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Stores Take Pre-orders For PlayStation 3

HTC Introduces T-Mobile Dash

Intel's PM96/GM965 Chipsets To Be Rolled Out As Scheduled

Rice Researchers To Demo Megapixel Images Created With One Pixel

U.S. Court Order Could Boost Spam By 50 Billion Daily

Dell Web Site Snubs Intel's Viiv

NEC Unveils Chip To Bridge Blu-ray/HD DVD Divide

Stores Take Pre-orders For PlayStation 3

GameStop and EB Games stores are going to start accepting pre-orders for Sony’s PlayStation 3 game console on Tuesday, according to their Web sites.

Due to “extremely limited supply,” the stores expect their allocations of what is perhaps the holiday’s season’s most eagerly anticipated gadget to run out in minutes.

A $100 deposit is required for each order, but even that won’t guarantee that a PlayStation 3 will be available when the console goes on sale on Nov. 17, according to the notices, because the stores have no control over production and shipping issues.

The console will be sold in two versions, for $499 and $599. Sony Corp. has said it plans to ship 2 million units by the end of the year.

GameStop and EB Games are both owned by GameStop Corp., based in Grapevine, Texas. It has over 4,400 outlets, making it the world’s largest video game retailer.

GameStop has not yet announced pre-orders for the season’s other object of gamer desire, Nintendo Corp.’s Wii console. It is expected in stores Nov. 19.

Source: MSNBC

HTC Introduces T-Mobile Dash

High Tech Computer (HTC), a major provider of Microsoft Windows Mobile-based devices, on October 12 launched in the US the company's first open-faced full-QWERTY smartphone, the T-Mobile Dash. Announced today at the fall Digital Life conference, the Dash Smartphone from HTC features the latest Windows Mobile 5.0 technology and allows connecting to data networks via Wi-Fi.

"Our goal at HTC has always been to create devices that let people communicate, work and entertain themselves whenever and wherever they choose" said Todd Achilles, vice president of sales and marketing for HTC America. "The T-Mobile Dash represents a major breakthrough in product design for HTC, and we couldn't be more excited to bring the smallest open-face full keyboard device to market with our partner T-Mobile."

T-Mobile Dash Specs:

  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0
  • Push e-mail (direct push technology)
  • Instant access to work and personal e-mail
  • Quad-band EDGE/GSM networks
  • Real HTML web browsing
  • WiFi integrating with T-Mobile hot spots
  • Music and video player
  • Instant messaging with AOL, Yahoo and MSN
  • Mobile Office
  • Easy to use calendar that synchs wirelessly with your PC for real-time scheduling
  • 2.4-inch, 320x240 display
  • 1.3-megapixel camera
  • Bluetooth technology
  • 128 MB of ROM, 64MB of RAM
  • A microSD slot

Source: DigiTimes

Intel's PM96/GM965 Chipsets To Be Rolled Out As Scheduled

The development of Intel's forthcoming PM965/GM965 chipsets (codenamed Crestine) for its Santa Rosa platform is on track, which will allow the chip giant to roll out the chips in March 2007 as scheduled, according to sources at Taiwan notebook makers.

The timely introduction of the PM965/GM965 chipsets would enable the chip giant to launch the Santa Rosa platform in the second quarter of next year, said the sources, who have closely followed Intel's roadmap.

With an 800MHz FSB (front side bus) and support for DirectX 10, the PM965/GM965 chipsets could significantly boost the performance of Intel's Core 2 Duo-based CPUs, the sources contended.

Source: DigiTimes

Rice Researchers To Demo Megapixel Images Created With One Pixel

Rice University researchers have developed a camera that creates megapixel quality images using one pixel. The technology allows cameras to use a smaller number of sensors to create higher resolution images.

Rice University engineers Richard Baraniuk and Kevin Kelly have been working for two years to build a camera that replaces the traditional digital pixel grid with an array of tiny micromirrors. Each mirror points either toward a single light-sensitive pixel or away from it.

