Two version of Asus Eee desktops coming?

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May 312008
 

Rumoured Asus EBOX

It would appear that Asus will release not one but two Eee desktops next week at Computex. Much has been heard about the Asus EBOX but Asus will also release a second, higher-end model as well.

Anandtech got their hands on the Asus EBOX (they call it the Eee Box to the final name appears to still be in the air) and confirm that it will come with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor with Intel 945G chipset (rather than the Atom chipset), 1GB of RAM, a 160GB 5400RPM hard drive, an Ethernet port, 802.11 n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. Anandtech also reports that three different models will be offered. I suspect we will see different hard drive options as well as a choice of either Linux or Windows XP.

More interestingly, Asus will also unveil a small multimedia desktop to be called the Eee Station. It will come with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor and an optical drive with Blu-Ray being an option. Unlike the EBOX, it will be able to support high-definition 1080p video playback. Other options will include the choice of an Nvidia GeForce 8600GT or ATI video card. According to Asus, prices will range from USD$650 to USD$1650.

T-Mobile formally announces MDA Vario IV

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May 312008
 

Following the press announcement earlier this week, T-Mobile formally announced the MDA Vario IV, its version of the upcoming HTC Raphael, with a press release. Specific details in the press release are pretty slim though and only confirm that it will come with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, HSDPA (7.2Mbps) connectivity, video telephony support, a media player, a 3.2MP camera and integrated GPS.

From previous leaks, we expect that it will be powered by a 528MHz Qualcomm processor and Windows Mobile 6.1. It will also come with a 2.8-inch VGA touchscreen display with an accelerometer to rotate the screen orientation automatically, 256MB RAM and 512MB ROM, integrated GPS, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, an FM radio, a front facing VGA camera, a 3.2MP camera, a TV out port, and a microSD expansion slot.

T-Mobile did not release pricing but indicated that it will be available in late summer 2008.

Note: The ‘More information’ link is in German. [Google translation]

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New details about BlackBerry KickStart

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May 312008
 

Rumoured BlackBerry KickStart

CrackBerry landed themselves a document called “The BlackBerry Flip Experience” which sheds some new details on the upcoming BlackBerry KickStart, RIM’s first clamshell device (It’s too bad that they had to pull down the images). It’s clear that RIM has paid particular attention to ensuring that the BlackBerry experience is maintained in this completely new form factor.

The KickStart will work like most other clamshells when it comes to making calls. Opening it will answer a call and closing it will end a call. The external LCD will tell you who is calling and display the Caller ID picture and name if the caller is in the address book.

Messaging will work in a similar fashion. Opening the clamshell when a message comes in will automatically take you to the message. The external display will once again show who sent the message as well as brief preview. Closing the phone will mark the message as red.

The external display will also let you browse missed alerts. Selecting one and opening the phone will again automatically open the appropriate message.

The same display will show you music information such as album art, song title and artist. You will not need to open the phone to control music playback. For example, the Mute key will act as Play/Pause and the volume keys will control volume.

CrackBerry also reports that the KickStart could come with BlackBerry Device Software version 5.0 rather than 4.6.

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RIM dominates U.S. smartphone market in Q1 2008

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May 302008
 

According to the latest IDC numbers, RIM now dominates the U.S. smartphone market. RIM’s marketshare of smartphones reached 44.5 percent in the first quarter of 2008, up from 35.1 in the last quarter of 2008. The growth is due largely to the fact that RIM has managed to expand its audience from business users to include ‘prosumers’.

Other companies that saw increased marketshare were Palm which increased its share to 13.4 from 7.9 percent thanks to the strength of the Palm Centro and Samsung which rose from 5.1 to 8.6 percent.

Other companies were not so lucky. The Apple iPhone saw its own marketshare drop to 19.2 percent down from 26.7 percent while Motorola dwindled to a mere 2.6 percent (from 7.5 percent) and HTC which dropped to 4.1 percent from 7.9 percent.

