for a fully-functional FF button, we've no real qualms with this option joining the fray.
ACCESS Linux Platform, we applaud you, and to reward you for your faith, ACCESS has reportedly launched a web portal chock-full of new screenshots from the forthcoming ALP. Admittedly, a few of the captures look mighty similar to those we saw back in February, but the new "User Experience" demonstration vividly depicts the screens found when visiting your Contacts, Photos, Music Player, Dialer, Home / Incoming Call screens, and Launcher. Go on, hit up the gallery for some high-resolution footage.
Filed under: Features
Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment:
If anything, Palm's Foleo seems like it was designed to elicit instant geek cred. It's small, thin and light, and its solid state storage helps provide long battery life. It has instant-on capabilities and supports Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It even runs Linux and all for only $500. However, quite to the contrary, much of the reaction to Palm's latest mobile foray has run the gamut from confusion to scorn, with some calling the product "Folly-o" or "Fooleo."
The core problem that the Foleo seeks to address is easy to understand, but its positioning is a moving target. Here's how early adopters are becoming lost in Foleo's rationale:
Palm: Smartphones continue to gain more processing power and more memory.
Users: OK, that's fair enough.
Palm: However, they are still deficient in input and output.
Users: Well, there sure are compromises, we can agree. I drag my laptop around when I need more.
Palm: So, what we need is a whole new device with a large screen and keyboard
Users: Whoa, why not create some kind of keyboard dock with a big screen for the Treo, like all those speaker docks for the iPod?
Palm: That's clumsy. We consider this a smartphone companion.
Users: I didn't realize my smartphone was lonely.
Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!
Filed under: Desktopsyet another company is tacking an "i" onto its product line and dousing each unit in glossy white, and Mouse Computer's latest lineup of desktops certainly fits the aforementioned mold. Arriving in both micro tower and slimline models, these new machines offer up a multitude of hardware options including a number of Intel Core 2 Duo processors, a dual-layer DVD writer, up to 2GB of RAM, a 15-in-1 flash card reader, and NVIDIA's 256MB GeForce 8500 GT (or the 8400GS in the slim model). Additionally, the skinnier sibling (seen after the break) can be equipped with up to 250GB of SATA hard drive space while the micro machine can house 320GB of capacity. Each model in the new i-Friend series looks to be on sale now, and prices will range from ¥79,800 ($676) to ¥129,800 ($1,100) depending on how you configure.
rumors just yet, but the boards of Esato are alive with murmurs of a few new SE handsets that could be launched as early as tomorrow. Amongst the mobiles that we could hear more about (officially) in the coming day is the Cyber-shot-branded "Victoria" -- which will supposedly be 14-millimeters thick and sport a 1.9-inch QVGA screen, five color options, and a 128MB M2 card bundled in -- and the still elusive "Veronica." Additionally, we could also be treated to the W350, a Cyber-shot clamshell / Cyber-shot slider, and new "accessories" to boot. Best of all, though, is that you've just a single day left to find out if there's actually any substance to these whispers, but if it does prove true, it certainly won't be the first time.
Filed under: StorageWhile it's far from the most spacious storage system we've seen, Netcom's new eSATA-based NR5-4 system will accomodate four drives for up to to 3TB of storage in a RAID 5 configuration, something the company claims to be an industry first. If RAID 5 isn't your thing, you can set things up in your choice of RAID 0 or 10 configurations as well, and you'll be able to keep an eye on the goings on thanks to the unit's backlit display. You'll also, of course, get the requisite PCI host adapter, along with a one meter host cable, and a "comprehensive" one year warranty. Not surprisingly, the unit doesn't exactly come cheap, with it boasting a near $2,000 price tag. If that's not a deal-breaker, you can get your order in right now.