When an image focuses on the mirrors, the light breaks into a random pattern, and their combined intensity is recorded by one pixel. Using a computer algorithm developed by mathematicians during the past two and a half years, the camera software identifies the simplest possible image consistent with the samples.

"Richard Baraniuk and Kevin Kelly are part of a growing movement in the imaging community toward intelligent image processing," said Sean Varah, CEO at MotionDSP Inc., a software company with image processing technology that reconstructs low-res video images into high. "Hardware has limits, and to get past those limits, you need intelligent software. Their work is very promising as it combines both hardware and software expertise."

Recent mathematical findings from scientists Emmanuel Candes at Caltech, David Donoho at Stanford, Terence Tao at University of California Los Angeles, and Justin Romberg at Georgia Tech makes the camera technology possible.

Related to compression algorithms, such as JPEG, the technology requires less compression, battery life and space in memory and storage, Baraniuk said.

Sharper pictures require more pixels. But denser pixel arrays also drain camera batteries faster, and most of the information recorded goes unused. To store images, the camera spends more power to convert them into a file format, such as JPEG, removing redundant information and fine details.

"The technology could allow smaller hardware, and lower power, but it also would enable us to build cameras where current digital cameras are blind, such as far inferred ultraviolet and terahertz cameras," Baraniuk said.

The terahertz light band sits between microwaves and inferred proves most interesting to Baraniuk. The research could prove an important technology for use by the military and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security because terahertz can pass through things like clothes and luggage.

Baraniuk said both Texas Instruments Inc., and the Defense Advanced Research Products Agency (DARPA) support the research.

Aside from military or homeland security applications, commercializing the technology in the future could mean developing digital cameras that have the capability to take and process images comparable to trillions of megapixels, said Georgia Tech professor Justin Romberg.

"In the near future, the technology could work well when you need to take pictures at night, where visible light isn't present," Romberg said. "Infrared comes in handy at night when the sun goes down, but objects still radiate heat."

Making the technology smaller, less expensive and practical for consumer goods comes next on the agenda, Baraniuk said. "We'll also look at making the reconstruction process as fast and efficient as possible," he said. "The math tells us random pattern are a good way to do measurements, but there are other ways."

The technology will be demonstrated at the Optical Society of America's annual meeting in Rochester, N.Y.

Source: TechWeb

U.S. Court Order Could Boost Spam By 50 Billion Daily

A September decision by a federal court may mean more spam hitting inboxes, an analyst said Wednesday.

Last month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled in favor of e-mail marketing company e360insight, and ordered U.K.-based Spamhaus, a non-profit anti-spam organization, to pay $11.7 million in damages. e360insight had argued that the Spamhaus blacklist -- a database of spammers and suspected spammers that is widely used by spam filtering services and software -- erroneously included its domain. Spamhaus did not contest the case, but has refused to pay the fine, issue an apology, or remove e360insight from the blacklist.

The fear, said Richi Jennings, an analyst with messaging research company Ferris Research, is that the judge will next order ICANN (Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers), the U.S.-based organization which manages domain names, to strip Spamhaus of its domain in an attempt to force the company to comply.

"In the short term, any spam filter that relies on Spamhaus' blacklist will have a problem with its accuracy," said Jennings. "But I don't think it will come to that. Spamhaus will either find a way to make sure that U.S. law can't touch them, or some other group will step in to fill the hole."

Spamhaus itself has said the U.S. court has no jurisdiction, stands by its categorization of e360insight as a spammer, and remained defiant at the news of a possible domain stripping.

"We think it can not actually happen, due to the effect it would have both on the Internet and on millions of users," Spamhaus said in a statement posted on its Web site Tuesday.

Spamhaus claimed that its blacklist blocks 50 billion spam messages daily. "The effect of suddenly not blocking such a large amount of spam would mean that volume of unwanted junk hitting mail server queues all over the world. The effect of 650 million email boxes suddenly receiving a barrage of illegal spam, scams, and bank phishes is extremely dangerous. For this reason alone we believe that ICANN suspending spamhaus.org is almost certainly a no-starter."

