Friday, November 07, 2008

Ericsson: 20 megapixel cellphones shooting Full HD video in 4 years


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It's tough to predict the future, especially with cutbacks to R&D budgets in the face of a global economic slowdown. Still, it's always nice to see a forward-looking corporate-slide related to mobile handsets from the taller, blonder half of that Sony Ericsson partnership. LTE and fast CPUs are certainly no surprise, nor is that 1,024 x 768 XGA screen resolution that Japan's superphones are already bumping up against. The most compelling vision is that of the embedded camera sensors: 12-20 megapixels capable of recording Full HD video by 2012. Adding more fuel to firey speculation that handsets are about to find themselves embroiled in a megapixel war. Fine by us, just as long the optics and image processing are there to support such a resolution. Even though 12-20 megapixels seems high compared to the 5-8 megapixel cell phones we see today, those numbers are entirely within reason when you recall that Samsung hit 10 megapixels in Korea two years ago. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised in the least to find Ericsson's mythical device on the market well prior to 2012. Combined, these features certainly make for a tantalizing glimpse at the wireless handset future.

Ericsson: 20 megapixel cellphones shooting Full HD video in 4 years originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 Nov 2008 05:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds! .

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Swann's MovieStick begs to be used for nefarious ends


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With all the layoffs we've been seeing lately, it looks like an increasing number of tech professionals will be going mercenary in order to pay the bills. Of course, Engadget does not condone industrial espionage in any way, shape or form -- but if you do happen to find yourself "in the cold," as Le Carré used to say, you might consider Swann's MovieStick. This thing is small enough to fit inside a packet of gum, includes a lithium-ion battery (rechargeable via USB) and can store up to 2.5 hours of video on a 2GB MicroSD card (not included). There is no word yet on release date, video quality or battery life, but we're sure that this $119.99 (retail) beauty is just the trick for all those patented industrial processes you plan on stealing. But don't steal them. For realz.

Swann's MovieStick begs to be used for nefarious ends originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 Nov 2008 07:23:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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JVC, Sensio team up on high-end consumer 3D projection system


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Far from being the first (or second, or third) partnership aimed at getting 3D in the home, JVC and Sensio have jointly chosen EHX Fall 2008 to announce their loving new union. By joining forces, they're purporting to introduce the "very first high-end 3D solution available on the consumer market." Granted, this so-called solution won't be cheap nor simple, as it will require a pair of JVC's costly D-ILA projectors and a media server integrating Sensio's 3D decoding technology. At the show, the pair demonstrated the forthcoming system by utilizing two $9,000 (yes, each) DLA-RS2 beamers (pictured), though it's never stated whether or not any gaudy goggles are required for visualizing the third-dimension. At any rate, the kit won't be available until sometime in 2009, but it's quite possible we'll get a sneak peek at CES in January.

[Via Electronic House]

JVC, Sensio team up on high-end consumer 3D projection system originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 Nov 2008 16:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dealzmodo Hack: Cooked Software Revives HTC Phones [Upgrade Your Smartphone]


HTC has always known their biggest weakness: Windows Mobile. They've done their best to hide the aged interface in glossy costumes and bolster performance, but they can only do so much—the OS is slow, buggy and can drain battery life on certain hardware. Luckily, Windows Mobile responds well to per-device modification. A dedicated community of hackers called XDA has built a collection of streamlined, debugged, turbocharged OS builds (or ROMs) to resuscitate your flagging HTC phone, along with some less daunting smartphone tweaks for the weaker stomached.

Now, it bears mentioning that HTC is pretty diligent about updating their phones, releasing driver and software updates to improve performance when necessary. Problem is, these updates don't usually trickle down through the cellular providers, leaving most users stuck with the first (and only) generation of the phone's branded—and sometimes crippled— software. Thanks to XDA, most users can switch to an up-to-date OS, with a variety of extra tweaks added at the discretion of the community.

What do you stand to gain from upgrading your ROM?

  • Better battery life
  • Faster performance, especially in TouchFLO 3D
  • Stronger reception
  • Quicker, less laggy GPS locking and tracking
  • Bundles of useful software, included updated, faster Opera browser
  • Reenabling carrier-chopped features such as tethering, HDSPA

Popular phones best suited for upgrade:

The prospect of upgrading your phone's entire OS might sound intimidating, but the XDA community has provided GUI tools for each step. The procedure is not risk-free, but the success rate polls highly among people who follow the directions closely. I flashed T-Mobile's branded Diamond, the MDA Compact IV, without incident.

