Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MSI Wind U100 Laptop

Ready to enjoy a mobile life that is as easy as a breeze? MSI Wind, best seller of the year 2008, now launches its new Wind U100 PLUS to extend the fever! Two brand new colors rose champagne and metallic blue together with three colors that never go out of style -Imperial Black, Angelic White and Regal Red- will definitely be your must-buy electronic gadgets of the year!

Retaining the handy and practical design concept of Wind U100, MSI U100 PLUS is powered by the latest Intel® Atom™ N280 processor, which not only enables better computing efficiency but also achieves lower power consumption. What’s more, the lightweight of Wind U100 PLUS (only 1kg), 10” LED backlight display, 802.11n WLAN and 1.3M built-in webcam make it the perfect companion of your work, travel and on the go. Why not get a U100 PLUS to capture every single moment of your life?

In addition to Imperial Black, Angelic White and Regal Red, two brand new colors, including Rose Champagne and Metallic Blue, are added to Wind U100 PLUS product line. More colors of the Wind bring more fun to your life!

Processor Intel® Atom™ Processor N280 1.66Ghz, 667MHz
Operation System Genuine Windows® XP Home
Chipset Intel®945GMS + ICH7M
Graphic GMA950
Memory DDR2 533 support up to 2 GB
LCD 10” 1024x600 LCD Panel
HDD 160 GB (2.5” SATA)
Card reader 4 in 1 (support SD,MMC,MS, MS Pro)
I/O D-sub*1 , USB 2.0*3 , Mic-in
Headphone, LAN
Battery 3 cells / 6 cells (optional)
Wireless 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth V2.0EDR
Webcam 1.3 Webcam
Sound HD Audio, Stereo speakers
Dimension 260*180*19-31.5mm
Weight ~1 Kg (including 3 cells battery)

Dell updated Studio 15 laptop

Dell sort of spoiled the surprise by dishing out some of the details about its updated Studio 15 laptop on its support site a full two months ago (not to mention that little business in Singapore), but the company has now finally gotten fully official with the laptop, and made it available in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. The big news with this update is a new and improved 15.6-inch LED-backlit display, which packs a native 1366 x 768 resolution, and gets paired with some upgraded ATI Mobility Radeon HD4570 graphics (available with 256MB or 512MB of on-board memory). Otherwise, you can expect the usual range of Core 2 Duo processors, a built-in 2 megapixel webcam, HDMI out, an optional Blu-ray drive, an optional backlit keyboard, and your choice of six colors, including the snazzy Black Chainlink design pictured above. This being the Studio series, you can also expect prices to remain at a reasonable $649 for the base model, with things moving up considerably from there if you opt for some of those aforementioned options.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New T-Mobile Sidekick LX

Manufactured by Sharp, the T-Mobile Sidekick LX 2009 is currently the thinnest Sidekick, measuring 5.1 inches wide by 2.3 inches high by 0.6 inch thick and weighing 6 ounces. Despite the slimmer design, according to T-Mobile, it has put the device through rigorous testing and found that it's four times more durable than previous versions. It definitely felt solid in hand; plus, the smartphone features a soft-touch finish to give it a nonslippery texture instead of slick, plasticky feel. There are also grooves on the back where you can rest your index fingers when holding the device. It doesn't seem like much, but it's a nice little touch that makes for a better ergonomic experience.

The smartphone will come in two colors: carbon or orchid. Also, if you're not a fan of the colors, you will be able to create custom shells for the Sidekick LX, much like the T-Mobile Sidekick 2008, and T-Mobile's even added the option of laser etching the case.

In addition to being the thinnest Sidekick, the Sidekick LX 2009 also boasts the largest and sharpest screen to date. Based on Sharp's Aquos technology, the WVGA display measures 3.2 inches with an 854x480-pixel resolution and swivels open to reveal the full QWERTY keyboard. The screen was indeed sharp and bright, and we've always been a fan of the Sidekick's keyboard. There's good spacing between the buttons and the quality feels better on the Sidekick LX. Other highlights include a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microSD expansion slot (phone ships with a 1GB microSD card), and mood/notification LEDs along the top edge of the screen.

In the past, we've been a little critical of T-Mobile for not adding enough features or enhancements to new models, but this isn't so much the case with the T-Mobile Sidekick LX 2009. To start, you get 3G support for faster Web browsing. It also nicely complements the browser's added Flash video support, so you can view sites like YouTube. Not only that, but you'll also be able to upload and share videos, even to MySpace, with the built-in 3.2-megapixel camera.

