SanDisk on Tuesday announced plans to release a 16GB microSDHC and Memory Stick Micro (M2) mobile memory cards, which would qualify as the world's largest mobile phone removable memory card capacity. The timing couldn't be better either, as handsets continue to up the ante with high tech features like media playback, HD digital camera capabilities, GPS, gaming, and everything else manufacturers can stuff into a mobile phone.
"Handsets have become far more than just phones - they’ve become mobile jukeboxes, mobile offices, even mobile movie theaters," said Avi Greengart, Research Director for Mobile Devices at Current Analysis. "Flash memory cards have increased in storage capacity, but even an 8GB card may be too small for anyone with GPS map data, a few movies, a game or two, a presentation file and other applications."
Officially available at Best Buy Mobile stores in October and Verizon Wireless stores in November, SanDisk has set the MSRP for the 16GB microSDHC at $100, and $130 for the M2.
Cnet.UK's Crave blog decided to dig around in the Internet history attic recently and bring us what it calls the "50 Most Significant Moments of Internet History." Before you click the link (at the end of this article), let's try a little quiz to see what you know about your favorite time-waster/research tool:
Which of these building blocks of the Internet predate the first Super Bowl? A. WWW B. GIF image C. Arpanet
Which came first? A. Apache B. Mosaic C. RSS
How old is the MP3 file format? A. Old enough to drink (21). B. Old enough to be in college (19). C. Old enough to get a driver's license (16).
Which search site was originally known as "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web"? A. Yahoo! B. AltaVista C. Google
Super Talent continues to push its presence in the SSD market whether you're ready to invest in the technology or not. Earlier this month the company put the focus on the higher end by launching the MLC-based MasterDrive OX series with read and write speeds of 150MB/sec and 100MB/sec respectively. Price points ranging from $149 for the 32GB model to $419 for a 128GB drive means the drives aren't likely to attract many budget minded consumers, but Super Talent's new MasterDrive LX line might.
These new drives will set its sights squarely on those tempted by SSD technology but without the big bucks for higher end models. Lower prices comes at the expense of performance, however, and the MasterDrive LX 64GB and 128GB drop the read and write speeds to 100MB/sec and 40MB/sec.
"The MasterDrive LX is our most cost-effective SSD yet. However, we've made no compromises in quality and reliability," said Super Talent director of marketing Joe James.
Good thing too, because the new drives will only carry a 1-year warranty. Then again, if Samsung's latest PR stunt is any indication (check it out here), you have nothing to worry about anyway.
MSRP has been set to $179 for the 64GB and $299 for the 128GB.
There's been a bit of hype as of late concerning OLED technology, leading to a cautious optimism in the consumer electronics industry. Back in June, Plexitronics, with funding provided by the U.S. Display Consortium, announced a breakthrough in OLED manufacturing that could lead to low cost OLED displays, and just one month later Matsushita cranked the hype machine by saying it had set a goal of selling 40-inch OLED displays by 2011. Could we be on the verge of an OLED revolution?
Not everyone is as optimisitc, including Panasonic, who casted a ray of reality on the situation during the opening day of Ceatec 2008. Panasonic AVC Networks president Toshihiro Sakamoto squashed that idea that we might see OLED televisions in sizes of 30 inches or more anytime soon, saying th technology is not suitable for mass manufacturing. Earlier this year at CES, Sakamoto said that because "you won't be able to beat the cost and price performance of LCD and plasma for a long time," we likely won't see OLED start to grow as a market until 2015, but now feels even that estimate might be overly optimistic. The biggest irony here is that Panasonic is a brand name of Matsushita's!
Is Sakamoto's pessimism warranted, or will we see affordable 30-inch+ OLED displays before 2015?
Nvidia has a new videcoard driver available for download, and for you poor saps on dial-up, it will come as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the 86.9MB download checks in at more than the twice the size of previously released drivers. But added bulk brings PhysX acceleration to the table for owners of Nvidia's GeForce 8, 9, and 200 series of videocards outfitted with a minimum of 256MB of video memory.
If you're anxious to see what potential lies in PhysX support, Nvidia offers a free GeForce Power Pack containing several demos, a full game (Warmonger), an Unreal Tournament 3 mod, and more.
