If you have been keeping your eye out for a UMPC that doesn’t seem like it will suck, keep an eye on the Averatec AHI. While other manufacturers are designing UMPCs that look pretty much the same, Averatec is mixing it up a bit. Most other UMPCs have 7-inch touch screens, while the AHI has a smaller 5-inch touch screen. With a 7-inch screen, the complaint arises that the device is hard pressed to be considered “ultra-mobile.” Averatec’s approach solves that. In fact, it seems to solve a host of complaints that many have had with other UMPC devices. For example, located directly under the screen is a slide out keyboard. The device also boasts a SXGA 1280 X 1024 display. Connectivity will not be a problem, as it has integrated Bluetooth, Ethernet, 802.11g WiFi, and a dial-up modem. Even better, it should also have 3G functionality, and a GPS receiver as well. A 2 megapixel camera, 2 USB ports, and an SD/MMC slot add to the ultra-portable goodness.
For those that want to use their new UMPC for fun, the AHI boasts a dock that gives it DVD functionality. All these innovative features come at a cost - the Averatec UMPC will not be running the special version of Windows designed for UMPCs; it will be running the Tablet PC version of Windows instead. You can expect to see the AHI by Christmas. Pricing is not yet known, but it’s expected to be available in multiple configurations in the $600-1100 range.
Read More | The Register
You may have heard about Modeo, the US company pushing for the DVB-H TV standard. DVB-H is one of many new standards to transfer TV signals to wireless portable devices. The new smartphone boasts Windows Mobile 5, and will be capable of receiving live TV in the new format. With an Nvidia GoForce 5500 graphics chip and an on-board electronic program guide, this handset is packing plenty of TV watching power. This handset also boasts a 200MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 850 processor, 128 MB of Flash ROM, 64MB of SDRAM, a 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 1.2, and a Micro SD expansion slot. Whether or not Modeo will allow shows to be recorded to memory is still unknown. This new handset seems to be troubled with the power issues that most smartphone devices have. Even with an 1150mAh battery, only 3 hours TV viewing time, 4 hours talk time, or 6 days of standby mode are achieved. Modeo is currently working on putting the necessary hardware in place to be able to broadcast shows to the handset. They plan on putting up towers in several major cities in 2006, and by 2007 they hope to be rolling out the mobile TV goodness everywhere. It will be interesting to see if Modeo plans to make money off of the handset, or off of a possible content subscription service. Pricing is not yet set, but we will keep you posted on this extraordinary handset.
Read More | Reg Hardware
It seems that even though digital reading devices have not gained popularity since the inception of the e-text, Sony is willing to give eBooks another chance. The Sony Reader PRS-500 will debut in Borders and more than 30 Sony Style stores around the United States, as well as online. The device will be about the size of a paperback novel, but is considerably thinner at about a half inch thick. Sony will allow users to carry as much reading material as they like by including both Memory Stick and Secure Digital flash memory slots. Content will not be limited to only eBooks either - Sony plans on allowing Adobe® PDF documents, BBeB Books, and other text file formats to be placed on the Reader. These electronic reading devices have historically not been very popular, but perhaps this time around Sony will get it right.
Read More | Sony Style
It looks as though Samsung will be one of the first companies to have an Ultra Mobile PC available for purchase. We gave you insight into the UMPC just a few weeks ago, and with products about to hit the shelves, it’ll be interesting to see if they fly, or flop. Granted, they’re very cool from a gadget standpoint as they do a little bit of everything, but that may be the whole crux of the problem. Devices that do a bit of everything tend to not do any of them really well, and turn out to be rather mediocre as a whole. Somehow this smacks of the Tablet PC all over again in that there isn’t a strong market for the product (even less so with the UMPC), but I digress . . . on with the show.
Expansys has the Samsung Q1 UMPC up for pre-order for £799.95 (~ $1,390 USD). The specifications are what you’d expect of an “everything but the kitchen sink” type of device. Running a Celeron M ULV CPU at 900MHz, it comes with 512MB RAM, a 7” WVGA LCD (800x480), Bluetooth, GPS, Wireless (802.11 a/b/g), and more. About the only thing missing would be some form of high speed data like UMTS or EVDO, but that was never in the design specs anyway.
Full specifications after the jump.
