Sennheiser's probably best known for its line of high-end earphones primarily for listening to music on the go, but the company also offers a line of gaming headsets. That line got a little larger today with the introduction of a handful of new units, including the new flagship PC 360.
The PC 360 is the followup to the PC 350. It combines open-air speaker technology with a noise canceling microphone into a headset that's purportedly comfortable to wear with "velvety-soft ear pads and large ear cups."
There's also the PC 163D with virtual 7.1 channel, 360-degree audio, the slightly larger PC 333D also with virtual 7.1-channel sound that adds Dolby Headphone technology into the mix, and the PC 330 G4ME featuring closed acoustics with a flip-up design similar to a DJ's headset.
The PC 360 ($300), PC 163D ($210), PC 333D ($240), and PC 330 ($160) are available now.
With the semi-recent price cuts to both the Kindle (Amazon) and Nook (Barnes and Noble), the pressure is on the also-rans to make a compelling argument for themselves. Kobo's getting some help doing that courtesy of Borders.
From now until October 31, 2010, Borders is selling the vanilla version of the Kobo eBook reader for $100, down $30 from it's regular $130 price tag. By vanilla, we mean it doesn't come with Wi-Fi, a standard feature on both the Kindle and Nook.
While the reduced pricing is only temporary, we wouldn't be surprised if it stuck through the holiday shopping season, or indefinitely. For the sake of comparison, the Kobo Wireless eReader with Wi-Fi sells for $140.
In related news, Amazon recently announced that it's new generation Kindle is selling better than ever, selling more devices since launch than the company did during the entire fourth quarter of last year. That's what Kobo -- and every other also-ran -- is up against.
Several days after details about the WD TV Live Hub surfaced on the internet, Western Digital today launched the set-top-box that boasts a few additional features over previous WD TV devices. It is a network media streamer, DLNA-compliant media extender and 1TB hard drive all rolled into a single $200 package.
You can not only use this networked media player to view media content, whether it be locally stored or Internet based, on your TV, but also stream local content to any DLNA/UPnP compatible device, including game consoles, Blu-ray Disc players and other WD TV Live media players.
Despite its versatility, the WD TV Live Hub is missing something very basic -- Wi-Fi. Perhaps Western Digital was hoping that the Hub’s other features would offset its lack of Wi-Fi.
As expected, Barnes & Noble announced the Nook Color today at their event in New York. The device ditches the eInk monochrome screen used by the Amazon Kindle and regular Nook. In its place is a 7-inch IPS color touchscreen. The resolution is a very reasonable 1024x600, and it will come with a special anti-glare film. There is also Wi-Fi, a microSD card slot, and no 3G right now.
This device is utilizing more elements of the underlying Android system, but it is thoroughly skinned. It is clear this is a reader first and foremost. But users will have access to music, the browser, social networking, and a few select apps like Pandora. Since this is significantly different from the stock Android platform, developers looking to get their apps on the platform will have to use a Barnes & Noble supplied SDK.
The Nook Color will sell for $249 when it comes out on November 19. The bookseller is looking to get people reading magazines and newspaper on this device, in addition to regular books. Barnes & Noble may be calling this part tablet and part reader, but they may find that it isn't good enough at being either. Do you think this device is going to succeed?
Dr. Raymond M. Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies, has never been one to mince words when it comes to holding display maker's feet to the fire. He's made a name for himself by shattering myths perpetuated by those whose jobs it is to hype and market LCD panels of all shapes and sizes, an attitude that meshes well with our "Minimum BS" motto. So when Dr. Soneira told us he wrote a lengthy piece on why existing brightness controls and light sensors in today's displays are effectively useless -- particularly on the iPhone, Android devices, and HDTVs -- we took a coffee break to read what he had to say.
"Although consumers currently don't pay much attention to them, the Automatic Brightness control and LIght Sensor on smartphones and HDTVs has a major impact on displayed image quality, screen viewability, and readability, as well as preventing eye strain and headaches when the screen is too bright or too dim for the current level of ambient lighting, which varies considerably," Dr. Soneira explains.
