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Presenting NextPowerUp

Presenting NextPowerUp, our sister tech-publication in the works, designed with a bigger canvas. TechPowerUp established itself as one of the top PC hardware publications thanks to our pursuit for quality reviews and relentless news delivery. We decided it was time to put these core ideals to use, in addressing the much larger consumer electronics and gadgets markets, without disturbing TechPowerUp's focus on PC enthusiast content, one of its hallmarks.

NextPowerUp is designed to keep you up to speed on the latest in over 20 markets (and growing), each with its own content channel, and editors hand-picked for them. These include Audio (personal, home, professional, concert), Business, Cinema (filming, production, exhibition), Desktops (pre-built desktop PCs), Displays (signage, projectors), Gadgets, Gaming (games, game development, gaming industry, consoles), Internet (the business of WWW), Networking (social networking), Notebooks (notebooks, Ultrabooks, netbooks), Phones (of all shapes and sizes), Photo & Video (cameras of all shapes and sizes), Politics (industry soap-opera), Robots (outside assembly lines), Science (popular science, space exploration), Software, Storage, Tablets, Televisions (TVs and technologies built around them), Transportation (wheels that don't run on fossil fuels), and Wireless (Cellular carriers, commercial WiFi).

Leak: The Intel Medfield Files

VR-Zone have been having a little chat with Intel 'sources', who have leaked some juicy tidbits for us to enjoy in the form performance and power news. The upcoming next generation Medfield platform is Intel's first true System on a Chip (SoC) and is designed to compete with various low power ARM offerings in the tablet space. To help achieve this, they've gone through an internal restructure, merging four business units into just one: Ultra-Mobility, Mobile Wireless, Mobile Communications and Netbook & Tablet PC. The business unit is now simply known as Mobile and Communications. It's being run by Mike Bell and Hermann Eul and the first product to emerge from it will be is the 32 nm Medfield SoC solution.

VR-Zone explained that the competition will be "Apple's A-Series, NVIDIA Tegra, Qualcomm Snapdragon, Samsung Exynos, Texas Instruments OMAP and the likes. Out of all the chips mentioned above, only Samsung's Exynos is currently manufactured in 32nm process, just like Medfield."

New Gadget Generates Electricity for Mobile Devices as User Walks

If you see any business moguls running around with what look like skater knee pads with cables running up to mobile devices, don't be surprised. These knee pads generate up to five watts of electricity for every step the user takes, without any noticeable effect on the wearer. When harnessed, this device can power and charge anything from iPods to Blackberries. The device mainly gains power, much like an average hybrid vehicle, during the "deceleration phase" of walking. A Canadian company called "Bionic Power" recently patented this device, and hopes to commercialize it as soon as they can.Source: Neowin.net

FDA Report: IPods Are Not Hazardous to Your Health

When a new hit technology comes out, a lot of people tend to buy it. When a lot of different people buy the same thing, there's bound to be a few quirks and problems. There are allegations that iPods can interfere with such critical life-support systems as pacemakers. Neither Apple or the Food and Drug Administration of America took this sitting down, and promptly ran independent studies. Using a fancy scientific procedure that can be found in the source link, the FDA determined that iPods really do not have much, if any, effect on pacemaker operation. However, as big as the scientists from the FDA may be, it's awfully hard to refute the evidence against these findings. Cardiologists were listening to an iPod while performing a routine examination, and noticed a definite effect on the pacemaker. A seventeen year old requiring a pacemaker noticed that he could not hold an iPod within two inches of his chest without causing problems. It should be noted that the FDA only studied four types of iPod, and only used one type of Pacemaker.Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Nokia Pledges to Halve Power Consumption of Device Chargers

Nokia promised a little while ago to "go green", and today it seems they are living up to their promise. Nokia recently announced plans to halve the power consumption of battery chargers to their various devices, including cell phones and PDAs. Since you obviously don't get something for nothing, the secret behind this decrease in power consumption lies in increasing the power efficiency of the original units. Nokia has already done quite a few things to help with the eco-friendly movement, including make several handsets out of recycled materials. They've also devised AC adapters that are 94% more efficient than EPA standards require.Source: Reg Hardware