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10-inch Asus Eee PC launch confirmed for Computex

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May 302008
 

Rumours that Asus had pushed up the launch to the Computex tradeshow of its 10-inch Asus Eee PC have been confirmed. The confirmation was made by an Asus spokesperson.

No specification details were given but the larger Eee PC, rumoured to be called the Eee PC 1000, is widely expected to use an Intel Atom processor rather than the Celeron in current models. The same spokesperson also indicated that it will go on sale in the UK in November.

MSI is also set to unveil its own 10-inch MSI Wind at Computex.

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HTC Touch Diamond starts shipping

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May 302008
 

HTC Touch Diamond

For all eagerly awaiting to get their hands on the new HTC Touch Diamond, there is some good news.

DigiTimes market sources report that HTC has shipped its first 10,000 units. This first shipment is headed to Hong Kong. Shipments to Europe and other Asian markets are expected to start in June.

A North American version of the HTC Touch Diamond is not expected until later in the year unfortunately.

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Proporta offers free shipping to U.S. in June

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May 302008
 

Proporta

Proporta is offering its U.S. customers free shipping throughout the month of June. Why? Simply because: Proporta love that they have such a good relationship with their customers across the pond.

The offer will run from June 1st to June 30th on orders that use Proporta’s standard worldwide shipping method to any US address.

Unfortunately, the offer does not apply to Canada. Aren’t we across the pond too? Maybe we’ll get our own offer sometime soon!

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What does MSI have in store for Computex 2008? (Updated)

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May 292008
 

It looks like MSI will be quite busy during Computex 2008. The company will have several product announcements, including some new motherboards and low-cost devices. First up, the MSI Wind (in its 10-inch Windows XP configuration) is expected to be at the show.

The MSI Wind is also set to gain a desktop cousin. The Wind PC is a low-cost desktop intended to compete with the upcoming Asus EBOX. It could sell for USD$250 without a display. It is expected to pack an Intel processor (the Atom perhaps?), 1GB RAM, 160GB hard drive, DVD drive and an Gigabit Ethernet port. It would also be an energy-efficient design, using no more than 35 watts.

MSI CEO Joseph Hsu has also indicated that MSI will not get into the MID business until Intel introduces its second generation MID platform in mid 2009.

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Dell mini-notebook spotted at D: All Things Digital

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May 292008
 

Dell mini-notebook

Just a day after Michael Dell dropped some hints about what the company was working on in the mobility space, he was spotted with the upcoming Dell mini-notebook by Gizmodo Editor, Brian Lam. Dell would not reveal any details such as the name, specifications or pricing but he did indicate that it was aimed at developing countries. Lam did spot that it came with three USB ports, a card reader, VGA out and Ethernet. He even managed to get a few pictures.

On the heels of the Gizmodo posting, Dell released a couple more images on their blog.

Back in April, Dell had indicated that their low-cost notebook would be offered sometime in the second half of the year. Could we see a formal announcement at next week’s Computex?

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Canadian art coming to Zune Originals

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May 292008
 

Microsoft Zune

Just in time for the Canadian launch of the Zune, Microsoft has announced that it will add seven designs by six Canadian artists to its catalogue of engravings available on Zune Originals.

“The Zune Originals program is a great way to celebrate, showcase and support the creative talent we have here in Canada,” said Craig Tullett, Group Manager, Zune Canada. “Zune is about showcasing people’s individual tastes and preferences and Zune Originals is yet another way for Canadians to personalize their experience.”

Available to both Canadian and U.S. consumers, the designs will join the over 40 designs already available. Best of all, the engraving will be free to Canadians for three months, starting June 13, 2008 (the day that the Zune lands in Canada).

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VIA unveils Nano processor to compete against Intel Atom

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May 292008
 

VIA formally unveiled its new VIA Nano processor (codename Isaiah) today.

The VIA Nano processor family offers as much as four times the performance within the same power range to extend VIA’s performance per watt leadership, while pin compatibility with VIA C7 processors will ensure a smooth transition for OEMs and motherboard vendors, and provides them with an easy upgrade path for current system or board designs.

