Sonos has released its new ZonePlayer S5 in the U.S., an all-in-one music sysetem with a built-in wireless receiver and amplified 5-driver speaker. The all-in-one can be controlled with an iPhone, iPod touch, or any Sonos Controller.
"This is the best time in history to love music," said John MacFarlane, CEO, Sonos. "The marriage of devices such the iPhone and the Sonos ZonePlayer S5 connects consumers to an entire world of music and gives them an easy way to control it all from the palm of their hand, in any and every room of their home."
Each of the five speakers comes with its own dedicated Class-D digital amplifier. The S5 also includes a 2-port Ethernet switch, auto-detecting headphone jack, analog audio inputs, support for several major music services, such as Last.fm, Napster, Pandora, Rhapsody, and SIRIUS, and the ability to download from any service offering DRM-free tracks, including iTunes and AmazonMP3.
On the social networking side, the Sonos Software v3.1 integrates Twitter into the Controller interface, allowing users to tweet the name and artist of whatever track they're rocking out to.
The ZonePlayer S5 is available now direct from Sonos for $399.
If you’re in the market for a completely silent PC that also happens to be tiny, this is your lucky day. The Stealth LPC-395F, or “Little PC”, is a small fanless Atom-based nettop system with a front facing 2.5-inch hard drive bay.
The entire chassis measures 6.54 x 6.18 x 1.89 inches. The system comes with the Atom N270 at 1.6Ghz, up to 2GB of RAM, dual Ethernet, a Compact Flash slot, and optional WiFi (for $50). The Little PC is able to run on 12-19V DC so it can even be used in a car. The Stealth LPC-395F is available to order now for $795. Supply your own hard drive.
We haven’t auditioned many cheap speaker systems lately. Why? Well, let’s just say we don’t enjoy subjecting our ears to the sonic equivalent of waterboarding. But Logitech has a knack for packing big sound into inexpensive boxes, so we agreed to review its new two-channel Z520 system.
You’ll have to decide for yourself if the Z520 system’s $130 price tag really puts it in the “cheap” category, and we imagine the folks at Logitech will cringe to hear us describe them as such; but you can cut only so many corners before we begin to ask, “Why bother?” Judging by these speakers’ performance, Logitech’s engineers know just how low they can go.
When we see small speakers, we usually pigeon-hole them as near-field monitors: short-throw speakers that produce a small stereo soundstage that collapses as soon as you move more than three feet away from the cabinets. There’s nothing inherently wrong with near-fields, especially in a PC environment, but they have their limitations. So we were surprised to hear Logitech boast that the Z520 could provide a “great listening experience throughout the room.” We decided to put that claim to the test as soon as we took the speakers out of the box.
It was not about a month ago that the Optical Systems Division of 3M announced the release of a new 3D film targeted at mobile devices. Now, they were at FPD International 2009 and demoed two devices with the new technology.
Oh, did I mention you don’t need funny glasses to see the 3D image? The technique utilizes multiple LED backlights in tandem with the special film that uses apertures and lenses to direct a picture to the left and right eyes. Further, the film can switch from 3D and 2D mode by changing the operation of the backlights.
They had two devices with the film installed: a 2.8-inch mobile sized screen and a 9-inch picture frame screen. Obviously, the 3D image doesn’t carry over in the pictures, so you will have to use your imagination.
The film is already being put into production for use in smaller devices. 3M also reports that some devices have already adopted the new technology.
It appears AMD is channeling former Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart. Back in 1964, in the case of Jacobellis v. Ohio, the Supreme Court was asked to define hard-core pornography. Stewart conceded it was hard to define, but “I know it when I see it.” I’ll just bet he did.
It’s not pornography this time. It’s netbooks. Just what are those little thingies? AMD tells us they aren’t ultra thin notebooks, except that sometimes they are. The only thing definitive AMD can offer that netbooks make up the web browsing/emailing segment of the market.
Rather than worry about labels, perhaps because Intel has a lock on the netbook market at present, AMD recommends worrying less about “cute” and more about what you want your portable to do.
