Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dell collaborating with software makers on virtual PCs

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Apparently, Dell is working with VMware (makers of Fusion) and SWsoft (the team behind Parallels) to develop new computers with virtualization features for a new line of the company's PCs. According to reports, Dell's chief technology officer Kevin Kettler confirmed the collaboration at the Linuxworld conference in San Francisco. The plans right now are for the systems to tackle virtual versions of Windows and Linux which could run in tandem on a user's machine, though when asked about support for Apple's OS X on the virtual PCs, Kettler said "I can't speculate on that," but went on to say "virtualization is very powerful. It's an environment that would allow many different operating systems to coexist. You can interpret that however you would like." So -- at least as far as we can tell -- not an out-and-out "no."

[Via Pocket-lint]

 

[via] Engadget

Core 2 Duo Mac mini gets tested

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Apple's new Mac mini may not have gotten quite the overhaul that the iMac got last week, but PC World thinks there's still quite a bit to get excited about, largely due to the system's new Core 2 Duo processor. In its tests, PC World found that to give the mini a significant boost across the board including, for example, a 24-percent jump in Photoshop performance over the old 1.83GHz Mac mini (the new 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo mini showed a 19-percent increase). In other tests, the new top-end Mac mini managed to pump out 13-percent more frames per second in Unreal Tournament 2004 than the old top-end model, and it proved to be about even with the new 2GHz Core 2 Duo iMac in tests like Compressor and Cinema 4D, although the mini's slower 5,400 rpm hard drive caused it to drag in tasks like importing files into iPhoto. If you're itching for even more benchmarks, you can get your fix at the link below.

 

[via] Engadget

Toyota's DJ Robot leaves fame behind, becomes receptionist

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It wasn't all that long ago that Toyota's "DJ Robot" was sharing the stage with the rest of its robot bandmates at the 2005 Aichi World Expo, but it seems that "DJ" now chosen a slightly less glamorous career path, with it soon set to start working for its parent company as a receptionist. According to Pink Tentacle, the robot has been working hard to improve its human interaction skills as of late, and is ready to go on the job later this month, working alongside human receptionists at Toyota's Kaikan Exhibition Hall. After that, it'll apparently take up a more permanent position at Toyota's Nagoya office, with other versions of the robot also planned to fill other positions.

 

[via] Engadget

HDMI-equipped Xbox 360 Premiums still carry 90nm chips

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Well it appears that despite all of our wishing, hoping, and positive-thinking exercises, Microsoft has failed to deliver on a small dream of ours, namely, 65nm chips for the new HDMI-rocking Xbox 360 Premiums. Despite signs pointing otherwise, new photos show that this batch of systems continue to carry the Zephyr motherboard layout, which uses the older, hotter 90nm chips, though the boys in Redmond have addressed the heat issue a little bit with the addition of a second "daughter" heatsink attached to the CPU by heatpipe. The new 65nm "Falcon" boards -- which chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) confirmed are in production -- are still on their way according to the rumor mill, slated for release sometime this Fall. Interestingly, Microsoft and TSMC have just laid plans to produce the Xbox's graphics-memory subsystem using the chip manufacturer's 90nm embedded DRAM spec. We won't speculate on when we'll start seeing that addition appear, however.

 

[via] Engadget

Sharp releases smaller-bigger LCDs

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Sharp Aquos LCD seriesSharp is bringing to the US market a subset of the series of slimmer LCDs recently released in Japan. The D64U series of 1080p LCDs includes four models from 42 to 65 inches, all with re-engineered circuitry inside for a 25% slimmer and 20% lighter frame than previous product lines, while consuming less power. With the thinner bezel and smaller speakers, you might fit a 42-inch set where a 40 would normally go. The panels feature 10,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 4ms response time, and RS-232 automation controls. The series will be available later this month, with the 42-inch LC-42D64U retailing for $2,099, the 46-inch LC-46D64U for $2,699, and the 52-inch LC-52D64U for $3,799, with the 65-inch LC-65D64U unpriced and following in September.

