Outfit your smartphone in a snake skin case

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Sep 302006

Monaco Cases has unveiled a new line of smartphone and PDA cases made of genuine snake skin leather. They are available for many different devices, including the Cingular 8125, the Motorola Q, the Dell X50 and X51 models, the HP iPAQ hw6500 series and others. You can also choose from book, flip and sleeve-type cases.

All cases are currently on sale for $39.95 USD (regular price is $75 USD) through Wireless Ground.

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Weekend fun: Air Hockey Challenge

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Sep 292006

Air Hockey Challenge

You can now take Air Hockey with you wherever you and your Pocket PC go. Air Hockey Challenge is a game of reactions and skill, based on the classic arcade game of the same name. The object of the game is simply to outscore your opponent. Use your Pocket PC’s touch screen to guide your paddle in order to hit the puck and defend your goal. The puck floats on a cushion of air and can move extremely fast so be careful not to blink too often!

Air Hockey Challenge comes with 4 game modes, 3 skill levels, different power-ups and the ability to play either against the computer or a human opponent over Wi-Fi mode. It also supports both left and right handed modes.

Air Hockey Challenge is available for $14.95 USD directly from 4Pockets. A trial version is also available.

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10 year anniversary promotion for Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars

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Sep 292006

Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars

Broken Sword is the story of George Stobbart, an American tourist on vacation in Europe, who becomes embroiled in a terrifying conspiracy when he witnesses the theft of an ancient manuscript and the assassination of its owner. The manuscript, created in the 14th century by the order of the Knights Templar, points to where their legendary power has been hidden for over six hundred years. Befriending a photojournalist, Nico Collard, the two find themselves on a global trail that ultimately reveals a deadly secret that will change their lives forever.

This weekend, it marks its 10th year anniversary. Since then, it has been released on a number of platforms and has spawned three sequels with Broken Sword 4: The Angel of Death being the latest. To celebrate this anniversary, Astraware will offer Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars at the special promotional price of $14.95 USD (instead of the regular $29.95 USD) between September 29 and October 1. This offer is available from the Astraware website for this limited period only. Visit the site at http://www.astraware.com/promo/brokensword1 for more details.

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HP Mobility 2006 media event

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Sep 292006


HP held a media event today where it introduced a new line of computing products focused on high-definition entertainment. Among the products announced are a 17-inch widescreen notebook with HD-DVD drive, an HD-DVD Media Center TV PC with 7.1 surround sound and an HD-DVD external drive for PCs. It also announced two home storage products: The HP Media Vault that offers up to 1.2TB (that’s not a typo) of storage as well as the HP Pocket Media Drives, 2.5-inch USB hard drives in 80GB and 120GB capacities.

HP also officially unveiled the HP iPAQ rx5915 at a media event today. Details are pretty much as reported earlier today. But there are a few additional details: The rx5900 models will be available in North America and Europe with TomTom NAVIGATOR 6. Europeans will also have the choice of an rx5700 with eight regional map configurations. It is not clear if the rx5700 will also have different hardware specs. The Asia Pacific region will see models with different navigation software.

Note: The ‘More information’ link will take you to a PDF version of HP’s announcement.

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HP buys Voodoo

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Sep 282006


HP has purchased VoodooPC, a manufacturer of expensive high-end PCs for gamers and PC enthusiasts. Financial terms were not disclosed. This move follows Dell’s acquisition of Alienware earlier this year. HP will forma a separate business unit to focus on the gaming industry with this move. VoodooPC’s Rahul Sood will become the chief technologist and Ravi Sood will become director of strategy for the new unit.

VoodooPC will keep its current distribution model and brand name along with its marketing, sales, support and development operations. But it will now have access to HP’s $3.5 billion USD R&D department.

Rahul Sood has posted a blog entry that explains much of the history that led to this move.

Note: The ‘More information’ link will take you to a PDF version of HP’s announcement.

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Zune pricing set at $249 USD

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Sep 282006

Microsoft Zune

After a few weeks of wild pricing rumours, Microsoft has announced that the Zune digital media player will sell for $249.99 USD and will be available to US consumers starting on November 14. So much for the rumours that Microsoft would undercut Apple’s 30GB iPod pricing.