The enterprise market is made up of big business, which places heavy, mission critical demands on their hard drives. You need some serious hard drive storage if you plan to offer email, web applications, or cloud-computing services. Drives that can handle the stress long-term, with little chance of failure are favored in this market, currently dominated by Seagate and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.
Western Digital’s first offering is the WD S25, available in 147 Gb and 300 Gb capacities. The drive, which has a 2.5-inch form factor, spins at 10,000 RPMs. It also includes the technologically necessary Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface, either SAS 3 Gb/s or SAS 6 Gb/s. While similar in appearance to Western Digital’s VelociRaptor, it has faster read and write seek times, and a higher MTBF rating of 1.6 million hours.
Intel hopes to eventually make a thunderous entrance in the discrete graphics market with its upcoming GPGPU chip codenamed Larrabee, and to do that, the company needs to line up some chip partners willing to jump on board. Intel CEO Paul Otellini set out to do that recently, talking privately to several China-based videocard makers.
According to what un-named sources have been whispering in DigiTimes' ear, Intel plans to offer preferential pricing for just the GPU by itself, as well as when bundled with other Intel products. This is a similar strategy to what Intel has been doing with its Atom platform, and it remains to be seen how many graphics partners will warm to Larrabee in this manner.
As it stands, some first-tier graphics card vendors are a bit leary about Larrabee on fears that the first release may end up buggy. But within the next couple of years, vendors expect Larrabee will be able to hold its own against what AMD and Nvidia have to offer.
The new VIA Nano 3000 series is based on the 64-bit superscalar "Isaiah' architecture and comes with a bevy of noteworthy features. Among them is the ability to support 1080p playback. Other notable traits include 64-bit support, SSE instructions, and encryption and security capabilities.
"With the VIA Nano 3000 Series, we are launching our fastest and most power-efficient processors yet," commented Richard Brown, VP International Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. "Coupled with our market-leading digital media chipsets, they enable the richest experience across a broad range of mobile and all-in-one system designs."
The new chips will ship in early 2010 at clockspeeds ranging from 1GHz to 2GHz and all run on an 800MHz frontside bus. The x86 parts are also compatible with both Windows and Linux.
Want to get in Mother Nature's good graces and maybe save a buck or two while doing so? Combine Samsung's memory chips with Microsoft's operating system. That's the message in a nutshell the two companies will work together to promote.
"There is not doubt that the combination of Windows 7 and 40nm DDR3 in new PCs will make users very happy," said Dong-Soo Jun, executive senior vice president of memory marketing at Samsung Electronics. "If you opt for 4GB of memory in a Windows 7-based system, over typical 2GB-based systems used today, you'll see an increase in performance, while using less power thanks to the efficiency of Samsung's 40nm DDR3 DRAM."
If this all sounds a little bit hokey, you may just have to get used to it. Depending on how this marketing campaign plays out, Samsung suggested it might further collaborate with Microsoft on more green IT efforts on a global scale.
Acer's been talking up a storm about its future notebook plans and how it's going to take on the likes of Dell and HP, and it begins with the release of the Aspire AS8940G-6865 with an 18.4-inch display and Intel Core i7 720QM processor.
Driving the large screen display is an Nvidia GeForce GTS 250M graphics card with 1GB of dedicated memory. Other specs include 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory, a 500GB hard drive, 4X Blu-ray drive, multi-card reader, 802.11a/b/g/Draft-N WiFi, five USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and eSATA ports, and Windows Home Premium 64-bit.
"This new Aspire notebook offers multimedia enthusiasts the ultimate in mobile entertainment -- cinematic quality sound and visuals, an industry-leading feature-set, and the performance to handle demanding digital media," said Preeta Anil, Product Manager, Notebooks for Acer America. "The addition of Intel's new Core i7 processor further boosts the power and performance of the Aspire AS58940G for games, movies, videos, and more."
Acer says its new notebook will be available for purchase in time for the holiday season for $1,350. Not a bad price for the hardware.