Toshiba Satellite G900 gets FCC approval

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May 312007
 

Toshiba G900

The tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and HSDPA Toshiba Satellite G900 has received FCC approval. While this is no guarantee that it will land on North American shores, chances are better now than they were before. And, should you bring it in to the US from elsewhere, you can now operate it legally.

Powered by Windows Mobile 6 Professional and a Marvel PXA270 processor (although the precise speed is still unknown), it comes with a WVGA (800×480) 3-inch display, a built-in biometric scanner, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 64MB RAM and 128MB ROM, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0 and dual cameras (a 2MP camera and a secondary video conferencing one) and a miniSD slot.

Originally announced as the Portege G900, it now looks like Toshiba will offer it as the Satellite G900 instead.

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Another HTC P3450 Touch sighting

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May 312007
 

CoolSmartPhone.com have apparently got an HTC Elf in hand. Details are very slim but they do call it the HTC Touch, confirming the name I had heard earlier. Unfortunately, there is no mention of the rumoured HTC multi-touch interface. Perhaps HTC has held this software back so far to minimize leaks until the June 5th announcement.

So far, CoolSmartPhone.com is most impressed by how slender and sleek the Elf is and by the fact that it only has two keys on the front.

Source: Pocketnow

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Zune Firmware 1.4 now available

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May 312007
 

Microsoft has released the latest firmware for its Zune player. And what cool new features do you get with this latest update? An improved shuffle mode (successive shuffle actions produce more random lists). That’s it!

Really… There’s nothing else to see, move along now…

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YouTube coming to Apple TV

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May 302007
 

Apple has announced that YouTube is coming to AppleTV. Beginning in mid-June, Apple TV will wirelessly stream videos directly from YouTube and play them on a user’s widescreen TV. Using Apple TV’s elegant interface and simple Apple Remote, viewers can easily browse, find and watch free videos from YouTube in the comfort of their living room. You can see how it works on the AppleTV section of Apple’s web site.

The upgrade will be done via a free software update in mid-June.

Apple also announced that it will start offering a 160GB version of the AppleTV, starting tomorrow for US$399. The original version with a 40GB hard drive will remain on sale for US$299.

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Palm announces Foleo smartphone companion

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May 302007
 

As expected, Palm unveiled a new class of devices today. The Palm Foleo is a smartphone companion product that looks a lot like a sub-notebook. Once you have paired your Foleo to your Treo, the two work as one with synchronization keeping the two devices in sync at all times. The Foleo mobile companion turns on and off instantly and features fast navigation, a compact and elegant design, and a battery that lasts up to 5 hours of use. Its applications include email, full-screen web browser, and editors or viewers for common business documents such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF files. The Foleo stays synchronized via Bluetooth wireless technology and uses the smartphone’s radio or the Foleo’s built-in Wi-Fi radio for general Internet connectivity.

It comes with a 10-inch screen, a full-size keyboard, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, 256 of Flash ROM, a USB port, a video-out port, a scroll wheel, and both SD and CF slots. It is powered by Linux and is capable of instant on or off.

Palm Foleo

While the Foleo has been designed to work with Palm Treo smartphones, Palm expects that it will work with most Windows Mobile smartphones with little or no modification. A modest software development effort would also allow the Foleo to support RIM, Apple and Symbian devices. The Linux OS will also allow third party developers to come up with new applications for the Foleo (a few like Avenue and DataViz have already done so).

The Foleo should be available in the US this summer and will sell for US$499 (with a US$100 introductory rebate).

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Details of the HTC June 5th announcement?

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May 302007
 

Smartphone Thoughts is reporting that an anonymous source that has proven reliable in the past let them know what HTC will be announcing on June 5th. The new device to be unveiled will be an HTC Elf. Surprised? Apparently, all those specs that we have been leaked so far have missed an important detail: The Elf will sport a multitouch display. So you will be able to slide your finger across the screen to run commands and interact with the device in the same manner as Apple’s much hyped iPhone.

