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Toshiba VARDIA

Under the cateogry of “more hardware we’ll never see in the US”, comes Toshiba’s newest home media recorders the RD-XD72D and the RD-XD92D.  Beyond having names that sound like droids from Star Wars, the only major difference between the two units is 400GB and 600GB of capacity respectively.  Both models feature the ability to record two broadcasts at once, have an HDMI output, FireWire, Dolby Digital, DTS, and a slew of DVD recording formats which include DVD-RAM/R/RW/DL.  Also available is an ethernet port for downloading the EPG where available.

Toshiba VARDIA Back

Read More | Toshiba via Akihabara News


Gear Live Bleeding EdgeIn this special episode, we sit down with Microsoft’s Peter Moore and hit him with questions about the Xbox 360. We sat with Chris from The Chris Pirillo Show, and of course, Andru, Jake, and Jesse of the Gear Live crew. We cover such topics as:

  • Lumines Live
  • Xbox Live Vision Camera
  • Xbox 360’s lack of motion control
  • Xbox Live Anywhere
  • Games for Windows
  • HD DVD Player
  • PS3 built to drive Blu-Ray format

We want to thank Peter Moore for taking the time to sit with us for this interview session.

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Nintendo WiiWith Nintendo’s press conference underway for their new console system, the Wii, details are beginning to emerge as to its capabilities.  It’s not about the graphical prowess of the system as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PS3 certainly have the Wii beat in that area, but more importantly it’s about gameplay.  After all, if a game is no fun to play, then no amount of killer graphics or surround sound is going to save a game.

Undoubtedly the main draw for Wii is a new kind of controller that permits real interaction with the games.  Not just some games, but every title released for the Wii will take advantage of Wii’s motion sensing remote.  From controlling Mario as he zips along in Super Mario Galaxy, to swinging a sword in Zelda: Twilight Princess, or to throwing Hail Mary passes in Madden 2007, the Wii’s controller adds a new level of immersion to gaming.

As for the name change from “Revolution” to “Wii”?  Well, Nintendo insists that change is good, and if the Wii’s controller is any indication, the arguably unpopular name won’t stop them from stealing sales in droves from Microsoft and Sony.

Nintendo is not releasing pricing information at this time, but has said that the Wii will be available for purchase Q4 2006.

Read More | Playfeed

Nintendo E3 Briefing

If you are looking for information on what is going on at the Nintendo E3 Press Breifing, look no further than Playfeed. We are here live, and we are bringing you our thoughts along with a running timeline of the event. Interested? Check it out here.

Read More | Playfeed


Intel Core 2 Duo

We have been really feeling what Intel has been doing of late in the dual-core processor world. The Core Duo chips have been fantastic in our eyes, running both in our MacBook Pro and Lenovo portables. Yesterday, Intel announced the official name of the next-generation Conroe and Merom dual-core processors “Core 2 Duo.” Going further, for all the gamers out there feeling left out in the cold with no dual-core love, Intel will be releasing the “Core 2 Extreme” chip - and this one is aimed right at you guys.

Read More | eWeek

Windows VistaResearch firm Gartner Group has released their findings that indicate Microsoft may have to delay the launch of Windows Vista even longer than previously planned.  They point to Microsoft’s past track record for major operating systems as a major indicator of the rocky road ahead for the software maker.  If Microsoft still plans on a November 2006 release for their corporate customers, there’s a little over five months to release Beta 2 and any Release Cantidates.  Gartner indicates that sixteen months transpired between Beta 2 and the final release for Windows 2000, and they believe that Vista will require at least nine to twelve months to complete.  However, they do believe that regardless of any problems encountered, Microsoft’s fiscal year end in June 2007 would pressure them to release Vista no later than April to June of that same year.

Microsoft countered by

telling Gartner to go shove their opinions where . . .

saying that they “remain on track to deliver Windows Vista Beta 2 in the second quarter and to deliver the final product to volume license customers in November 2006 and to other businesses and consumers in January 2007”.  Better internal processes for handling feedback and bug reports are pointed to as aids in accomplishing what Gartner believes can’t be done.  A Microsoft spokesperson said “The changes we’ve made have allowed us to deliver a more complete test version of the product to customers earlier than ever before and to incorporate more timely and relevant feedback faster, and they will enable us to deliver the highest quality operating system ever built.”