Ready to give this a shot? XDA's detailed guides are available here:

If ROMs and bootloaders and radios all sound too scary (and I wouldn't blame you), XDA also has a hefty collection of simpler tweaks and mods for your HTC phones, including themes, games and apps that you might not find elsewhere.

Expect to hear a lot more about these guys in the coming months—they'll probably be the first ones to port Android to older HTC handsets. As of the 4th, they've got a severely gimped version of Android 0.8 (the G1 launched with 1.0) running on the Diamond, so an "Install A! ndroid o n Your HTC Phone" Dealzmodo Hack is inevitable, if still pretty far off. [XDA Developers and ModMyDiamond]

Dealzmodo Hacks are intended to help you sustain your crippling gadget addiction through tighter times. If you come across any on your own that are particularly useful, send it to our tips line (Subject: Dealzmodo Hack). Check back every Thursday for free DIY tricks to breathe new life into hardware that you already own.


AT&T Boosts U-Verse Top Speed to 18Mbps [U-Verse]


While AT&T U-Verse lags far, far behind Verizon FIOS in the insane bandwidth race, the boost to 18Mbps downstream for the top tier U-Verse package that starts Nov. 9 nearly doubles the relatively pokey 10Mbps they offered. To put it in perspective though, Verizon has an upstream package that still goes faster than that. And they don't have those pesky caps looming, either.


AT&T Offers More Speed, More Choices With Its Fastest Broadband Service Ever

DALLAS, Nov. 6, 2008 — For millions of consumers with a need for more speed, the broadband choices just got better. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) today announced it will launch AT&T U-verseSM High Speed Internet Max 18 on Nov. 9, offering speeds of up to 18 Mbps downstream. Exclusively available for AT&T U-verse TV customers, Max 18 is the fastest high speed Internet package available from the nation's leading provider of broadband services.

In addition to more speed, U-verse Internet customers have the freedom to enjoy their broadband connection in more places — all at no extra cost. All U-verse Internet customers receive access to the nation's largest Wi-Fi network with free connectivity at more than 17,000 AT&T Wi-FiSM hot spots. Wireless home networking is also included.

"With our new Max 18 service, customers get another way to stay connected faster," said Ralph de la Vega, chief executive officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet offers fast speeds, at home and on the go with! free Wi -Fi, and as part of an integrated quad-play bundle. Max 18 is another way we're using our U-verse network to provide customers with more choices and innovative services."

AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet Max 18 will be available to eligible residential customers for $65 a month as part of a bundle with AT&T U-verse TV. Professional installation is included for new U-verse TV customers, and eligible existing U-verse Internet customers can upgrade their package at any time without additional installation costs or appointments.

The introduction of Max 18 arrives at the perfect time for consumers who are going online for their holiday shopping, purchasing home services to accompany new electronics gifts and planning holiday travel.

AT&T's Internet Protocol (IP)-based network provides customers who bundle U-verse services with advanced, integrated capabilities. For example, U-verse TV and Internet customers have the ability to program their digital video recorder (DVR) while away from home using a PC or wireless device; personalize AT&T U-bar to display customized weather, sports and stock information on their U-verse TV screen; and browse their online photos on a personal U-verse TV channel. AT&T U-verse TV ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction in the North Central, South, and West Regions," according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Residential Television Service Provider Satisfaction StudySM.

AT&T is the nation's largest provider of broadband service, with 14.8 million broadband lines in service as of the third quarter of 2008. AT&T U-verse services are available to millions of homes across 15 states.

For additional information on AT&T U-verse — or to find out if it's available in your area — visit or call 800-ATT-2020.



JD Power Ranks the iPhone Highest in Business Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction [IPhone]


JD Power and Associates have awarded the iPhone the top spot in their annual survey measuring overall customer satisfaction among business wireless smartphone users. On a scale of 1000 (measured by five key factors in order of importance: ease of operation, operating system, physical design, handset features, and battery aspects) Apple's iPhone scored a 778, followed by BlackBerry-maker RIM with a 703 and Samsung with a 701. This is significant for two reasons: JD Power has a reputation for reliable research and the survey focuses on business users—an area traditionally dominated by last year's winner the BlackBerry.