As always, the Sidekick LX plays for a younger crowd, so there's plenty of support for social networking applications. In addition to MySpace Mobile, the Sidekick LX now ships with Facebook and Twitter integration. Like previous versions, you get a dedicated T-mail e-mail address and support for POP3/IMAP accounts, but T-Mobile has also added Exchange ActiveSync support. While we don't expect to see too many corporate types toting the Sidekick, we appreciate the added functionality.

The quad-band phone also has built-in GPS with Microsoft Live Search, Bluetooth 2.0 (A2DP supported), Quick Find universal search, and AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo instant messaging clients. If anything, we would have liked to have seen some enhancements to the music player, which pretty much remains the same.

Overall, we liked what we saw of the T-Mobile Sidekick LX. The 3G and Flash support are huge and so is the Facebook and Twitter integration--should be a hit with its target audience. The phone won't win any beauty contests (there's something a little odd about it that I can't quite pinpoint), but again, the thinner design, the soft-touch finish, and finger grooves add up to a nice user experience. We're expecting to get a review unit before the national launch on May 13, so of course, we'll have a full review, video, and hands-on photos then.

In the meantime, you can check out some beauty shots of the T-Mobile Sidekick LX 2009 below. Also, for all those wondering about the April 21 private launch event in New York, it will be dedicated to the Sidekick LX and only the Sidekick LX, nothing else (read: no T-Mobile G2 yet. Sorry.) CNET TV's Natali del Conte will be at the event so check back later for video of the party and a closer look at the new Sidekick.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Samsung's self-encrypting SSDs

Samsung and Wave Offer Today's Mobile Professionals the Best Performance and Standards-Based Security in the Industry's First Self-Encrypting Solid State Drive (SSD)

Lee, MA and San Jose, CA-April 16, 2009-Wave Systems Corp. (NASDAQ: WAVX) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., have collaborated to give professionals on the go the ultimate in hard drive security. Along with blazing speed, ultra-fast boot-up and silent operation, Samsung's new self-encrypting SSDs automatically encrypt information as it's saved to the drive, an industry first for SSDs.

Full disk encryption (FDE) has already been adopted as a standard feature available in many commercial laptop and desktop systems with hard disk drives. Samsung self-encrypting drives – 256-, 128- and 64-gigabyte SSDs – provide FDE bundled with Wave's EMBASSY® management software and are now available through at least one major OEM.

"Samsung has combined the tremendous performance advantages of solid state technology with integrated hardware encryption for drives designed especially for today's 'road warrior' professionals," said Jim Elliott, memory vice president, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. "Business users now get the best of performance and security in a single drive. "

Solid state drives offer numerous advantages over traditional platter hard drives. SSD performance is not impacted by FDE, a drawback frequently seen with today's HDDs that use software FDE. Also, because they have no moving parts and are based around flash memory, the SSDs are far less prone to reliability issues caused by bumps and bounces from normal notebook PC use, and from excessive heat generation. They additionally boast two to five times faster overall performance, including boot-up time and application launching, as well as longer battery life in notebook PCs. Samsung self-encrypting SSDs will be available in both 1.8" and 2.5" form factors; the 1.8" being the world's first encrypted storage drive of this size. Flash memory also retains data even when the power is turned off, enabling "near-instant" turn on for the user's system, and they don't require "spin up" time that drains batteries.

Samsung's new 256GB, 128GB, and 64GB SSDs are the first solid state drives to incorporate hardware-based encryption, which has made headlines in recent weeks with publication of the industry's Opal storage specification published by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG). Benefits of hardware encryption over today's software-only encryption approaches include faster performance, better security and an "always on" feature. Because encryption keys and access credentials are generated and stored within the drive hardware, they never leave its confines and are never held in the operating system or by application software. This hardware FDE approach is considered more secure and less complex to manage.

"Samsung is breaking new ground in performance and security with its solid state FDE drives," said Steven Sprague, Wave's president and CEO. "Whether it's with cars or computers, many people will always demand the very best in performance and Samsung is delivering on that promise. With self-encrypting drives, users have the peace of mind that whatever's on the drive-credit card numbers, medical records, sensitive personal data or intellectual property is always protected."

Each Samsung self-encrypting SSD, when ordered in a new computer, now comes bundled with Wave's EMBASSY® Trusted Drive Manager for complete life cycle management of the drive including pre-boot authentication to the drive and enrolling drive administrators and users. Trusted Drive Manager also enables the backup of drive credentials.

Available separately, Wave's EMBASSY® Remote Administration Server allows an IT administrator to remotely turn on each solid state drive in seconds and provides detailed event logs for compliance to prove that the security settings were in place when a loss or theft occurs. Plus, Wave's single management server solution can provide streamlined administration and policy management capable of supporting all commercially available TPMs and FDE drives (as well as Opal-compliant drives now in development), along with SafeNet's ProtectDriveTM software FDE. Because encryption is turned on "out of the box," there is generally no learning curve for the end user or IT support staff.