The VIA Nano will target markets such as the mini-notebooks (like the HP Mini-Note which currently uses VIA’ C7 processor) and low-cost desktops. Two families will be offered: The VIA Nano L-series will be intended for mainstream desktop and mobile PC systems and the low-voltage U-series will be used in small form factor desktop and ultra mobile devices (like the HP Mini-Note). Clock speeds range from 1.0GHz to 1.8GHz. Unlike the Intel Atom which uses a linear design, the VIA Nano will use a 64-bit superscalar speculative out-of-order microarchitecture. It may help it perform better than the Atom in some scenarios by allowing the processor to re-prioritize instruction sets. Other highlights include a 800MHz Front Side Bus, two 64KB L1 caches and 1MB exclusive L2 cache, advanced power and thermal management, and more.

VIA Technology did not disclose pricing on its new processor line. It is now available to device manufacturers and Nano-powered systems and devices should hit the market in Q3 2008.

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Apple iPhone headed to Hong Kong and Macau courtesy of 3

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May 292008
 

Apple iPhone

The press release speaks for itself:

Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited today announced that it has signed an agreement with Apple to bring the iPhone to Hong Kong and Macau later this year.

This marks the first iPhone announcement in a Chinese market.

Apple is widely expected to unveil the 3G iPhone at the WWDC which will run from June 9th to June 13th.

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No smartphone for Dell but other mobile devices not ruled out?

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May 282008
 

Dell

Buried in an interview with technology journalist Walt Mossberg during the “D: All Things Digital” media and technology conference currently taking place, Michael Dell indicated that Dell’s future mobile plans were not currently focused on mobile phones but rather on devices that were a little larger than a basic phone and smaller than a PC.

We already know that Dell is planning to release an Asus Eee competitor later this year. There’s little to go on here but just maybe MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices) are also in Dell’s future?

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HTC Raphael pictures surface

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May 282008
 

The HTC Raphael is what happens when you take an HTC Touch Diamond and add a slide-out keyboard to it. New pictures and details of it have now surfaced when T-Mobile Germany announced three new phones.

The HTC Raphael will hit Europe as the T-Mobile MDA Vario IV by the end of the summer. As with the HTC Touch Diamond, it will come with tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band HSDPA connectivity, a VGA touchscreen display, 256MB ROM, integrated GPS, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, an FM radio, a front facing VGA camera and a 3.2MP camera. It is expected to be powered by a 528MHz Qualcomm processor and Windows Mobile 6.1 (no word on the TouchFLO 3D interface though).

For the curious, the other two devices unveiled were the MDA Compact IV, the T-Mobile variant of the HTC Touch Diamond, and the T-Mobile Ameo 16GB, its variant of the HTC Advantage X7501.

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New details on upcoming Nova Palm OS

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May 282008
 

Palm

Today, Palm uses Windows Mobile and its own four year old Palm OS in its devices but that is expected to change in early 2009 when Palm finally releases its new operating system, codenamed Nova. In an interview with APC Magazine, Palm CEO Ed Colligan shared a few details about Nova and Palm’s strategy.

Nova is expected to be built on Linux and it promises more capabilities focused around the Internet and web-based applications. While the current Palm OS will continue to be offered in entry level devices (like the Centro), Nova will be aimed at ‘prosumers’ and will slot below Windows Mobile which Palm will continue to market to business users.

Like Apple is doing, Palm is looking at a strategy where it controls both the software and the hardware. “One of the things we wanted to do is to make sure that we had an end-to-end solution we really controlled and could deliver the end-user experience we want to deliver. We think it’s going to be stunning and breakthrough in its execution, and we’re working on some very exciting new devices to go with it,” said Colligan. Interestingly, Colligan promises that some devices will not be smartphones and that the canceled Foleo could make a comeback in the future (perhaps under a different brandname).

Hopefully Palm will soon show us exactly what Nova can do.

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