 

[via] Engadget

Researchers use "ionic wind" to cool computer chips

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A team of researchers at Purdue University look to be doing their best to put conventional computer cooling techniques to shame, to that end developing a prototype system that uses an "ionic wind" to keep chips cool, something they say could eventually allow for much more powerful computers. According to the BBC, the system employs an ionic engine that produces positively charged particles when a voltage is applied to it. Those particles are then naturally drawn to a negatively charged wire, resulting in a constant air movement over the chips. That, the researchers say, increases the cooling rate from a conventional fan by up to 250%. They're apparently far from satisfied with the system just yet though, and they're now working to make it a hundred times smaller than its current size -- a feat all the more daunting considering that it already measures just a few millimeters.

[Thanks, Xander and Del Monte]

 

[via] Engadget

Extreme PS3 "stress test" garners praise from Sony

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Clearly due to the current heat on Microsoft concerning the Xbox 360 RROD, disk scratching, and overheating scandals, Sony's Dave Karraker is mooning on the company's official blog over a recent PS3 Vault "stress test" called "How to kill a PS3 console" which showed the company's game system to be surprisingly resilient in the face of extreme conditions. "A lot of noise has been made recently about the reliability issues of one of our competitor's systems," Karraker said, then went on to kick some sand in Redmond's eye by adding "Did it fail? Nope. Like the Energizer Bunny, it kept going and going and going." Admittedly, the tests -- which included running games and Blu-ray movies for 108 hours in a typical "living room" environment, placing the console in a freezer van then lowering the temperature from 50 degrees to zero, and powering the PS3 in a sauna where heat increased from 100 degrees to 120 degrees over a nearly three-day session -- were quite extreme. In the end, however, the testers say besides being "extremely hot" after coming out of the sauna, the system is running fine and back in regular use. Microsoft, the ball's in your court.

[Via DailyTech]

 

[via] Engadget

Hands on with the Sirius Stiletto 2

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Alright, so it's really not all that much different than its predecessor in terms of functionality, but you gotta love the slightly sleeker design and bulked up WiFi of the new Sirius Stiletto 2 -- and the ability to add more tunes via microSD doesn't hurt, either. Not a lot to say about this one that we haven't covered with the original -- i.e. if you weren't happy with issues like reception or content restriction, you probably won't be into the sequel either -- so instead of rehashing the specs for the zillionth time, we'll let you get right to the gallery...

 

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Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!

[via] Engadget

NVIDIA said to be selling 128-bit GeForce 8400GS in China

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It looks like NVIDIA may have a special treat (of sorts) for gamers in China, as DigiTimes is reporting that the company is now selling a 128-bit version of its GeForce 8400GS in the country, something that apparently wasn't on its original roadmap. According to DigiTimes, "sources at graphics card makers" say that the new chip is "very similar" to NVIDIA's GeForce 8500GT, with the only apparent difference being that it operates at a lower core frequency. Those same sources are also apparently speculating that the "new" 8400GS could in fact simply be GeForce 8500GT chips that did not pass testing and were then downgraded in order to clear them out. For its part, however, NVIDIA doesn't seem to be saying anything about the matter.

 

[via] Engadget

Lenovo says "no thanks" to Vista for 2008 Olympics

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Poor Vista, you really can't buy a break. First you've got legions of users angrily awaiting a decent update for a whole slew of problems, then there's the CEOs taking pot-shots at you, and now, Lenovo, supplier of the 2008 Olympic Games' computer systems says it's sticking with XP. Word on the street is that all vital computing tasks for the Games will be handled on XP-enabled PCs, while some internet lounges used by athletes will be equipped with Vista systems. According to Yang Yuanqing, chairman of Lenovo, "the Olympic Games require mature, stable technologies and it's not a place to try new technologies." Yang, we're pretty sure a legion of Vista users feel similarly about their desktops. You can almost hear Microsoft's sharp intake of breath from here.

[Via Slashdot]

 

[via] Engadget

Pioneer set to release AVIC-X3 GPS entertainment system in Europe

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Those looking for a few more distractions than the ordinary GPS / PMP device has to offer may want to consider Pioneer's new AVIC-X3 unit, which looks like it should please even the most demanding car-dweller. Up front and center on this one is a 7-inch touchscreen which, in addition to displaying the usual GPS information, can also be used a display for the integrated DVD player (which'll handle DivX files stored on a CD-R or DVD-R as well). Otherwise, you'll get real time traffic information from the built-in TMC receiver, along with 1.5 million points of interest for 26 European countries. If the standard fare isn't enough to keep you busy, you can also make use of various optional cables and accessory to hook up an iPod, a video game console, additional screens, or a rear view camera. No word on price, but it'll apparently be available in Europe sometime in September.