Sony Unveils Device to Track Yourself

Sometimes, photographs are taken with absolutely no recollection of exactly where they happened. Thankfully, Sony realized this common problem, and decided to do something about it. Using a process that Sony calls "GPS Tagging", the little device phones home once every 15 minutes, allowing you to effectively track yourself. You can also hook it up to your compatible Sony camera/camcorder to embed your location/the time into your pictures and videos. With 31MB of memory, it can store your trail for up to one month before needing to be emptied. It runs off of your ordinary AA batteries, which Sony claims gives it ten hours of life between charges. It should become available next month for roughly $150USD.

Source: Reg Hardware

Parent Group Upset Over Wii Gun Controller

Some games for the Wii may not be so family-friendly after all: they require a gun-shaped controller to be played. This is getting parent groups extremely upset. Parent groups claim that this is a "bone-headed idea". Some extremists claim that the Wii gun controller will train kids to aim and shoot, which, according to them, will make them become killers and psychopaths. One "very concerned grandparent" even went as far to proclaim that an application to the NRA should be included with every gun-shaped controller.

A quick glance at the controller, which you can buy here, hardly makes it seem all that bad.


Source: The Inquirer

RFID Tags Cause Cancer in Lab Rats; Use in Pets and Humans Questioned

RFID tags recently have been finding all sorts of interesting uses. An RFID tag inside a pet can be used by animal shelters to figure out who exactly the animal belongs to, leading to a fast, happy reunion. With the recent FDA approval of RFID tagging of humans, businesses are considering using them as an easy way to keep track of employees. However, an independent firm questioned the FDA, and ran some controlled tests of their own. Their results are extremely surprising: test animals with the RFID tags came down with cancer more often than those that did not have the RFID tags. Some RFID manufacturers might acknowledge these results, and try to make a safer RFID tag. However, this may not be possible, as "it is common for inflamed tissue surrounding a foreign object in the body to develop cancerous cells".Source: Neoseeker

New Battery Type Runs Off Any Liquid...Including Urine

While alkaline batteries are hazardous to the environment, and some say that the design of lithium batteries is inherently flawed, scientists are trying to figure out a new way to store energy. A Japanese company is hoping it may have hit the jackpot with one such idea. By pouring any liquid (be it water, gasoline, Powerade, or urine) into the battery, a customer starts a reaction of the chemicals inside the battery (magnesium and carbon) and the liquid, producing energy. "NoPoPo" comes in your standard AA and AAA designs, can hold a charge for up to 10 years (though, it can be recharged far less times than a comparable lithium-ion battery), and is only available in Japan. There is no reference as to when and if we will see this in America or Europe.

Source: Reg Hardware

Caribbean Island Bans Electronics On Beach

While the idea behind a vacation is to "get away from it all", some people use the opportunity of peace and quiet to catch up on some important business. Unfortunately, in the process of catching up on important business, the businessmen ruined the beach experience for the natives and true vacationers. And so, to keep the vacation experience vacation-y, Palm Island is banning all mobile devices within a half-mile of the beach. Resort owner Rob Barret is a full supporter of this legislation, and backed up the ban. "There is nothing worse than lying back in your double hammock, sipping on your strawberry daiquiri and hearing the Motorola jingle in the background. (Vacationers should) switch off their mobiles and enjoy the sound of the lapping waves."

Source: EnGadget

DataWind Pocket Surfer Promises free wireless internet across Europe

The lucky Europeans are going to get to see a very interesting gadget next week: the next generation of the DataWind Pocket Surfer. What makes this 97 gram clamshell gadget so special? For the equivalent of $300 USD, the customer can access the world wide web for absolutely no further fee. If you prefer to be shackled to a plan, you can pay the equivalent of $200 USD and $10 USD a month. The device is 13.8 x 6.9 x 1.5cm, has a 640 x 240 color display, and a full keyboard/cursor (as well as internet hot-keys, such as stop, refresh, and previous page) integrated into the device.