Dell Vostro A90 repriced

Dell's 8.9-inch Vostro A90, the Mini 9 with an identity crisis, has now hit stateside with a starting price of $349, about one-third the price of its Japanese counterpart. As you can probably guess, it sports a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270, up to 1GB RAM and 16GB SSD, Intel GMA950 graphics, 802.11g, 0.3 megapixel webcam, 4-cell battery, and Windows XP Home Edition -- sorry, no option for Linux here, but you can still order the Mini 9 if you want that option, a brighter color scheme, or a smaller bill.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Speedo Aquabet underwater MP3 player

Another Spring, another opportunity for iriver Japan and Speedo to sell a few MP3 players designed for underwater use. Yes friends, the Aquabeat you've grown to know, love and disassociate with overly tight swim trunks has a successor, the Speedo LZR Racer. Design wise, you won't notice a lot of differentiation from the first, but this waterproof-to-three-meters device has twice the internal memory (2GB) and a built-in rechargeable battery good for around eight hours of continuous playback. It's said to be shipping now in Japan for ¥12,800 ($128), though we hear it won't be coming to America without first nailing down a Michael Phelps endorsement. Not that said task will be too tough or anything.

Nikon D5000

Nikon Inc. today introduced the new D5000, a digital SLR camera with a host of features and capabilities that deliver superior performance and image quality along with amazing versatility for photo enthusiasts and those new to digital SLR photography. Leveraging Nikon's expertise and innovative technologies found in its pro-level D-SLRs, the 12.3-megapixel D5000 enables users to capture exceptionally stunning images and High Definition video with remarkable ease.

Whether consumers are progressing from a point-and-shoot digital camera or looking to upgrade their current digital SLR and elevate their photographic expression, the D5000 serves as an ideal solution. First time D-SLR photographers will appreciate logical and easy-to-use controls, while creative enthusiasts will appreciate the D5000's robust combination of features, technologies and performance. The D5000 boasts a versatile 2.7-inch Vari-angle LCD monitor that encourages shooting with a fresh perspective, Nikon's revolutionary D-Movie Mode and expanded automatic Scene Modes, delivering superior Nikon innovation in a compact, user-friendly design.

"The Nikon D5000 represents a cornerstone in Nikon's D-SLR line, marrying simplicity and instructive features with superior technology and HD video, allowing the user's ability and creativity to grow-with the camera," said Edward Fasano, General Manager for marketing, SLR System Products at Nikon Inc. "While its easy-to-use design will attract first-time D-SLR photographers, the D5000's rich feature set and high performance will also appeal immediately to more experienced enthusiasts. The D5000 is sure to inspire creativity and originality."

Broadened Creativity and Adaptability

Photographers can easily compose stunning images on the Vari-angle LCD monitor that they can view in a normal position fitting securely within the camera back, or swung out to be rotated or tilted. The monitor can also be stowed with the LCD panel tucked against the camera back to protect the screen when not in use. This tremendous freedom of movement, along with four Live View autofocus shooting modes, affords users the opportunity to shoot from a multitude of imaginative angles. Easy one-button Live View activation now features Subject Tracking autofocus (AF), which automatically locks onto a moving subject. Even if the subject leaves the frame and returns, Subject Tracking AF maintains focus, making the D5000 ideal for capturing fast moving children and pets. In addition to Subject Tracking AF in Live View, the D5000 features Face Priority AF, which automatically detects up to five faces in a scene and focuses on the closest subject; Wide Area AF, which offers a large AF area for optimal hand-held shooting; and Normal Area AF, which provides pinpoint accuracy when shooting with a tripod.

The D5000's D-Movie Mode allows users the exciting ability to record HD movie clips (1280 x 720) at a cinematic 24 frames per second with sound. Photographers will appreciate the quality produced whether creating vacation clips or intertwining still photographs and movies in a post-production creative montage. Additionally, the D5000 is compatible with a comprehensive assortment of AF-S NIKKOR interchangeable lenses to provide users with the ability to capture perspectives not possible with typical consumer video recording devices. When using any NIKKOR VR lens, D-Movie clips benefit from Nikon VR image stabilization, which automatically activates during recording to deliver added sharpness and image stability. VR image stabilization also extends the D5000's performance in low-light situations. D-Movie clips are recorded onto an inserted SD or SDHC memory card and saved as Motion JPEG AVI files for easy editing with widely available video editing software.

Further bridging the gap between point-and-shoot cameras and more advanced D-SLRs are the D5000's 19 automatic Scene Modes, which free users to capture beautiful images without having to manually adjust camera settings. With the broad range of automatic Scene Modes, including Sports, Portrait, Candlelight, Silhouette, Autumn Colors and more, D5000 is the perfect camera for anyone looking to make inspiring images in challenging photographic conditions.