"one-fourth of users report experiencing at least one software-related issue or problem with their current smartphone device. The software-related issues reported most often include the need to reboot the phone, application malfunction/freeze and issues related to touch screen malfunction. Among those owners who have experienced a software problem, 44 percent report having to reboot their device at least once on a weekly basis during the past 12 months, while 34 percent report experiencing either an application malfunction or application freeze at least once per week."

With regard to usage:

•Sixty-nine percent of business smartphone users own a hands-free headset, and 74 percent of those owners use a wireless headset device. Motorola owners report a higher incidence of using wireless headsets (86%), while only 60 percent of Apple iPhone owners report using a wireless headset device.
•Among smartphone users, 37 percent would like GPS (global positioning system) capabilities on their device, 25 percent would like Wi-Fi capabilities, 23 percent want touch screen and 15 percent would like to have voice recognition command for automatic diali! ng.
•The average reported purchase price of a smartphone device is $216, compared with an average reported purchase price of $261 in 2007. Apple owners report the highest average purchase price at $337, while Motorola owners report the lowest device pricing at $169.
•The top five reasons given for choosing a smartphone brand are: Internet capability (45%), ability to use e-mail account (41%), overall design/style (39%), Bluetooth capabilities (37%) and keyboard style (e.g., QWERTY) (37%).
•Thirty-four percent of smartphone owners say they download third-party software. Popular software downloads among business users include games (49%), business applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel (43%) and travel-related programs (36%).

The 2008 Business Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 1,388 business wireless customers who currently own a smartphone device. The study was fielded between August and September 2008.

[JD Power and Associates]


Claw Bike Storage From ABC's "American Inventor" Available For Pre-Order [Storage]


If you caught ABC's "American Inventor" last season you may remember "The Gladiator Claw" bicycle storage device as one of the finalists. Well, the folks behind the Claw have used the startup money earned from the show to turn their idea of a push-button catch and release storage hook into reality. Basically, it is a modest but clever upgrade to basic hook systems, but if you have a really nice bike it may be worth dropping an extra $60 on. Plus, I don't see why it could not be used for other items as well. The Claw is now available to pre-order for a November 15th release. [Amazon and The Claw via Crunchgear]


MacBook Air With Nvidia-Powered H.264 Video Playback Runs Less Toasty [MacBook Air]


Like the MacBook and MacBook Pro, the new Nvidia-powered MacBook Air also uses hardware-acceleration for H.264 video playback. Benefit: Performance is better (duh), but also important for people who toasted their kibbles 'n' bits playing video on the old Air, the new one runs dramatically cooler.

One Mac Rumors forum member found that the new Air ran a full 10 degrees cooler playing back the same video, since it apparently dials back the CPU as the GPU picks up the video jujitsu. One wonders just how much it'll help (or hurt) battery life too, if at all. [Mac Rumors]


60 Minutes Reporter Investigates China's E-Waste Pits, Gets Attacked [E-Waste]


60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley went to Guiyi, China to document the lives of Chinese e-waste workers there. He was able to get footage of what these pits, which process much of the toxic electronic scrap we in the West throw away, look like—despite being jumped by angry e-waste lot owners and nearly having his camera confiscated.

The Chinese who attacked them were trying to keep mum on the lucrative business of mining e-waste for valuable components, including gold. According to Jim Puckett, who works for a group working to stop the dumping of toxic materials in third world countries, "A lot of people are turning a blind eye here. And if somebody makes enough noise, they're afraid this [business] is all going to dry up."

The workers who sift through these e-waste pits get paid about $8 a day. They use caustic chemicals and often burn plastic without any type of protection uniform. The air is full of toxins, potable water needs to be trucked in, and pregnancies in the city are six times more likely to be miscarriages. All to deal with the mess we ship over. Sometimes it's easy to forget that even though we don't see our trash anymore, it still exists. And even though America has laws against e-dumping, companies regularly flout them with little repercussion.

Pelley's investigation will be broadcast on CBS this Sunday at 7pm. [CBS News via China Digital Times]