DataWind's PocketSurfer2 goes on sale next week in the United Kingdom, Reg Hardware is looking forward to seeing how DataWind can back up the ambitious claim of free internet across Europe.

Source: Reg Hardware

Logitech Creates webcams that record at 720p HD resolutions

Logitech has officially hopped on board the High Definition bandwagon with their latest line of notebook-mounted webcams. The Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 and Logitech QuickCam Pro for notebooks can record video at an impressive 720p resolution at 30 frames per second. Both webcams use Carl Zeiss lenses, which help the cameras take extra sharp video/pictures. Standalone, the webcams can take 2MP pictures. Both webcams will be available in the UK soon for £49/$100.

Source: Reg Hardware

Sony Patents mobile phone case....with airbags

For some time, scientists have been debating whether or not airbags harm people more than help them in an automobile accident. Sony, blatantly ignoring the claims of the anti-airbag scientists, has decided to reinvent the airbag, and use it as a way to protect cell phones.
According to Sony's patent application, the water-tight casing would surround the internal electronics of a mobile phone and then be placed within a second liquid-filled container, which would be perforated with holes.
Apparently, the purpose of these liquid airbags would be do hold your cell phone in place, and protect it in the even of a fall/spill. While the research is physically sound, whether or not people will want this awkward (and possibly large) cell phone case remains doubtful.

Source: Reg Hardware

MIT Scientists Invent Wireless Electricity

Completely changing the way we use electricity, a group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has successfully beamed electricity from a magnetic coil to a 60 watt light bulb 7 feet away. The phenomenon called electromagnetic induction is already used in transformers and electric motors but they must be close enough for power to pass from one another. Dr Soljacic, the lead researcher on the project, discovered that a transmitter could be used to fill a room with a 'non-radiative' electromagnetic field rather than the traditional transmitter/receiver method powering electric devices wirelessly. For a diagram of how WiTricity works follow the link.Source: Daily Mail

Palm Introduces the Foleo

In between a smartphone and a laptop, Palm's new Foleo offers a nearly full sized keyboard, 10 inch display and comes with a word processor and spreadsheet. Unveiled on May 30th at the 'All Things D:' conference, Palm's founder Jeff Hawkins says it is most useful when combined with a smartphone. The Foleo runs on Linux, supports Bluetooth, WiFi and uses Opera as its browser.Source: Wired

Art. Lebedev Optimus Maximus keyboard gets price and release date

It seems that everything is shaping up nicely with the OLED based keyboard. The company blog mentiones a planned November 30th release date. The price also get pinned down at US$ 1564. That is a tad bit more than we were told at CeBIT (US$ 1490). If you want that Optimus Maximus, you better keep your eyes peeled on their website. Only 200 pieces will be constructed monthly, with a ramp to 400 units in January. A countdown to preorder will be placed on the Art. Lebedev website today or tomorrow.Source: Art. Lebedev Livejournal

Sony Reveals USB 2.0 PlayStation Eye Camera for PS3

Sony Computer Entertainment today officially revealed the next-generation PlayStation Eye USB 2.0 PS3 camera scheduled for a summer release. The PlayStation Eye is an accessory for voice, video chat and online gaming on the PlayStation Network. Key features of the PlayStation Eye include a new camera capable of a frame rate of 120 frames per second at 320x240, or 60 frames per second at 640x480, even in low-light conditions. The PlayStation Eye features all-new four microphone array, incorporating multidirectional voice location tracking, enhanced echo cancelling and background noise suppression. Bundled with each PlayStation Eye will be the EyeCreate editing software, which allows users to save photos, video and audio clips to the PS3 hard disk drive.

Source: Sony

Memorex Offers 1GB USB flash drive with poker-chip theme

Yet another cool-looking USB device: the USB poker chip. It holds 1GB of data, more than enough for most of your family pictures, the average music collection, or some critical office documents. Not only does the poker chip give you something to fiddle with in the middle of a heated poker game, it gives you a pre-loaded PC poker game for when you're lonely. There is no word as to how much this device will cost, but it should find itself in Target stores by the end of April.

