Happy New Year from Gadgetorama

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Dec 312006
 

Happy New Year

It’s not quite 2007 here in Toronto (just under 8 hours to go) but in other places, the calendar year has already jumped forward a year and the celebrations have started. So, as your timezone makes the leap, a very happy new year from Gadgetorama!

I wish all the very best for 2007 to both you and your loved ones!

Thank you for your ongoing support and we’ll see you in 2007!

Best products of 2006

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Dec 312006
 

As we wrap up 2006, here are a couple of lists featuring their best products of 2006.

First up is PC World’s 20 Most Innovative Products of the Year which gives Office 2007 the crown. The Redmond giant’s latest upgrade of the world’s most popular productivity suite introduces several new features that revolutionize how people work with documents. Also on the list are Parallels Desktop application for the Mac, the Nintendo Wii, the T-Mobile Dash, and the PlayStation 3. The article wraps up with 5 innovations to look for in 2007 (including hybrid hard drives and wide-scale WiMax).

Next up is Digital Trend’s The Best Products of 2006. The winners are broken up among different categories (best laptp, best monitor, best video game console, etc). Among the winners are the SanDisk Sansa e200R and Apple iPod Nano, Window Blinds by Stardock, the Xbox 360 and the HP Media Vault.

Beware MMS exploit for Windows Mobile devices

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Dec 312006
 

Symantec is reporting that a Windows Mobile vulnerability that uses MMS (multimedia messaging service) as a vector has been released into the wild. The vulnerability was publicly disclosed over six months but no patch is yet available. Distribution of a patch could be complicated by the fact that Windows Mobile lacks an auto-update feature and especially by the fact that there are different MMS clients available. As with most other Windows Mobile updates, it will be up to the device manufacturers to release a patch.

The new exploit is a malformed MMS message that can execute a piece of code when the viewer views the message in question.

The best way to protect yourself at this time is to only view MMS message from trusted sources.

Source: Geekzone

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Astraware Hogmanay Sale

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Dec 302006
 

Astraware is ushering in 2007 with the Annual Hogmanay Party. Between December 30, 2006 and January 11, 2007, Astraware will offer discounts on different days. Be sure to check back every day as each day will feature different offers. Up first are Ultimate Bowling Fighter ($9.95 USD), Bzzz ($2.95 USD) and Alchemy ($2.95 USD).

Club Astraware members (it’s free to join) will also get an additional top title as a special offer.

Lastly, if you’re curious to know what Hogmanay is, check out Astraware’s blog.

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Sony PS2 to outsell PS3 until 2008

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Dec 302006
 

Business Week is reporting that the Sony PlayStation 2 will continue to outsell the PlayStation 3 well into 2008. In Sony’s fiscal year ending in March 2007, the expectation is that 11 million PS2s and 6 million PS3s will be sold. The year after, the gap will close slightly with another 11 million PS2s and 7 million PS3s being sold. And the PS2 could even outsell both the Wii and the Xbox 360 in 2007.

So what is the secret to the PS2’s success? Its low cost certainly has a role to play in it. Another advantage is the breadth of its game catalog. And with over 100 million PS2s already sold, game developers are not quite ready to abandon this platform. So, new games means the potential for new players, especially with a new focus on more family oriented games (as the hardcore gamers are moving to the next generation platforms).

At least Sony is making a few bucks of each PS2 sold!

Source: Digg

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Pocket PC Techs becomes i-mate authorized repair center for Canada and USA

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Dec 302006
 

Pocket PC Techs has announced that it has become an official i-mate Authorized Repair Center, allowing them to service all i-mate devices in both Canada and the United States. Two services will be offered, one for warranty repairs and one for devices no longer covered by warranty. Pocket PC Techs has a solid reputation when it comes to a variety of services such as memory upgrades, various repairs such as LCD replacements as well as the sale of various accessories.

You will need to ship your device to Pocket PC Techs (in California) for repairs. For warranty repairs, return FedEx Ground shipping fees, diagnostic fees and repairs will be waived. For devices out of warranty, you can select from a variety of repair options or you can select the diagnostic service ($45 USD) if you’re not sure what is wrong with your device.

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No ink needed for this pen

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Dec 292006
 

Metal pen

Grand Illusions is offering a pen that does not need any ink but can still write on virtually any type of paper. The pen is about 8 centimeter long and there is nothing unusual about it until you unscrew the top. The nib is a solid piece of metal. The technology actually dates back to the Medieval Ages when artists and scribes used metal styli made of silver.

The pens we sell are a modern version (and do not use silver). The solid metal ‘nib’ consists of a metal alloy, that leaves a mark on most types of paper. If you use the sort of paper typically used in printers and photocopiers, the pen leaves a mark that looks as if it was made by a pencil. However the line will not smudge, and cannot be rubbed out.

The inkless metal pen is available for $29.38 USD directly from Grand Illusions.

Source: Popgadget

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More HTC 2007 roadmap details

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Dec 292006
 

First we found out about the upcoming Cavalier, Athena, Libra, Love (similar to Artemis but without GPS) and Vox devices from HTC. Now comes word from Russian site www.hpc.ru of still more HTC models.

First up is the Omni. Few details are available but it is supposed to be an update to the HTC Universal. It should sport the same 3.6-inch VGA screen but it should be a bit smaller without sacrificing any of the hardware specs. Up next is the Kaiser which will replace the Hermes. It adds GPS support but otherwise should be comparable.