[Via Akihabara News]

 

[via] Engadget

Liz Claiborne accessory line headed to Best Buy

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You won't find any kvetching going on at Engadget HQ when it comes to new lines of fanciful gizmo adornments, but forcing us to enter Best Buy in order to pick something up may elicit a few scrunched-up noses. Nevertheless, the infamous big box retailer is apparently hoping to snag a few more holiday dollars from ladies (and their gift-buying SOs) by asking Liz Claiborne to design a "collection of electronics accessories for women." The Liz Claiborne Accessories line will reportedly include "laptop bags, protective sleeves, business totes, and cases for cellphones, music players, and cameras." Price wise, you'll be looking at around $25 to $200 depending on what you pick up, and you can drop in to scope things out at nearly 250 Best Buy locations beginning in October.

UPDATE: Seems like some readers have seen this stuff in Best Buy locales already, so give your local one a call if you're desperate to know.

 

[via] Engadget

Case dismissed for AllofMP3 founder Kvasov

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It looks like AllofMP3 founder Denis Kvasov will be evading any time in the gulag, at least for the moment. If you'll recall, EMI, Universal, and Warner Music filed suits against the highly dubious MP3-portal's founder after launching a whirlwind attack resulting in Mastercard and Visa pulling their services for the Russian-based site, and the eventual collapse of the pretty-much-illegal download service. The suit sought damages from the "entrepreneur" to the tune of 15 million rubles (about $590,700 US), but according to reports, a Cheryomushky District Court judge threw out the case against Kvasov, stating that a legal loophole allowing AllofMP3's particular kind of online music distribution continued through 2006 -- one year after Kvasov left the company. Of course, two more cases are pending against the mogul, so it seems likely we'll be hearing a lot more on this in the coming days and weeks.

 

[via] Engadget

SanDisk shakes up Sansa line for the back to school celebration

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It looks like SanDisk has decided that a few of its Sansa media players were due for a refresh, and it's now rolled out some changes in hopes of attracting the Back to School masses. Perhaps the biggest change comes to the company's WiFi-equipped Sansa Connect, which retains all the same specs but gets a full hundred dollars knocked off its price tag, with it now coming in at just $150. The other refresh comes to the company's Sansa Shaker line, which gets a new 1GB model that'll retail for $50 -- the existing 512MB can also now be had for a mere $35. Of course, while SanDisk is pitching this as a Back to School promotion, there's nothing to stop anyone from taking advantage of it for themselves.

 

[via] Engadget

Philips to launch Ambilight successor Aurea

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Philips Aurea
Consumer electronics manufacturer Philips will demo their successor to Ambilight -- the ambient lighting technology that generates light effects on the sides of a television -- at European expo IFA on August 30. The new technology, named Aurea, will be featured using a film by director Wong Kar called Seduction by Light. From early photos, the new sets incorporate the lighting directly into the frame, instead of using the previous method of a glass frame around the set.

 

[via] Engadget

Restoration Robotics creates hair transplanting robot

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Though some companies are more focused on getting hair off of your person, the California-based Restoration Robotics is hoping to help doctors do quite the opposite. Reportedly, the company has just garnered some $25 million in funding, and is hoping to release its robotic hair transplanter to aid docs in the actual planting process. Moving forward, the firm purportedly hopes to use its newfound wealth to "conduct clinical trials and move to market," but it's still staying relatively mum on the details for the time being. Of course, we all know real men prefer their strands over gizmos (right?), so we'll be on the lookout for any guinea pigs who (eventually) give this a go. [Warning: Read link requires subscription]

[Via CNET]

 

[via] Engadget

Yamaha's YSP-4000 Digital Sound Projector adds HDMI upscaling

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Yamaha's single unit surround sound bars have come a long way since the YSP-1 made its debut, and the company's latest entry, the YSP-4000, continues to up the ante, with 1080p HDMI compatibility, analog video upscaling to 1080i / 720p, XM Neural Surround compatibility, optional iPod dock, and a host of calibration modes, including one designed to make compressed audio sources sound better. Yamaha is being pretty coy with the frequency response numbers, suggesting that the YSP-4000 isn't an ass-shaking bass machine, but the 120W of power through six channels should provide plenty of clean sound for average TV and movie viewing. Available in October for $1,799.