Source: EnGadget

Belkin 802.11N hub has USB connections; Acts like dedicated network server.

We've all heard things about 802.11N. However, after years of rumors, the specifications are going to be finalized this summer. And so, with the finalization of the 802.11N specifications, we will start to see routers with previously unheard-of ranges/speeds. And thanks to manufacturers like Belkin, we will also see routers with previously unheard-of features. Anyone who has more than one computer and a USB device that needs to be accessed on both computers knows how painful it is to set up, if it's set up at all. Belkin looks to fix this with a $130 router running Linux. Assuming all router clients are running the client software, if a user plugs a USB device into the router, the device is suddenly accessible to all users on the network, as long as the users accessing the device have the proper drivers installed. This makes digital camera/MP3 player/PDA device synchronizations much easier on network users.

Source: Reg Hardware

R600 external is Lasso

We reported a while back that ASUS isn't the only one developing a solution for external graphic cards - ATI is in the game too, with its Lasso technology.

Fudzilla has more information regarding Lasso. It will be supported by the external version of the R600, and will allow you to link more than 2 cards for mindblowing graphics performance. Even odd numbers of cards should be supported - connecting five R600 GPUs should pose no problems.

The external R600, codenamed Lasso, connects to the computer via an external PCIe port.Source: Fudzilla

Xbox 360 thumb keyboard addon official

There have been rumors of an Xbox keyboard, with confirmation today. Microsoft will be launching a thumb keyboard addon, which plugs into the audio/data port of your controller. The features in short are:
  • The thumb keyboard plugs into the headphone / data jack on the bottom of the controller. It comes bundled with its own headset, since it doesn't pass the signal through, and cannot work with current peripherals.
  • The keyboard is backlit; the chat bubble icon in the photos will be an MSN icon.
  • It will be released in the summer. No word on how much, though.
  • We got a chance to check it out. The tactility is nice, but it's a bit heavy with all the rest of the weight of the 360 controller.

Source: Engadget

D-Link first to make 802.11N ExpressCard for laptops

You may have heard some things about the very interesting unfinished 802.11N wireless standard. D-Link can officially claim that they are the first to release a device compatible with a wireless standard that isn't even released yet. Anyone with at least an ExpressCard 34 can plug this card in an access 802.11N networks, assuming they're running Windows XP or later. The device only works on 802.11B/G/N networks on the 2.4GHz band, instead of the much less crowded 5GHz band. We can expect to see the DWA-643 in America sometime in May for $120 USD. There is no word as to when we can see this in the UK or elsewhere.

Source: Reg Hardware

Creative Introduces Aurvana DJ Headphones

Stylish and Versatile Home Studio Monitoring Headphones For Pure Music Enjoyment

SINGAPORE - 4 April, 2007 -- Creative Technology Ltd. (NASDAQ: CREAF), a worldwide leader in digital entertainment products, today announced the Creative Aurvana DJ Headphones. Sophistically designed with brushed metal and diamond-cut finishing, these powerful headphones offer precise audio reproduction for discerning music listeners, DJ mixes and home studio monitoring use. Built for ultra-comfort using high-grade acoustic components, the Creative Aurvana DJ Headphones are ideal companion products for any MP3 or portable media players with a regular headphone jack. It also perfectly complements Creative's latest range of X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio systems, offering a truly remarkable listening experience.

Turtle Beach announces 5.1 sound Ear Force HPA2 gaming headphones

Elmsford, NY (PRWEB) April 2, 2007 -- Turtle Beach, a pioneer in digital audio and multi-channel headphone technology, today announced its next generation Ear Force HPA2 gaming headphones. Designed for the serious PC gamer to better discriminate from where audio cues originate, the HPA2 feature true 5.1 surround sound with front, center, surround and subwoofer speaker drivers in each ear cup, powered by a multi-channel in-line amplifier.

While most high-quality stereo headphones only contain a single 40mm driver, the HPA2 feature a 40mm front, a 40mm surround, a 30mm center, and a discrete subwoofer driver in each ear cup. These high-quality and large diameter drivers dramatically improve the positional cues that are crucially important during serious gaming.
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