The Archos AV700 handheld video device is the first to sport two DTT tuners. With 40 GB of hard drive space, the device is capable of recording 35 hours of digital TV programs. The DVR software records shows to the hard drive in MPEG-2 TS format. There is also onboard scheduling software, allowing you to look through an episode guide so that you won’t miss a show. Archos designed this device for the road, and claims that TV can be viewed in the car while traveling up to 80 mph - something that isn’t possible with standard single-antenna DTT receivers. The AV700 also comes with the Mophun mobile phone games engine, but the focus here is truly on video. The device is also capable of playing MP3, WMA, and WAV files. All of this mobile media goodness comes with a pretty steep price tag though, as the AV700 is expected to retail at about $841.00. Detailed specifications after the jump.
Read More | RegHardware
It’s a shock, we know. As it turns out, those Hollywood movie releases that have been released on UMD over the past year or so? It seems no one is interested in buying them. While we are not sure if this is a surprise to anyone buy Sony, it just makes sense to us that the media would sell poorly. I mean, why would I buy a movie that I can only play on one dedicated device - especially when that device isn’t my television? If Sony was smart about the whole idea, they would have done a bit more planning. If I buy Spider-Man: The Movie, I want the game in there as well. Or vice versa. Otherwise, I am buying the DVD and ripping it to my Memory Stick. Anyways, expect to see Wal-Mart drop shelf space for UMDs altogether very soon. Even better, know that Universal and Paramount Pictures have already stopped UMD production.
Read More | Playfeed
With Windows Mobile 5.0 released, and with Windows Mobile 2003 still around, many people have discovered that Windows Media Player for Windows Mobile has some flaws. With Windows Media Player (WMP) unable to play .divx files or .ogg files, many users are left needing software capable of features that WMP does not offer. Enter Beta Player, free software for your Windows Mobile device that can do all the things WMP can not and then some.
Supported file containers:
- AVI (*.avi)
- Matroska (*.mkv, *.mka)
- MP4 (*.mp4, *.m4a)
- Ogg Media (*.ogg, *.ogm)
- ASF (*.asf)
Supported audio codecs:
- Mpeg 1 Layer III
- Ogg Vorbis
- Windows Media Audio (on Windows Mobile devices)
- Adpcm, uLaw
Supported video codecs:
- MPEG4-SP (plus B-frame support)
- Windows Media Video (on Windows Mobile devices)
Beta Player is considered open source software, and has a very active community. It’s also available for a variety of different devices, so even if you don’t have a Windows Mobile device, you can still usethe product. I personally use Beta Player on my Windows Mobile device, the software was easy to install, and I have experienced no issues with it.
Read More | Beta Player
We have received a few messages over the past month or so where you readers have been asking about the thinness of the Motorola Q. We know that telling you the dimensions, which happen to be 4.57” x 2.52” x 0.47”, may not exactly make it easy to visualize in your head. To compare it to a phone that is out and available, we took the Motorola Q that we went hands-on with and put it next to the Motorola SLVR. Now, the SLVR is insanely thin, but as you can see in the image above, the Q definitely holds its own in the size area. We will give you more on the Q and the SLVR soon on The Bleeding Edge.
Sony is finally starting to make it somewhat easily to get TV and DVD video onto our PSPs. They have just introduced their MSVR-A10 digital video recorder which records television, DVD, and whatever else you can connect to it’s composite and S-video inputs, and puts the content right onto a Memory Stick Pro Duo. Put the Memory Stick into your PSP, and you are good to go. No need to wait hours on end for last week’s Lost to finish downloading over BitTorrent. This one should hit retail in April at a price of $215 USD.
Read More | Memory Stick Recorder
Be prepared for what will surely be an onslaught of peripherals for Microsoft’s Ultra-Mobile PC platform. Eleksen, makers of fabric-based interface devices, has introduced a trio of products aimed at users of the new UMPCs. Bluetooth and USB-equipped keyboards will be available, as will a carrying case that has a keyboard and other controls integrated into it’s soft exterior. The keyboards are designed around Eleksen’s ElekTex technology, which allows touch sensitive interfaces to be placed in a variety of textiles. The Bluetooth keyboard even has drivers to allow its use with smartphones and PDAs, further broadening its usefulness.
Flexible keyboards may be nothing new, but with Eleksen’s products being incorporated into textiles, the possibilities are just about limitless. In fact, the company also has their interface technology designed into jackets (the Kenpo iPod jacket), backpacks and other items that have controls for audio players built right in.
Read More | Eleksen
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