Filed under: Misc. Gadgetstolerance, unobtrusive law-making, and general good vibes, has announced plans to begin outfitting its citizens with a new kind of ID card; one with an embedded chip that will include the holder's name, address, work history, educational background, religion, ethnicity, police record, medical insurance status and landlord's phone number. The cards will also carry reproductive history information, to further aid authorities in enforcing China's "one child" policy. Ostensibly, the cards will keep track of the large influx of peasants moving to cities, though Michael Lin, VP of China Public Security Technology, went on (in Orwellian fashion) to say; "If they do not get the permanent card, they cannot live here, they cannot get government benefits, and that is a way for the government to control the population in the future." Additionally, authorities are aggressively installing new security cameras around cities like Shenzhen, which utilize sophisticated recognition software co-developed by US companies like IBM, HP, and Dell. When reached for comment at the Ministry of Truth, the Chinese version of Big Brother was unavailable, as he was busy rationing out Soylent Green, Soma, and Ludovico technique treatments.
Archos' big boys like the 405, 605, or dreaded 705, the company offers a drop-in-your pocket solution known as the 105. Now, if you were hoping to accessorize with the little media player, you're in luck, because the company will be offering the PMP in three "sporty" colors: red, silver, and black. The player offers 2GB of internal storage, a 1.8-inch OLED screen, can play back WMVs at 25 FPS, and does all the usual formats like MP3s, WMAs, and WAVs. The super-fans over at Archos Lounge managed to locate some pics, and word on the street is that the 105 will be out at the beginning of September for the rock-bottom price of $89.99.
Filed under: Storage
Filed under: Misc. GadgetsSnappy retinal scanners have been in the works for some time, and now Panasonic is apparently hoping to hasten those annoying ID checks by enabling security personnel to confirm the true identity of a person walking through in just "two seconds." Additionally, this scanner does not require subjects to "focus on the equipment," packs "multiple two-megapixel cameras," and in case you couldn't guess, is being marketed towards airports and high-security office buildings. No word just yet on when these may be rolled out for public use, but anything (well, almost) that speeds up our traveling is smiled upon by us.
Filed under: Householdlegions of automated bartenders and coffee machines that conjure up your preferred cup of joe each morning, but the Digital Beverages MyFountain takes things up a notch. Sporting a touchscreen LCD, an internet-linked Windows XP computer, and the ability to be "100-percent customizable," this mechanical drink slinger reportedly interfaces with a "dorm-style refrigerator" that holds a dozen types of alcohol and mixers along with a water line and carbon-dioxide cartridge. Furthermore, the grown-ups can even password protect the non-virgin beverages on tap, and while it would sure be nice to kiss tips goodbye and hold all of your parties in-house, this bad boy supposedly starts at a stiff $2,575. Click on for a couple snapshots of the interface.
[Via CNET, image courtesy of PopSci]
Filed under: StorageKingston's latest trio of 4GB miniSDHC cards aren't first on the scene per se, that Class 6 iteration is sure sitting at the head of the class. Partnered by Class 2 (2MB/sec) and Class 4 (4MB/sec) versions, the Class 6 miniSDHC card boasts an impressive minimum sustained data transfer rate of 6MB/sec, which ought to be more than sufficient for those unexpected video captures on your mobile. Most interesting, however, is the pricing scheme for the aforementioned devices, as the 4GB Class 6 card runs just two bucks higher ($66) than the Class 4 version ($64), and a mere four dollars more than the lowly Class 2 ($62) sibling, so it's a pretty safe bet that you'll be going for the speed on this one.
Filed under: Digital Camerasbargain-bin-phenom has struck again, and this time it's the five-megapixel DXG-572V camcorder that's delivering a lot of promises for an uber-cheap price. 'Course, we wouldn't expect the built-in CMOS sensor, 4x digital zoom, white balance adjuster, voice recorder, digital still camera, or "near DVD quality" 640 x 480 MPEG4 / AVI video that this thing captures to win any awards, but those who don't mind chintzy ought not find any issues with this. Moreover, the unit boasts 32 measly megabytes of internal storage, an SD / MMC expansion slot, USB 2.0 connectivity, and a flip-out LCD screen to boot. If you're still sold, you can call the DXG-572V yours for just $149.99, and feel free to click on for a couple more angles.