[Via Apartment Therapy]

 

[via] Engadget

Hands on with the Sportster 5, SCV1 tuner, and Sonos with Sirius

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Hey all you Sportster fans out there, don't think we forgot about you in the midst of all the Stiletto 2 excitement. Sirius let us snap a few shots of this latest iteration in their popular line of dock-and-play radios, but frankly, you'll probably get a better feel for its color screen in the professionally done press photos here than from the handful of shaky pics we managed to fire off. A little more exciting are the live shots we got of the upcoming SCV1 backseat tuner and kid-friendly remote, along with a sample of the video feed -- none of which were in the press material sent out today. Also of interest to Sonos owners out there will be the screenshots of Sirius doing its streaming thing over the multi-zone system -- and while the GUI is certainly tight, we weren't paying enough attention to really attest to the quality of low bitrate audio they're offering. Click below for all the hands-on goodness...

 

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Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!

[via] Engadget

XtremeNotebooks launches quad-core Xtreme 917V laptop

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Although being in the presence of a quad-core laptop doesn't have the same allure it did just months ago, packin' a Core 2 Quad processor into a 2.35-inch thick enclosure still manages to get us all hot and bothered (literally, we mean). The latest mobile gaming rig to come equipped with such a workhorse is XtremeNotebooks' Xtreme 917V (yeah, a rebadge of Sager's NP9260), which also features a 17-inch display, dual NVIDIA GeForce Go 7950 GTX GPUs, a dual-layer DVD writer, multicard reader, integrated webcam / speakers, up to 4GB of DDR2 RAM, room for three 250GB hard drives, a dedicated GPU cooling solution, optional TV tuner, gigabit Ethernet, WiFi, and a whole host of ports to boot. Granted, this sucka can only chug along for 60 minutes or so on its 12-cell battery, tips the scales at close to 12 oh-so-solid pounds, and starts at $2,399, but we know there's still a few of you out there willing to give it some love.

 

[via] Engadget

Yep, the Apple store is down

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Yep, we know the Apple store is down, so no need to continue emailing us frantically. Remember, just because Apple takes down the store when it's launching new products doesn't mean that just because store goes down new products are to be expected, ok?

Update: Looks like we're back up as of about 11:14PM EDT -- anyone see anything new? We haven't.

 

[via] Engadget

Fiire's Linux-based media center ties it all together

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A clever group of whippersnappers have got the right idea when it comes to home entertainment, namely, LinuxMCE-based systems that don't break the bank but offer a pretty stacked feature set. Fiire, a company which manufactures and sells modular media boxes and remotes aimed at unifying your media center has a few items it'd like you to see. The whole shebang is based around the FiireEngine, a $799 box that acts as a central hub to your media world, and features an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ processor, 1GB of RAM, 160GB hard drive, RAID support for six eSATA drives (for a total capacity of 6TB), and an NVIDIA 6200 graphics chipset. The system has DVI, VGA, component, and S-Video outs, but strangely no HDMI -- which might be a deal-breaker for some. The Engine is meant to be accessed through the company's FiireStations ($499-899), set-top boxes or wallmount units that stream media from the FiireEngine to any location you want, using low voltage processors and a frugal selection of hardware. Finally, to control the open-source system, the company offers the FiireChief ($149), a multi-function remote which can "follow" a user from room to room, allowing you start a video in one spot, move to another, and have the players automatically switch locations. All in all, a fairly interesting package from a somewhat unknown company, though how integrated the system is remains to be seen, and the lack of HDMI support is a little troubling.

 

[via] Engadget

Today in Engadget: August 15

Features

News
Rumors

Continue reading Today in Engadget: August 15

 

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Office Depot Featured Gadget: Xbox 360 Platinum System Packs the power to bring games to life!

