USA Today has a brief interview with the main man at Microsoft. It’s really amazing how much we depend on our PC for all our gear. Anyway, no new information regarding the XBox2, but he does offer some interesting scenarios on the future of video playback, along with why he supports the subscription-based model for digital music. Oh, and there’s no portable XBox in the works, but I guess that’s what our Pocket PC’s are for.
Read More | USA Today
VoIP provider Vonage said Wednesday it has signed up 400,000 subscribers for its Internet telephoning service, more than doubling its base in less than six months. This helps bring more credibility to the young VoIP market. Vonage has plans to release a VoIP Wi-Fi phone in the near future, making it easy to recieve and make calls whenever you are near a wireless hotspot. If there were more wireless hotspots available in the United States, this would become a very viable means of communication.
Read More | TechWeb
Check it out, instead of Rio letting the details on the much anticipated Chroma out of the bag, they instead made two small product announcements. First, the Rio ce2100. This player is said to be of a similar design as the Carbon, but with 2.5 GB of disc space. This makes it half the size of the Carbon, but it’s only $50 less. Yippee. They also let it be known that the Rio Carbon will soon be available in a pearl white color. No changes as far as hardware goes. Not that exciting. It would have been nice to hear about more than these simple “Carbon copies”. Heh.
We knew this day would come, but who thought it would come so soon? Hitachi has announced the first half-terabyte hard drive for the consumer. After Hitachi released its first 400 gigabyte drive before any other company, they now also become the first company to release the 500 gigabyte 3.5” desktop drive. These drives can be seen in any of the increasingly common uses for a large quantity storage drive in the household today, such as PVR machines and stereo systems. The 500 gigabyte drive hopes to be released in the first quarter of 2005.
Read More | CNN Money
Sony has created a new PDA, the Sony Clie VZ-90 using OLED (organic light emitting diode. OLEDs are made from organic material and are lighter, faster, thinner, and have better contrast than LCD’s while using less juice). The 3.8” 480x320 screen has a 1000:1 contrast ratio, check that number again, 1000 1 and 3 zeros. The buttons and controls slide out along the horizontal base of the unit, and can be hidden when not in use. Additional features include integrated stereo speaker, a CF slot, memory stick slot, wifi, IrDA and will play MPEG4 video, MP3 and ATRAC3 audio. It is just a shade over 4 inches wide, and 3 inches long and under an inch thick. It weighs a little more then half a pound. It will run smoothly with the included 64 mb of RAM and 128mb of flash, with a little of each given over to the operating system. According to Palm Infocenter, “Sony has announced they will no longer market or release handhelds for the US and European markets.” I guess this means even if you would part with the $820 dollars for a new PDA you would have to take courses in Japanese to use it.
Read More | Palm Infocenter
How would you like to be able to buy a flat panel TV that costs less than a Plasma or LCD, and has a better picture? Various companies are trying to perfect the technology that will rely on diamonds or carbon nanotubes to produce images. This type of display would also consume less energy than today’s TV’s. As quoted from the article:
“The concept of a nanotube TV will give you image quality similar to CRTs (cathode ray tubes), and the best image quality is still found on CRT TVs,” said Tom Pitstick, vice president of marketing at Houston’s Carbon Nanotechnologies. “All the major display manufacturers are looking at nanotube TVs.”
The article goes into depth on how the technology works. A recommended read for all you TV buffs.
Read More | ZDNet
Samsung announced Tuesday that it had developed the largest single-panel active matrix-based organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display for TVs. Recently, Phillips had that claim with it’s 20 inch screen. Samsung’s 21 inch OLED display offers brightness of 400 nits, a contrast ratio of 5000:1, and color gamut of 75, making the product ideal for viewing HD-resolution video images.
Read More | EE Times
Did you know that optical is different from laser? Anyways, Logitech is looking to pair up their laser mouse with a keyboard for a cordless mouse-keyboard bundle. The relatively new laser tracking technology is the result of an alliance between Logitech, the world’s No. 1 manufacturer of mice, and Agilent Technologies, the leader in mouse tracking technology. The nearly singular wavelength of a laser’s light is capable of revealing much greater surface detail than the red LED found in optical mice, in fact 20 times more detail. As a result, the laser can track reliably even on tricky polished or wood-grain surfaces. The mouse and keyboard package will be available in Europe around March, and here in the US by April, retailing for $149.
Looks like Virgin and Tapwave are taking steps to establish a bigger presence in the portable audio market. Today’s announcement from the CES Show floor indicates that the two are working together to pair up the Virgin music download service with the versatile handheld, which through the help of SD cards, could store up to 2GB of music. Details are still unclear as to how the two devices will work seamlessly, but I can imagine an option on the Virgin service that allows transfers directly to the SD card, with minimal mouse-clicks. Virgin’s downloadable songs are going for $.99 each, while the Zodiac sells for $269.
Last week, we asked you to let us know what you felt were the best tech items in a few key categories. You responded, letting us know what you felt outshined the rest as far as audio, home entertainment, video games, and cell phones. One person even walked away with a free Logitech MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse courtesy of PrizeCube (congrats b_culbert!). You even gave us what you felt was the best item of the year. Full results after the jump.