Filed under: Misc. Gadgets
Filed under: Cellphones
Update: We just received word from Nokia that the "overheating" referred to in their advisory will not result in an explosion or even a fire. At worst, batteries will "overheat, expand, and pop out of the phone (due to the expansion of the battery)." Of course, it states right on the battery that it "may explode if damaged" and "do not short circuit" so this little clarification likely won't make you feel any better now will it?
Filed under: Cellphones
Filed under: Digital Camerasannounced its first entries into the crowded digital camera market earlier this year, with the company's lead of sales is running around saying things like, "Our aim is to be Number 1 in all aspects - quality, technology, performance and value - and these cameras will do that." Unfortunately, however, it doesn't look GE is going to reach that goal as fast as they'd hoped -- Photography Blog got their hands on the 8 megapixel E850 model and although the design and price are attractive, the camera itself took "horrible" pictures and suffered from sluggish performance. According to the reviewer, the E850 has "the worst noise performance" he's ever seen, and the higher ISO settings make "great impressionistic paintings out of your photos." Ouch. All in all, it looks like you're better off spending your $200 elsewhere -- sorry about that, GE fanboys.
dictionary on hand at all times is a must -- but sadly we in the US seem doomed to describe everything as either "awesome" or "sucks" while kids in Asia broaden their vocabularies with devices like Atree's UM10 e-dictionary / PMP. The unit, which sports a sliding flip keyboard much like the HTC Shift, also takes stylus input on its 3-inch screen and can play back media in a wide range of formats, including MP4, WMV9, MP3, WMA and Ogg. The unit also has FM and DMB tuners, a Microsoft Office reader app, and either 2 or 4GB of storage expandable via microSD. No word on price, but unless you're planning a trip to Korea sometime soon it doesn't really matter. Too bad -- it sucks that we can't get a device this awesome over here.
Filed under: CellphonesIt's been just under two months since getting a whiff of the forthcoming S640, and now it's time for US-based CDMA users to (officially) celebrate, as FCC documentation has finally outed the HTC Iris S640. The paperwork shows that the smartphone will indeed operate on CDMA850 / 1900 bands, include WiFi and Bluetooth, offer up EV-DO connectivity, and sport USB for syncing and charging. Additionally, the handset will reportedly tout a 2.4-inch 320 x 240 resolution LCD and a two-megapixel camera, and while it doesn't look like this one will be aimed at the elitists in the crowd, it should do quite well as a low-to-mid-range smartphone on whichever CDMA carrier(s) it ends up on.
Filed under: GamingPSP and do a little modding but afraid to void your warranty -- or worse, brick your baby -- will want to check out the Virtual PSP Modder software from AcidMods. The Windows tool allows you to practice taking a PSP apart, look at the inside at up to 5X resolution, poke around with a virtual screwdriver and tweezers, tinker with the LEDs, apply random mods to see what works, and more -- all without having to crack open your actual, working PSP. Or course, there's no PSP emulation, so you can't play any games, and you'll have to somehow translate what you do on the screen to real life at some point, but hey -- even Ben Heck had to start somewhere. Check out a fairly boring video of the software in action after the break.
Filed under: Desktops
Filed under: GPS
Filed under: PeripheralsLogitech V470; the shiny blue mouse of your dreams. Forgoing the typical USB dongle, the V470 links up via Bluetooth 1.2, thus avoiding unsightly protrusions from your PC, and conserving valuable desktop space -- which you'll need when utilizing the mouse's elegantly named "Side-to-Side Scrolling Plus Zoom," which apparently lets you scroll... and, uh, zoom. The V470 will be available in September with a price tag of $49.99.