According to Dr. Soneira, "most smartphones and HDTVs run with the screen considerably brighter than it should be, which wastes a lot of power in addition to causing eyestrain." Throwing some hard numbers into the mix, Dr. Soneira points out that HDTVs use as much as 75 percent of the total TV power, which oftentimes translates to over 200 watts. With 330 million TVs in the U.S. alone beaming content 600 billion hours per year, "that adds up to a considerable amount of wasted energy, money, and oil."
Because of this, one would think smartphone and HDTV makers would pay particular attention to automatic brightness schemes, but according to Dr. Soneira's extensive lab testing, that isn't the case. Not by a long shot.
Hit the jump to learn more about what Dr. Soneira has dubbed "brightnessgate."
Apps are vital to a modern smartphone platform’s fortunes. If Microsoft hopes to turn the corner with Windows Phone 7, it will need an unabated supply of quality apps. While it is way too early to pass a verdict on Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, the app store is looking well-stocked ahead of the US launch of smartphones running WinPho 7.
The app count has now breached the 1,000 app mark – Apple’s App Store debuted with 500 apps. But if Microsoft needed a reminder of the very long, treacherous road that lies ahead, the Android Market delivered it by crossing the 100,000 app mark just around the same time as when Microsoft’s app store reached its first milestone.
Depending on how much weight you want to put on Kotaku's "several sources," Sony's PSP2 console is shaping up to be a killer handheld.
Sources confirmed a previous rumor that there will be a touch panel on the back of the hardware, sort of like a giant trackpad. The PSP2 will also come with dual analog sticks, a feature that's missing on current iterations of the PSP.
Sony also decided to go with a larger screen (again, according to Kotaku's sources), which will be sharper than what's on current PSPs. Sony is said to be referring to the screen as "HD" behind closed doors.
Finally, the sources say the PSP2 will ship this Fall beating the holiday sales rush.
Fan created mockup of the PSP2, not an actual prototype.
We received word that Samsung Mobile is planning a big unveiling of a new Android device on November 8, 2010 at 6PM (EST). Short and to the point, we have no idea what it is.
Will it be another smartphone? Perhaps. How about another tablet? For all we know, Samsung is gearing up to launch a sports car that runs on Android and rainbows -- the company simply isn't saying, and so far there haven't been any leaks.
Samsung semi-recently launched its line of Galaxy S smartphones, which are available through every major wireless carrier. In November, wireless carriers will also begin selling Samsung's Galaxy Tab slate. We suppose there's a chance that's what all the hoopla is about with this big unveiling, though if that turns out to be the case, that's pretty weaksauce on Samsung's part.
Until price-per-gigabyte ratios come down to pedestrian levels, the sweet spot in solid state drives (SSDs) might be 128GB and under. More and more manufacturers are concentrating on low capacity SSDs, pitching them as affordable boot drives to improve overall performance. Enter Patriot, which just announced the availability of its Torqx TRB series.
The Torqx TRB line comes in 32GB and 64GB flavors, enough to install Linux or Windows (Windows 7 requires a minimum of 16GB in 32-bit form, or 20GB for 64-bit) and a handful of programs. These drives are built around the once-dreaded JMicron controller, though Patriot says the latest generation (JMF616) doesn't suffer the same stuttering problem as previous versions. Towards that end, the drives also include 64MB of DDR2 cache memory.
"As solid-state drive technology advances, we are able to develop SSD solutions that provide the performance users want while reaching the affordable price points they demand. Patriot’s objective is to offer the latest technology while providing the best performance and price options," states Les Henry, Vice President of Engineering at Patriot. "Our Torqx TRB family of SSDs meet these goals. Users upgrading with a Torqx TRB SSD will benefit from improved transfer rates, quicker boot times and the reliability of solid-state storage in their boot drive option. Including a Torqx SSD in your desktop or notebook upgrade plans provides one of the best bang-for-the buck improvements you can make to your system."
Patriot rates the 32GB at up to 245MB/s read and up to 60MB/s write speeds, while the 64GB checks in with up to 260MB/s read and up to 115MB/s write speeds.
Despite the supposed "immediate availability" of these drives, we didn't spot any listed at the usual online hangouts (Newegg, Amazon, and the like). Suffice to say, no word yet on price, either MSRP or street.