The new driver also contains the usual assortment 3D application compatibility fixes, along with purported performance boosts in a handful of games. For example, Nvidia says single-GPU gamers can expect a 15 percent increase in Bioshock (DX10), 11 percent in Assassin's Creed (DX10), and 15 percent in Call of Duty 4, among other titles.
Yet another leaked slide has made its way to the web, this time showcasing a triumvirate of motherboards slated for a late 2008 release by top tier vendor MSI. The company has labeled its enthusiast offering as the Eclipse, and its performance board will carry the familiar Platinum nomenclature as the X58 Platinum. The third board, which doesn't yet have a name (X58 Diamond?), will target the "Über Overclocker" according to the slide.
The mystery board carries the most intrigue, and not because of its lack of name. While all three motherboards bring support for Nvidia's SLI and ATI's CrossFireX, the board without an identity shows support for quad-SLI or tri-SLI with PhysX support in full speed x16 PCI-E v2 slots (insert your own Crysis reference).
With Intel bracing itself for the discrete GPU market with its upcoming Larrabee chip, Nvidia and AMD are expected to make an earnest attempt at luring millions of users of integrated graphics with their low-end discrete graphics solutions – quid pro quo. ATI/AMD has launched its low-end offerings HD 4350 and HD 4550 with integrated graphics’ users in sight. The new GPUs are priced between $40 and $55.
The cards are based on AMD’s 55 nm 4800 series architecture and are claimed to hold an edge over Nvidia’s low-end 9400 series. Both the GPUs have 80 stream processors and are clocked at 600 MHz. The HD 4550 will come with either 256 MB or 512 MB GDDR3 memory. On the other hand, HD 4350 will only be available with 256 MB of DDR2. The GPUs are only going to consume 20 watts of power, which is 2/5 of the appetite for power of Nvidia’s 9400 series.
The Netbook movement, if it may be labeled as such, has received a shot in the arm in the U.S with the launch of Sprint’s XOHM WiMax network in Baltimore. The launch effectively ushers in the WiMax epoch in the U.S.
Subscribers will have unabated mobile broadband access throughout Baltimore as the XOHM network envelopes the entire city. Sprint is claiming downlinks speeds of 2-4 Mbps, effectively faster than 3G.
Netbooks are expected to become more practical and even indispensable to a fair degree as more cities appear on the WiMax map in coming months. Moreover, netbook are beginning to make much more sense due to the financial meltdown.
"Here's the problem right now; the person who is savvy enough to want to have a good PC to upgrade their video card, is a person who is savvy enough to know Bittorrent to know all the elements so they can pirate software. Therefore, high-end videogames are suffering very much on the PC."
"Right now, it makes sense for us to focus on Xbox 360 for a number of reasons. Not least PCs with multiple configurations and piracy."
And finally, when questioned about a PC port for our jump-suit clad selves of the future:
But along with giving me one extra reason to cry myself to sleep at night -- as well as driving a nice, fat stake into GFW's termite-infested coffin -- Bleszinski's comments raise an interesting question: What's worse? Tearing open a game box only to find the sour scent of DRM sulking its way into your nostrils, or never being given the chance to purchase (or "rent," for the more bitter among you) a game at all?
If you bought music from Walmart.com before February 2008 (when Walmart.com started selling MP3 music), your ability to move music files from PC to PC has a very short shelf life. How short? Try October 9, 2008. That's the date that Walmart.com will shut down the DRM servers that control your ability to play non-MP3 music purchased from Walmart.com.
After 10/9/2008, you won't be able to move your music to another computer or access the songs on your system if you upgrade to another operating system or reinstall your current OS after a crash or to refresh its bits and bytes.
Fortunately, there's a bit of good news. While there's no way to extend the shelf life of that half-gallon of milk you lost a month ago in the back of your refridgerator, Walmart "strongly recommend[s] that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer."
It's almost enough to make you agree with BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow, who posted Walmart.com's message (excerpted above) and added this rejoinder:
Boy, the entertainment industry sure makes a good case for ripping them off, huh? Buy your media and risk having it confiscated by a DRM-server shutdown. Take it for free and keep it forever.
My answer? I buy CDs and rip them myself. What's yours? Hit the jump for your chance to sound off.