In the area of PDA phones, the Panda will feature a large (perhaps as high as 3.7-inch) QVGA display and a 400MHz processor but will not have 3G support. The Elf will have a touch-sensitive pad rather than hardware buttons but will otherwise feature a fairly basic configuration (200MHz processor, Bluetooth but no Wi-Fi or 3G).

On the smartphone side, the HTC Wings is an upgrade to the yet-unreleased Vox. It will a more powerful processor, 3G support and GPS. The last device remains unnamed at this time but appears to be a Star Trek clamshell upgrade with GPS receiver and additional GPS bands support.

If you’re interested in the HTC Athena, start saving your pretty pennies. It looks like it will go for about $1700 USD.

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Weekend fun: Warring Nations gets updated

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Dec 292006
 

Warring Nations

Inscenic has announced an update to Warring Nations, its turn-based strategy game that takes place during the Medieval Ages. The action is set in medieval times. These are times of noble lords, great battles and glorious victories. Will you be able to unite all the territories under your control?

Version 1.2 adds the Elite Knights unit type to the non-VGA version and a number of improvements to the game have been made. Square-screen Pocket PC compatibility has been improved; the Palm OS version features a higher resolution battlefield; the user interface has been improved; and the game performance and memory footprints have been improved.

Warring Nations 1.2 is available for $14.95 USD from our affiliate Clickgamer. A trial version is also available.

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2006 red dot design awards

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Dec 282006
 

red dot

I first found out about the red dot design awards from Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen last year when the Dell Axim X50v won one. The red dot award: design concept opens the window to the future. It provides us with an indication of future trends, innovations and designs. It affirms today’s leaders in the field of design and more importantly identifies emerging talents and companies who are certain to make significant contributions in shaping our evolving future.

There are a number of categories. In the Interaction & Communication category, winners include the Onyx mobile phone prototype and the ROEM, an electronic paper device which rolls up into when not in use. Its wireless connection will allow users to download a wide variety of material such as magazines, newspapers and books. In the Recreation category, you will find winners such as the Phoenix, an integrated cooking system designed with backpackers in mind. The stove, stand, fuel, and wind screen are all one piece. Everything nests inside the bowl. Capillary Forced Vaporisation (CFV) micro-porous ceramic discs vaporise fuel on the fly. There is no need for pressurised fuel.

Don’t forget to check out the Bong Bong Boxer, an invention that makes fighting fun and educational for pre-school children.

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HP now selling the Zune

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Dec 282006
 

Microsoft Zune

HP’s first foray into the world of digital audio players was with Apple. That partnership ended in 2005 with HP not being allowed to offer alternative music players until August 2006 (as part of the termination agreement). With that embargo out of the way, HP is now offering the Microsoft Zune on its US online store.

I’m not sure exactly when HP started offering the Zune but all three colours (black, brown and white) are available for $249.99 USD.

Source: Mobility Site

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Another Rune Larsen mobile phone design

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Dec 282006
 

Remember that simple mobile phone design from Rune Larsen? Well, Rune is at it again with a new design called the Eclipse Phone. This phone has all the basic features for a 1996 phone (phonebook, sms and calls), but still no camera or other close to useless features. The display slides out of the body when needed and uses a simple LCD panel to maximize battery life.

Eclipse concept phone

Once again, a simple and elegant design.

Source: Gizmodo

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Dell Axim X50 and X50v WM5.0 system update

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Dec 282006
 

Dell Axim X50v

Dell has posted a System Update for the Axim X50/X50v running Windows Mobile 5.0. The update includes the following:

  • OS 5.1.195(Build 14957.2.3.1)
  • Wireless roaming enhancement
  • Improve CF memory card sometimes disappear
  • CF modem driver improvement
  • Microphone recording enhancement
  • ActiveSync connection improvement

Three versions of the update are available: For the Axim X50 LE (416MHz), the Axim X50 ME (520MHz) and the Axim X50v.

Note: This is an optional update only.

Source: Aximsite

How about a mobile phone with a 800 x 480 screen?

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Dec 272006
 

Hitachi is now mass producing a 2.9-inch LCD panel with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels for mobile phones. You would expect the power consumption of such a display to make a mockery of battery life but Hitachi claims that its IPS LCD technology improves the transmission of light by revamping the pixel structure and microfabricating the wiring. There are no hard numbers on power consumption (and how it compares to QVGA panels) but it does offers a a viewing angle of over 170 degrees in both vertical and horizontal directions, a contrast ratio of about 400:1 and luminance of 250 cd/m2.

So far, no device manufacturers have announced devices using the new panel.

Source: Engadget

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VITO QuickContact V3.0 released

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Dec 272006
 

VITO QuickContact

VITO Technology has announced a new version of VITO QuickContact, a phone book application for Windows Mobile 5 devices that is designed for one-hand control. VITO QuickContact is a contact manager for your Pocket PC that includes everything you need to call your contacts, input phone numbers and search people in your database. QuickContact allows you to stay connected on the go and dial any numbers without even touching your stylus! QuickContact is designed to enable one-handed control, using only your joystick.

Version 3.0 comes with new features like a history of the last 50 calls, a hardware button key combination to quickly open and close the application, support for all European languages, the ability to view, add, edit contacts both on SIM card and in the phone book, new icons, and improved search functionality.

VITO QuickContact for Windows Mobile 5.0 is available for $15.95 from our affiliate Clickapps. A trial version is also available.

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