ICANN also issued a statement Tuesday, saying even if it was ordered, it had no authority to de-list Spamhaus' domain. "Even if ICANN were properly brought before the court in this matter, which ICANN has not been, ICANN cannot comply with any order requiring it to suspend or place a client hold on Spamhaus.org or any specific domain name because ICANN does not have either the ability or the authority to do so," the group said in an online posting. "Only the Internet registrar with whom the registrant has a contractual relationship, and in certain instances the Internet registry, can suspend an individual domain name," ICANN continued.

Spamhaus' domain is registered with Tucows, which is based in Toronto, Canada. Tucows was not available for comment on whether it would comply with a U.S. court order, if one is issued.

If that happens, said Jennings of Ferris Research, users will be the ones to feel the pain, not Spamhaus.

"There's the possibility that this will scare people off running blacklists in the future," said Jennings.

He also argued that if Spamhaus and its blacklist were to "go dark," it might kick up even more talk by other countries and international organizations to "wrest control of the Internet from the United States." Such efforts have included proposals that the United Nations administer the Internet, and has grown out of frustration with some ICANN decisions, such as its May rejection of the .xxx top-level domain.

Spamhaus suggested that if push came to shove, the all-volunteer organization would simply give up rather than continue to defy the U.S. judge.

"The reality is that if Spamhaus gets around the court order by switching domain to maintain the blocking, the judge would very likely then rule us in criminal contempt," the group said. "We don't want a criminal record for the sake of fighting spam. We normally help fit the spammers with criminal records, not the other way round."

Source: TechWeb

Dell Web Site Snubs Intel's Viiv

Dell is not promoting Intel's Viiv home entertainment marketing campaign for its PCs, keeping the chipmaker's prominent digital home brand out of the world's largest PC maker's marketing heading into the holiday shopping season.

Earlier this year Dell sold several PCs featuring a prominent logo and explanation of the Viiv technology on such systems as its vaunted XPS lineup. Dell's Dimension E520, XPS 210 and XPS 410 PCs still support Intel's Viiv program, a Dell representative said. These days, however, a shopper looking at those PCs on Dell's Web site has no way of knowing that those PCs come with Intel's Viiv technology until they receive the systems and notice the multicolored Viiv sticker on the box.

In a bitter twist, Dell and its gaming subsidiary Alienware introduced several new PCs Tuesday with Advanced Micro Devices' dual-core Athlon 64 X2 processors and highlighted its AMD Live software. AMD Live, like Intel's Viiv, is a poorly understood collection of hardware and software technology that is supposed to make it easier for consumers to put a PC at the heart of a home entertainment network. The names also rhyme.

An Intel representative said the company is currently encouraging partners to focus on the performance of its new Core 2 Duo processors ahead of so-called "platform" brands like Viiv and vPro. This is a departure from the strategy laid out by CEO Paul Otellini in January 2005. As then-president and chief operating officer, he reorganized the company into five divisions focused on creating platforms brands for different areas, like the digital home or the digital office. However, Hewlett-Packard and Gateway are still advertising Viiv prominently on their Web sites next to their home entertainment desktops.

Intel's Viiv brand, introduced with much fanfare, hasn't made an impact on the PC market the way its Centrino notebook technology did. The basic idea is the same as Centrino, in that Intel requires PC makers to use certain configurations of its products in exchange for marketing assistance. However, other partners have been slow to release networking devices certified under the Viiv program, and it took Intel several months after the launch of the brand to ship software enabling PCs to share content with wireless networking devices, portable media centers and televisions.

At the same time, there's no evidence that people are buying these PCs because of either Intel or AMD's entertainment brand, or that they are using their Viiv or AMD Live PCs to swap music, photos and videos around their homes. That would be like finding the Holy Grail of the PC industry's strategy for the living room.