If this turns out to be true, it will be interesting to see how HTC implements this on the Windows Mobile platform given that it does not support multiple simultaneous inputs. What I have heard is that HTC has developed a set of tools that allow you to perform certain actions by sliding your finger across the screen. For example, you could slide your finger down to scroll down a page. HTC has apparently also developed some new Today screen widgets that should again make it easier to use a finger instead of a stylus.

The HTC Elf is powered by a 200MHz TI OMAP processor and Windows Mobile 6 Professional. It comes with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE capabilities, 64MB RAM and 128MB ROM, a 2.8-inch QVGA screen, a 2MP camera, and a microSD slot. Weighing in at only 110 grams (less than 4 ounces), it measures 108x58x14 millimeters (4.25×2.28×0.55 inches).

I’ve also heard that the HTC Elf will be known as the HTC P3450 Touch when it is announced.

Smartphone Thoughts also reports that the device will be launched worldwide and HTC expects to sell more than 2 million this year alone.

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Microsoft unveils Surface Computing

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May 302007
 

Microsoft Surface

Microsoft has unveiled its Microsoft Surface Computing technology, a new category of products that focus on interaction with information using touch, natural gestures and physical objects. Picture a surface that can recognize physical objects from a paintbrush to a cell phone and allows hands-on, direct control of content such as photos, music and maps… Surface turns an ordinary tabletop into a vibrant, dynamic surface that provides effortless interaction with all forms of digital content through natural gestures, touch and physical objects.

The Surface user interface does not require a traditional mouse or keyboard. Instead it lets users “grab” digital information by touch and gesture, use multiple points of contact simultaneously (including from more than one user at once) and provides object recognition whereby physical objects placed on the surface will trigger responses.

Surface essentially consists of a PC running Windows Vista housed in a table whose surface is a 30-inch touch screen. Five cameras are mounted beneath the screen to detect nearby objects.

With an initial price tag ranging from US$5,000 to US$10,000, it will take some time for Surface to make its way to consumers. For now, Surface will be rolled out later this year to T-Mobile stores and a number of hotels and casinos.

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Apple iTunes 7.2 ready for DRM-free music (Updated)

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May 302007
 

Apple

Apple has released iTunes 7.2. The biggest change is the addition of iTunes Plus, the new 256Kbps DRM-free music Apple first announced with EMI back in April.

After upgrading, I checked out the iTunes store but no DRM-free music is available yet. It looks like they have not updated their catalog yet though as the free download is still last week’s. Perhaps Apple is waiting until Steve Jobs has made an announcement today at the D: All Things Digital Conference.

The Help file does indicate that you will be able to upgrade older purchases (if a DRM-free version is available). Instructions on how to do so should appear when you visit the iTunes store (but I did not see any this morning).

Update: iTunes Plus is now showing up on the US and Canada iTunes stores. In Canada, iTunes Plus songs cost CA$1.39 instead of US$1.29 in the United States.

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Gadgetorama reviews Spb AirIslands

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May 302007
 

Spb AirIslands

If your world broke into thousands of small islands in the sky, would you have what it takes to help restore the world to its former glory? Before you answer that question for yourself, check out Gadgetorama’s latest review: Spb AirIslands from Spb Software House. Spb AirIslands brings together elements from a number of different game genres. First, it is a simulation game where you develop your island by collecting resources that you use to develop your island. It adds an element of arcade games with its supporting games that you play to collect the resources. It also connects you to the Spb AirIsland online community where you can contribute to the reconstruction of the entire world.

Does Spb AirIslands deliver? Find out in our latest review.

I’m also hoping to get reviews back on a more regular schedule (it’s been six months since the last review). With a bit of luck, I will have the next review up next month.

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What will Microsoft unveil at midnight tonight?

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May 292007
 

Gizmodo is reporting that Microsoft will unveil a new product tonight at midnight. The email Gizmodo got promises “something totally new coming out of the Entertainment and Devices division, and it’s going to change the way people interact with technology.”

Since their original post, further details appear to have leaked out and it now appears that Microsoft will unveil some sort of play table based on its Microsoft Smart Surface technology (formerly known as PlayTable). The interface will use multi-touch, gesture and object recognition technologies in a number of applications, including gaming and a retail interface for the Zune.