LifeBook T2010 was outed by the FCC, the firm's interesting U810 (or U1010 in some locales) has now been uncovered, too. This UMPC / tablet hybrid of sorts reportedly packs an Intel A110 processor, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a shock-mounted 1.8-inch hard drive, a 5.6-inch WSVGA touchscreen, integrated webcam, keyboard light, fingerprint scanner, a built-in microphone, and best of all, a "Ctrl-Alt-Del" button that actually provides a shortcut to depressing those three famed keys simultaneously. Additionally, you'll find WiFi / Bluetooth, SD and CF flash card slots, audio in / out, and a single USB 2.0 port. As expected, we've no idea when Fujitsu plans on loosing this creature on American soil, but hopefully it won't be too long now.
Filed under: Cellphones
Although wearables that control your iPod are far from new, Korean-based JWin is hoping to lure in the beach goers by developing an iPod-friendly bikini top. Reportedly, the tops come with the play / pause, track, and volume controls sewn right in and communicate with a wireless dongle that you insert into your iPod. Interestingly, it's not stated whether the tops (and more importantly, the electronics) are waterproof, but we're sure those addicted to tanning won't mind either way.
Filed under: Digital Camerasrumor mill is in full swing for the entire DSLR universe these days, so it makes sense for Sony's Advanced Amateur Alpha to join the fray. According to an admittedly sketchy source, the specifications from the aforementioned camera have been discovered, so here's a quick rundown on what to (hopefully) expect. Aside from the 14.4-megapixel sensor, rumor has it that you'll find a 2.5-inch LCD monitor, NP-FM55H battery, a CompactFlash slot, support for JPEG / RAW image formats, anti red-eye technology, ISO 100 to 3200, and wireless flash support to boot. 'Course, we wouldn't bet the farm on any of this just yet, but if you're interested in delving into dodgy French sites for potential dirt on one of Sony's forthcoming beasts, you know where to head.
[Via Digital Camera Information, thanks Jim]
FCC, we already knew that Fujitsu's U810 and T2010 were headed this way, but now the firm is making things official. The 1.56-pound U810 will boast a snazzy LED-backlit display, last up to 5.5-hours on a single charge, will don the "world's smallest tablet convertible" label, and will be available for you to cuddle next month. The larger T2010 (pictured) weighs in at 3.5-pounds and also manages to pack a LED-backlit screen, but this pen-enabled convertible boasts a whopping 11-hours of battery life on the extended cell, or an impressive 9-hours on the standard iteration. Best of all, folks interested in the latter machine can get their orders in now starting at $1,599, and those eying the cutesy U810 will be coughing up a minimum of $999 when it's available.
infamously last year, Meizu is getting into the speaker game to prop up those DAPs it's been pedaling. Also true to form, Meizu seems to have skipped over the R&D phase and looks to be rebadging the existing Fiio PS1120 Meizu-compatible speaker dock. Now known as the "mDock," the unit will support the M6 Mini Player out of the box, and has a top adapter that can replaced to support other Meizu models in the future, like the M3 Music Card. Brace yourselves for a September-ish release.
Filed under: Misc. GadgetsRensselaer Polytechnic Institute won't be crowned the first to develop a flexible (or paper-based, for that matter) battery, but their minuscule prototype "is an integrated device, not a combination of pieces" as others typically are. The battery uses "paper infused with an electrolyte and carbon nanotubes that are embedded in the paper," and could eventually be utilized in combination with solar cells or "scaled up and shaped into something like a car door, offering moving electrical storage and power when needed." Currently, however, the wee samples can release just "2.3-volts, or enough to illuminate a small light," but the idea of using these things to power pacemakers and the like isn't that far fetched.
[Via BBC, thanks to everyone who sent this in]
Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!
Filed under: Misc. Gadgetsaround the block, and while we can't imagine the demand being extraordinarily high 'round these parts, Samsung is probably hoping that a few folks in Hong Kong take interest in the SMT-i8080. The IP phone reportedly enables users to view TV on the screen, video-conference with others, tune into music, shop online (for realz?), and even reserve movie tickets. Granted, the more technically adept may prefer a more fleshed out interface to handle the aforementioned duties, but we certainly wouldn't quetch if The Man replaced our current cubical phone with this gem.