Intel has started to put a little more color around Viiv in the form of exclusive content deals for Viiv PC owners. Fantasy football junkies can now watch National Football League games on their Viiv PCs with a window alongside the televised action featuring the latest disappointing point total from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, or the emergence of San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore.

The company also cut a deal with NBC to allow Viiv owners to download certain shows before they are shown on the network. A plan to release a Viiv set-top box with DirecTV is also in the works.

However, it's harder to develop that fabled "ecosystem" around a new technology without the active participation of the market leader. Dell was Intel's preferred PC partner for many years, getting first crack at new technologies and preferential marketing treatment at big Intel events. The once brotherly relationship between Intel and Dell has soured this year, as Dell finally caved into pressure from customers and announced plans to ship servers and desktop PCs based on AMD's chips. Thus ended the long-running exclusive relationship between Intel and Dell.

At last month's Intel Developer Forum, Dell executives and products were conspicuously absent. Other than a lone Dell notebook, other partners such as HP and Apple Computer were given the limelight. Apple, with small market share but ever-present buzz, was allowed to have Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller speak for several minutes in the middle of Intel CEO Paul Otellini's keynote describing new Apple products featuring Intel chips.

With Dell's tepid support for one of Intel's most prominent marketing campaigns this year, relations are sure to stay chilly heading into the important fall and winter holiday shopping season, the biggest period of the year for the PC industry. Nonetheless, a Dell representative said the company is looking into doing more Viiv-related promotion alongside its PCs in the future.

Don McDonald, the former head of Intel's Digital Home Group, was reassigned earlier this year in a management shakeup and replaced by former marketing chief Eric Kim. Kim has a huge challenge on his hands turning around the Viiv campaign, developed under his watch as Intel's marketing guru, without the clear support of the biggest PC vendor in the world.

Source: CNET News

NEC Unveils Chip To Bridge Blu-ray/HD DVD Divide

A truce between the Blu-ray and HD DVD worlds is still probably a way off, but NEC has come up with a chip that could help companies bridge the gap.

The chip, essentially a controller, works in both Blu-ray and HD DVD players. One chip that works with both standards could cut the cost of building a player that accomodates Blu-ray and HD DVD discs.

The chip will start shipping in April 2007, NEC said.

The appearance of a combination player, however, could still take time. Companies such as Pioneer and LG announced plans to come out with combination players, but later backed away.

Cost is the main culprit. Blu-ray players cost about $1,000, and the player/recorders, which won't be coming to the U.S. immediately, run about $3,200. HD DVD players start at around $500, but the recorders cost about the same.

The high price, in part, is due to components. Since mass manufacturing has just begun, the parts still cost a lot, although prices will decline in 2007. Sony, in fact, had to stagger the release of the PlayStation 3 because of shortages of lasers. Nonetheless, Stan Glasgow, president of Sony Electronics, recently said that Blu-ray players could drop to $500 by the end of next year.

Even with the expected price declines, building a hybrid player would involve redundant components. Other components that can handle both standards would also likely have to be developed to bring the price of a hybrid player down.

But royalties are also a factor. The companies that invented the standards could make millions in licensing fees over the next decade if their standard gets adopted widely. Building a combo player, therefore, would require paying royalties to both camps.

Further complicating the matter are the high emotions generated by the dispute. Last week at the Ceatec trade show in Japan, reporters asked Kazuhiro Tsuga, an executive officer at Matsushita Electric, a firm member of the Blu-ray camp, about the possibility of Blu-ray/HD DVD combo players hitting the market.

"That is stupid, stupid," he said, noting that the cost would be high. Matsushita sells products under the Panasonic name in the U.S.

Still, other manufacturers are intrigued by the idea, especially if the format wars hurt sales. Hitachi, which is concocting a camcorder that will record directly to Blu-ray discs, said it will study the issue of a combo recorder after Blu-ray is established in the market.

Source: CNET News

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