Is this announcement (as well as Palm’s new device and HTC’s June 5th announcement) just falling around the same time by coincidence or is everyone trying to catch a little attention from the press before Apple unveils its iPhone sometime next month?

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Oops! Microsoft has not sold a million Zunes yet

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May 292007
 

Put away the party hats and favours for now: Microsoft has not yet achieved its goal of selling one million Zunes by the end of June. The San Fransisco Chronicle article that I linked to contains a transcribing error (now corrected). In fact, Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division, said:

When we finish our fiscal year in June we’ll have sold a little over a million Zunes, so we feel very good about that.

during the original interview.

Let’s reconvene in a couple of weeks to see if Microsoft achieved its goal.

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Palm to announce new device tomorrow

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May 292007
 

Palm

Palm has announced that it will announce a new mobile device tomorrow at the D: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad in California. A live video webcast hosted by Jeff Hawkins, founder of Palm, Inc., will follow to give more information and a demonstration about this new mobile device category as well as Palm’s vision.

The press release does not disclose any information about this device but many expect a small tablet or UMPC type device. Hints of this device and a third Palm product category first surfaced back in 2005 so it has been a while coming.

Source: Pocket PC Mauritius

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Rogers Wireless offers HTC TyTN

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May 292007
 

HTC TyTN

Rogers Wireless has announced that it has just added the HTC TyTN to its stable of mobile devices, even as its successor, the HTC P4550 (HTC Kaiser), nears release in the rest of the world.

“As the only wireless carrier with the advanced broadband HSDPA-based network in Canada, Rogers Wireless is committed to bringing the most powerful HSDPA-enabled devices to market,” said John Boynton, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Rogers Wireless. “Rogers is committed to investing in innovative new services such as TyTN. This new device brings together the combination of power, design and connectivity into one amazing device so our customers can save time and have access to the latest in mobile innovation while on the go.”

The HTC TyTN is powered by Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC Phone Edition (with MSFP) and a 400MHz Samsung processor. It comes with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band HSDPA support, 64MB RAM and 128MB ROM, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a 2.8-inch QVGA screen, a microSD slot, Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, and both a 2MP camera and CIF camera for video telephony.

The Rogers Wireless HTC Tytn is available for CA$399.99 with a three year term.

Although HTC has announced a Windows Mobile 6 ugprade for the HTC TyTN, Rogers Wireless has not indicated whether it will offer it.

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Weekday fun: Fear of the Dark

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May 292007
 

Fear of the Dark

If you’re looking for a little escape from your cubicle, Fear of the Dark might just be for you. A princess has been arrested by an army of dangerous, dark creatures. She needs your help. You, as a prince, have to rescue her by exploring all the huge worlds. Avoiding the fatal traps at all costs. Kill the dangerous dark creatures i.e zombies, werewolfs, death, phalanx, and other dangerous monsters.

The game features plenty of enemies, large maps to explore and supports Windows Mobile, Palm and a large number of Symbian devices.

Fear of the Dark is available for either US$9.99 or US$12.99 depending on the OS version from our affiliate Clickgamer.

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New version of Photo Viewer 2007 released by Resco

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May 282007
 

Resco Photo Viewer 2007

Resco has released a new version of Resco Photo Viewer 2007, its photo and image viewing and editing application. All the features Resco Photo Viewer has to offer are easy to use, and come in a graphically appealing interface. It makes no difference if users want to share a presentation with colleagues or just show family albums to friends.

Version 6.30 of Photo Viewer 2007 adds the ability to upload your favorite pictures to the Internet directly from your device (including support for Flickr.com with Album>Publish to the Web). It also adds a zoom slider, an improved file save capability supporting bigger images, the ability to use the browser to show or hide folders, the folder bar and the folder tree, an optional left browser hand scroller and more.

Resco Photo Viewer 2007 is available in two versions. There is a Standard version and a Professional version which adds support for RAW formats (including raw, crw, raf, mrw, nef, and others) and an Upload to FTP and Histogram tools.

Resco Photo Viewer 2007 Standard is available for US$24.95 from our affiliate PocketGear. A trial version is also available. Resco Photo Viewer 2007 Professional is available for US$69.95 from our affiliate PocketGear.

Note: The smartphone version has not been updated.