The D5000 also incorporates a comprehensive set of in-camera editing features to make the most of captured images without the need of a computer. The D5000 also introduces several new Retouch features, including a Soft Filter effect, which applies a smooth appearance to faces or the entire image; Perspective Control, which helps correct distortions in perspective often encountered in photographs of architecture; and Color Outline, which creates monochrome outlines of objects in images by eliminating color and tonal gradations. The D5000 saves each of these edited images as a separate JPEG file, ensuring the original image is left unmodified. With Nikon's exclusive Picture Control Settings, photographers can quickly select various image appearance profiles that include Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape settings. In addition, Picture Control provides the ability to create and store up to nine user-defined custom profiles to reflect each user's personal preferences for hue, color saturation and image sharpening.

Extensive playback options allow users to review their photos in groups of four, nine, or 72 thumbnail images. Alternatively, users can select the Calendar View to easily group and select images by date. These playback features can be viewed either on the Vari-angle LCD or an HDTV with HDMI connectivity available via a dedicated HDMI port on the camera.

Proven Image Excellence

Consumers will immediately appreciate the benefits of the D5000's 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor coupled with Nikon's exclusive EXPEED™ image processing system, which delivers highly detailed images with vibrant color reproduction and low noise across a broad ISO range. The D5000's normal ISO range extends from ISO 200 to 3200, allowing for superior shooting in low-light conditions. Additionally, the D5000's ISO range can be expanded to a Lo 1 setting of ISO 100 or a Hi 1 setting of ISO 6400, furthering the opportunities for previously impossible shots.

Nikon's exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II, in conjunction with the EXPEED image processing system, contributes to the D5000's ability to capture breathtaking images by instantly evaluating the exposure elements of each scene and comparing it to an onboard database of information from more than 30,000 images. These split-second calculations allow the D5000 to ensure the right exposure-even when conditions are extreme. To push creative boundaries even further, the D5000 allows picture-takers to also use Center-Weighted and Spot metering for added personal control.

Smooth, Swift and Quiet Operation

The D5000's 11-point auto focus system utilizes Nikon's exclusive Scene Recognition System with Face Detection to help create the best possible images in a variety of shooting environments. Nikon's 11-point AF offers best-in-class speed and accuracy, helping to ensure sharp focus, shot-after-shot. Single-point AF is suggested for static subjects, Dynamic-area AF for moving subjects, Auto-area AF for spontaneous shooting and 3D-tracking with 11 AF points for maintaining accurate focus on a subject moving throughout the frame.

Paired with Nikon's AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR image stabilization lens and the ability to shoot at four frames per second, the D5000 easily captures moments other cameras miss. Nikon's VR image stabilization lenses reduce the blurring in images due to camera shake, allowing photographers to shoot hand-held at as many as three full stops slower than would otherwise be possible.*

The new D5000 also features the innovative Integrated Dust Reduction System, which offers both an electronic sensor cleaning when the camera is powered on and/or off and the Airflow Control System, which directs dust away from the sensor with every snap of the shutter. These functions work to clear image-degrading dust from the sensor's optical low-pass filter, helping to ensure spot-free images. In addition, the D5000 features a Quiet Release Mode that reduces the mirror cycling noise for discreet shooting in sensitive situations, such as weddings and other ceremonies.

System Expandability

Photographers and enthusiasts alike can also appreciate the D5000's system expandability, as the camera can work in conjunction with a variety of Nikon accessories including a broad assortment of NIKKOR AF-S interchangeable lenses. While the D5000 offers a versatile built-in flash, the camera is also compatible with Nikon's Creative Lighting System and capable of Advanced Wireless Lighting when using the SB-900 Speedlight or the SU-800 Wireless Commander. For those looking to document their photo excursions with geo-tagging, the D5000 is compatible with the optional GP-1 GPS Unit, which automatically records latitude, longitude, altitude and time information when a picture is taken.

The D5000 also works seamlessly with Nikon's powerful Capture NX 2 image editing software (available for purchase separately), for more advanced photographers seeking greater control over their post-capture images. Capture NX 2 simplifies the path to beautiful images with easy-to-learn editing tools and a highly versatile and elegantly simple interface, which streamline editing procedures.

Price and Availability

The D5000 outfit, which includes the AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens, will be available at Nikon Authorized dealers beginning in late April 2009 at an estimated selling price of $849.95**. For consumers who want to configure their D5000 system or for photographers who need an additional D-SLR body for an existing system, the D5000 will also be offered as a body only for an estimated selling price of $729.95. For more information, please visit www.nikonusa.com.