Our take on the situation?  While we hope that Microsoft can stick to its stated release schedule, we don’t want them to sacrifice quality simply to meet a deadline.

Read More | Computerworld

Anycom Bluetooth nanoWhen you’ve got a sleek, lightweight audio player like the iPod nano, you don’t want to clutter it up with all kinds of bulky or cumbersome attachments.  That’s why the ANYCOM Bluetooth adapter, dubbed the BluNa, is so nice.  Weighing only 10 grams, the BluNa slips onto the bottom of the nano, adding a negligible amount of length, and provides Bluetooth audio support in the form of A2DP and AVRCP profiles.  The BluNa gets its power from the nano, which is good for weight savings, but will diminish your battery life to some degree.

Available in June 2006 for approximately $100 USD.

Read More | ANYCOM via I4U News

TORQ N100The new TORQ N100 from Sound Solutions is a well rounded WM5 mobile phone that features not only quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900MHz), but a SiRF Star III GPS as well.  You won’t find an Intel XScale processor in the N100, which probably explains it’s fairly decent battery life of 3.5-4 hours talk time and 10-15 hours PocketPC usage.  Instead, a Samsung CPU running at 400MHz fulfills all computational duties.  Other features include a reasonable amount of memory with 128MB ROM and 64MB RAM, a 2.8-inch TFT LCD touchscreen at 240x320, Bluetooth v1.2, a 1.3-megapixel camera, and a mini-SD card slot. 

Notable by their absence is any form of broadband be it Wi-Fi, EDGE or UMTS.  A real shame considering the TORQ N100 has just about everything else.  Okay, a VGA screen would be nice if we’re being picky, and well, we are.

The TORQ N100 will be available May 2006 with pricing TBA.

Read More | Sound Solutions via GPS News

Horseman 3D

What goes around, comes around they say, and Komamura seems intent on bringing stereo photography back to the mainstream.  Okay, so it’ll never be mainstream, and there are still stereo cameras on the market so it’s not entirely new again, but most stereo cameras are cheaply built, with cheap lenses.  By contrast the Horseman 3D is a stereo camera that features two 38mm f/2.8 Fujinon lenses which share a single shutter.  A prototype was unveiled a few months ago, and the company has recently released news of a summer 2006 debut.  The price certainly isn’t for the budget-minded at a rumored $5,000 USD.

Read More | Komamura via The Online Photographer

SketchUp White House

Last month Google acquired @Last Software, makers of a neat piece of software called SketchUp.  SketchUp is a 3D modeling tool that is simple enough for just about anyone to use, yet offers powerful tools for professionals as well.  Speculation about SketchUp’s future pricing began the moment news of the acquisition was released, and true to Google’s track record, there’s now a free version of the software.  The free version, entitled Google SketchUp, is licensed only for non-commercial use and is missing a few features compared to the standard version, which is now called SketchUp Pro and provides the full feature set and naturally the full price tag of $495 USD. 

Sure, there are differences between the free and Pro versions, but for someone just looking to dabble with 3D modeling, or thinking about creating some buildings for Google Earth, the free version will do nicely.  The differences are summed up as:
• Pro users are able to print and export raster images at higher-than-screen resolution.

• Pro users have access to the following 3D export formats: DWG, DXF, 3DS, OBJ, XSI, VRML and FBX.

• Pro users are able to export animations and walkthroughs as MOV (Mac) or AVI (Windows) files.

• Pro users get the Sandbox Tools (for organic modeling of terrain, etc) and the Film & Stage Tools (for pre-viz work).

• Pro users have access to free email tech support for two years after they buy SketchUp Pro.

• Finally, only SketchUp Pro is approved for commercial use; the Free version is licensed for personal use only.

Currently available only for Windows-based machines, a Mac version is in the works.

Read More | Google SketchUp via Ars Technica