[via] Engadget

iKey intros rugged, mobile keyboard with LED-backlit keys

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Sure, we've seen our fair share of rugged input peripherals, but iKey's FT-86-911-TP hits a niche that isn't often covered. This ruggedized mobile unit is resistant to spills and sealed to IP55 specifications, and the universal mounting holes make it ideal for placement in "police, emergency, transport, service, and marine vehicles." Notably, this here device also boasts a built-in trackpad, a one-touch emergency key, and LED-backlit keys in case you're left typing after hours. No word yet on pricing nor availability, but considering just how expensive one of its rebadged siblings is, don't count on it coming cheap.

 

[via] Engadget

Sprint's XOHM WiMAX service gets official

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The Xohm website is now hot, making yesterday's rumor pretty incontestable at this point. Although seeing a press release would really seal the deal. The teaser site simply states that Xohm is coming in the Spring of 2008 and promises to "expand the internet experience" to a new class of internet enabled devices. Right, a bit later than "by year-end 2007" which Sprint was originally touting. We'll update you with the press release which we expect to pop any minute now. With any luck, we'll also learn how to pronounce their new mobile WiMAX brand.

Update: Ah ha! As reader Deluxe points out, it's pronounced "Zome" as in Rome. Had to bust out Firefox since the audio won't play in Safari.

 

[via] Engadget

Back-to-school shopping? Don't forget the bulletproof backpacks

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Sending your kid off to school these days isn't what it used to be -- at least that's what one company called MJ Safety Solutions would have you believe -- because they're selling a bulletproof backpack. That's right, two worried parents in Boston have created "My Child's Pack," a $175 bulletproof book-bag that will stop an assortment of bullets (including hollow-point 9mm) dead in their tracks. The two inventors feel this will provide a simple solution for parents hoping to protect children from school shootings and gun violence. As sensitive creator Joe Curran says, "I don't care what you do -- if you want to fight the good fight or fix the world's hurts, I can't help you, but my kids are going to be safe because of these backpacks." Which might be true, if crazed shooters are only aiming at people's backs. Check out the "special report" video on the bags after the break.

[Via Pocket-lint]

Continue reading Back-to-school shopping? Don't forget the bulletproof backpacks

 

[via] Engadget

Robotic cucumber hand freaks out party goers

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We've got all ideas that whipping up an edible Wii (and a few controllers while you're at it) would make for a fantastic (albeit overtly geeky) shindig, but there's just something satisfying about a robotic cucumber hand that freaks out attendees that visit the snack table a tad too frequently. The creature, which was reportedly, um, prepared for an event hosted by a CMU computer scientist, primarily consisted of a number of edible parts, a servo, control arm, and a CMU Canary sensing / control platform. Truth be told, however, pictures can only explain so much, so feel free to click on through for a glimpse at this thing in action (and the entire recipe, too).

[Via CNET]

Continue reading Robotic cucumber hand freaks out party goers

 

[via] Engadget

Asus Eee PC pricing and release dates loosed: less flash for more money?

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Take it for what you will, but a forum jockey over at Eeeuser claims to be up on the hubbub regarding the release details of the Eee PC for the US. According to the poster's "high ranking manager" source within ASUS North America, three models of the Eee PC will ship. Of these, two will ship to the US in late September: a $269-$299 model with 7-inch display, 2GB of storage (4GB was the previously stated minimum), 4- or 6-cell battery, 512MB or memory and built-in WiFi; and a $369-399 model which bumps the storage to 4GB. Both models will be available in black or white with those 4- and 6-cell batteries delivering up to 4- and 5-hours of runtime, respectively. Unfortunately, that hotly anticipated $200 model will not be making its way into the North American market. So while it looks like we'll be getting less flash for more money, none of this is official until ASUS says it's so, ok?