Information and pricing on the Zune’s accessories was also revealed. You’ll find everything from Zune AV Output cables or Zyne Sync cables for $19.99 USD to a Zune Dock and Premium Headphones (both $39.99 USD). A Zune FM tuner With AutoSeek for your car will retail for $69.99. Microsoft will also bundle selected accessories into a Zune Home A/V Pack ($99.99 USD), a Zune Travel Pack ($99.99 USD) and a Zune Car Pack ($79.99 USD).

The Zune Marketplace will also open its doors on November 14. A Zune pass will cost $14.99 USD per month. Individual songs will also be available for 79 Microsoft Points. These Microsoft Points are a stored value system that can be redeemed at a growing number of online stores, including the Xbox Live Marketplace.

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Spb Time Updated

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Sep 282006

Spb Time

Spb Software House has updated Spb Time, its time tool set featuring analogue, digital and world clocks as well as timers and stopwatches all in one application. Version 2.1 focuses on improving the alarm engine and the standard alarm notification screen. It also improves awakening abilities, adds a new one-time alarm and resolves an issue with the password screen. The city database also received an update.

Spb Time is available for $19.95 USD from our affiliate Pocketgear. A trial version is also available. Version 2.1 is also a free upgrade for registered Spb Time 2.x users.

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CNET reviews iPaq rx5900 Travel Companion

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Sep 282006

HP iPAQ rx5900

On the heels of its HP iPAQ rx4540 review, CNET has also done a review of the iPAQ rx5900 Travel Companion. They describe it as a sexy and sleek handheld that not only offers the benefits of a Windows Mobile PDA but also integrates GPS into the mix. It’s more refined than some of the other PDA/GPS combos out there.

The rx5900 uses Windows Mobile 5.0. It comes with a 400MHz Samsung processor, a 3.5-inch, QVGA touch screen, 64MB RAM and an impressive 2GB ROM, a nine-way navigation pad and two function keys below it, an SD slot on top of the unit, a mini USB connector, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 and a 3.5mm headset jack. It also comes with a a vehicle mount for both windshield and dash. The GPS uses the SiRFstar III GPS receiver and comes loaded with North America maps and TomTom Navigator 6 software

The rx5900 does suffer a bit when it comes to performance. The various functions can put quite a load on the processor and the battery life is on the short side of the range. It was also slow in acquiring an GPS signal. CNET also laments the fact that there is no VGA version.

The iPAQ rx5900 is expected to start shipping in October and will sell for $599 USD.

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i-mate to unveil 15 devices in next year

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Sep 282006

At Mobius 2006 Boston, Jim Morrison, i-mate founder and CEO, announced that the company plans to launch 15 devices in the next year. According to the::unwired, most of these will be Pocket PC Phone devices but at least a few will be Windows Mobile Smartphone devices. The new devices will fall into three classes: Ultimate for those who require the latest and greatest, Stealth for corporate customers and average consumers and Light for the low-end mass market.

Apparently, i-mate’s contract with HTC still has a few months to go on it but i-mate is focused on releasing exclusive designs only so it is unlikely we will see more HTC devices. It sounds to me like no more than marketing spin.

Furthermore, Jim Morrison claims that the i-mate JAQ was deliberately designed to be ugly in response to corporate requests. Ugly devices are less likely to be stolen or used by employees outside of the office. Sure, if you say so…

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Mercora free preview to end of October

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Sep 272006

I mentioned the new Mercora M service a few days ago. It is a subscription service that delivers wireless, over-the-air music streaming to your Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphone or Pocket PC from your own PC (and up to four others). If you’re interested, Mercora is now offering a free preview through to October 31.

After the preview, Mercora will be available for $4.99 USD for one month or $29.99 USD for six months, $49.99 USD for a year and $99.99 USD for a two-year subscription.

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HP iPAQ rx4540 CNET Review

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Sep 272006

HP ipaq rx4000

The recently announced iPAQ rx4000 Mobile Media Companion series‘s first model has been reviewed by CNET Asia. The rx4540 comes with 1GB of ROM which will offer plenty of storage. The somewhat unusual form factor earns HP some points as does the compact design (102 x 63.5 x 16.75mm). The 2.8-inch QVGA screen is described as sharp and bright. Other positives are the useful scroll wheel and the processor (400MHz Samsung) performance.