[Thanks, Ken]

 

[via] Engadget

Dell's XPS Motherboard Exchange Program goes live

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Those who have stuck with Dell through the ups and (mostly) downs that have revolved around the XPS 700 are finally in luck, as the XPS Motherboard Exchange Program has officially launched. Notably, all XPS 700 and 710 purchases made through June 30th, 2007 are eligible for this program, and while XPS 700 customers will receive the 720 hardware kit gratis, those with a 710 can snag the same package for $250 (plus shipping). The kit itself includes a XPS 720 motherboard, red or black front panel I/O assembly, all applicable cabling, a mouse pad (huzzah?), and an installation sheet for those who decide to pass on the on-site installation -- which, by the way, is free for XPS 700 owners and up to $150 for 710'ers. Furthermore, current 700 clients can snap up the Intel QX6700 CPU "at 25-percent off the then-current price," but you better get a move on, as the program expires promptly at midnight (CST for those cutting it close) on October 13th.

[Via Direct2Dell, thanks David]

 

[via] Engadget

Miles XS 500: the $30000 all-electric sedan?

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While a number of fancier all-electric automobiles have still not yet hit the streets en masse, quite a few companies are already looking at the prospects of bringing plug-in cars to a wider range of individuals. One of those folks would be Miles Rubin, who apparently hopes that his "$30,000 Miles XS 500" can deliver the gas-shunning attributes we crave sans the outrageous price tag. Reportedly, the sedan would sport a "top speed of 80 miles-per-hour and a range of 120-miles at 60 miles-per-hour," and the costs would seemingly be kept down thanks to low Chinese manufacturing costs. Of course, Rubin has yet to utter a date in which he expects these Chinese-constructed motorcars to pass our inspections (and earn our trust), and while a low-cost electric whip sounds enticing in theory, we're going to need a bit more evidence that this thing can survive some form of collision before we remove our skepticism caps.

[Via AutoblogGreen, thanks Nick]

 

[via] Engadget

Sony offering up Swarovski crystal-clad E010 DAPs

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Just in case you've been out of the loop for some time, this DAP certainly won't go down as the first to come glazed in Swarovski crystals, but Sony has nevertheless teamed up with Abiste Corporation to craft the limited edition Walkman E010 lineup. The players will be available in pink, violet, black, blue, or gold colors, have removable caps adorned with Swarovski glass crystals, and won't arrive to your domicile for two solid months after you initially place an order. 'Course, those even remotely interested in one of these beauties should know that it won't come sans a premium, and while you can snag the lowly 1GB flavor for "just" ¥15,800 ($134), the 2GB rendition will run you ¥18,800 ($160) while the 4GB unit demands ¥24,800 ($210) -- while supplies last, mind you.

[Via Luxist]

 

[via] Engadget

FUZE unveils whole-home media system

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If you thought HTIBs were convenient, the FUZE Media System should have you grinning from ear to ear. Similar to the uber-pricey ConnectedLife.Home in a box, this all-in-one solution brings together a FuzeBox HTPC with "multiple CableCARD tuners," FuzeMini HD Media Clients, the Fuze Whole-Home remote, a four-inch wall-mountable touchscreen interface, and a number of on-wall control switches to deliver complete multimedia integration throughout your domicile. According to FUZE, you'll find "all the necessary components for media storage and distribution: a primary media server, video clients, audio clients, and multiple interface options." Interestingly, it even notes that "DRM-friendly whole-home HD video" won't be a problem with this here equipment, and while the firm has yet to talk dollars and dates, we'll hopefully be getting a much closer look at what's involved when it sets up shop at CEDIA.

 

[via] Engadget

Accell's UltraAV HDMI 1.3 High-Speed switch support 1440p


Just when you thought you had a handle on HDMI 1.3, along comes a new sub-class of HDMI switches supporting (are you ready for it?) HDMI 1.3a Category 2, otherwise known as HDMI 1.3 High-Speed. Learn it, live it. Accell's UltraAV 2-port switch supports a 1440p (2560 x 1440) resolution and 10.2Gbps (340MHz) high-speed data transfer without the need of an external power supply. Sure, there aren't any 1440p sets out there yet, but they're coming, as are those 2160p Quad HD monsters. Sorry, no launch date specifics. We only know that it'll cost $99 and receive a proper unveiling in early September at the CEDIA Expo. Of course, you'll still have to find content and a source to pump that superior resolution but this is all about "future proofing" which often has little to do with rational thinking.

 

[via] Engadget