On the negative side, the unit is both unwieldy and plasticky-feeling (although solidly constructed). It also lacks Windows Mobile soft keys and both an onboard camera and FM tuner.

As a side note, it looks like our tipster OG was right: The rx4540 will have a smaller sibling, the rx4240 which will come with only 128MB ROM.

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CompactFlash capacities hit 16GB

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Sep 272006

Both Pretec and SanDisk have unveiled new CF cards with capacities up to 16GB.

SanDisk will offer both 12GB and 16GB cards in their Extreme III performance line. Both will come with minimum write and read speeds of 20MB/sec. The cards will be available in December with the 12GB card selling for $779.99 USD and the 16GB for $1049.99 USD.

Pretec has also unveiled 16GB CF cards. One version will offer access speeds up to 12MB/sec and another will offer access speeds up to 20MB/sec. The cards should be available at the end of the year but pricing was not revealed.

Conduits releases Pocket Player 3.0 for Windows Mobile 5

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Sep 272006

Conduits Pocket Player

Conduits Technology has released Pocket Player 3.0 for Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC and Smartphone. Offered as an alternative to Windows Media Player Mobile, it supports video playback (including WMV, 3GP and AVI formats), a revamped library tool to track media files on your device (including additional metadata tags), improved one-handed operation, a new smart playlist format, podcast streaming, Universal Plug-and-Play (Windows Media Connect) connectivity, skin support and still more.

Pocket Player 3.0 is available for $19.95 USD from our affiliate Pocketgear. A trial version is also available. Upgade details are available from Conduits.

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More information on upcoming Windows Mobile versions

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Sep 262006

First we saw screenshots of what is apparently the next Windows Mobile version. Now a few details have emerged. According to Pocket PC Mauritius, the next version of Windows Mobile will come with a Language Pack feature which will let you switch languages (but requiring a hard reset), support for Smartphone external displays, Internet Sharing, a new set up wizard that will help users configure their device the first time they turn it on, improvements to the text messaging capabilities and Windows Media Player will include Video Scaling and a simple equalizer.

Brighthand’s Ed Hardy was also given a preview of both Crossbow and Photon. While thin on details (Ed is under NDA), he has published his impressions (The Latest Glimpse Into the Future of Windows Mobile) and does indicate that Crossbow will not come with any radical changes but will pack quite a few improvements to the current Windows Mobile 5. This suggests that the changes described above are slated for Photon which could come out as late as 2008.

If devices running Crossbow don’t come out until the second half of 2007, we have plenty of time to see if these rumours hold up or not.

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Nokia unveils N75 and N95

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Sep 262006

Nokia N95

Nokia has released the Nokia N75 and N95, the latest in its Multimedia Computer product line.

The N75 is Nokia’s smallest multimedia computer. It comes in a clamshell design that lets you manage your music even when the phone is closed thanks to its controls on the cover of the device. The cover also features a 1.36-inch screen. With the microSD slot, you can store up to 1500 songs. It also comes with an FM tuner, integrated 3D stereo speakers, a 2MP camera, an intenal 2.4-inch screen and 40MB of internal memory. Lest we forget, the N75 is a quad-band GSM phone with support for WCDMA and EDGE.

The N95 features a 2-way slide design. One side slides otu to reveal a numeric keypad while the other side reveals dedicated media keys. The latter also convert the 2.6-inch QVGA display to landscape mode. It also comes with GPS, a 5MP camera, tri-band GSM and support for high speed networks like WLAN, EDGE, WCDMA and HSPDA, built-in stereo speakers, a microSD slot, mini USB, Bluetooth 2.0 and an FM tuner. The N95 is powered by Symbian’s S60 operating system with Feature Pack 1. All this is delivered in a fairly compact package (99mm x 20mm x 53mm and a weight of 120 gram).

The N75 will be available in the US starting in the fourth quarter of 2006 and the N95 will go on sale in Europe in early 2007 for €550 ($700 USD).