Softbank powers up Internet Machine phone on the back of Brad Pitt

via DVICE by Adario Strange on 4/15/08


Although not as cosmetically sexy as its cousin, the Fullface, the Softbank Internet Machine 922SH is extremely hard to resist for a number of reasons, and makes waiting for the iPhone to hit Japan begin to seem silly. Simply put, this is one device that actually lives up to its name. As a 3G cell phone, the Internet Machine offers the standard set of Japan-centric features that take advantage of the high speed network such as fast Internet surfing, email, instant messaging, and a highly under-reported feature known as Video Call (yes, as in making video phone calls).

The device also includes 1Seg television broadcasts on a beautiful 3.5-inch screen, Bluetooth, a QR bar code reader, a media player and a microSD memory card port. Although it doesn’t go the touch screen route, the QWERTY keyboard is large enough and comfortable enough to seed some doubt about whether or not touch screens will indeed displace the keyboard. All this and the device even has an incredible commercial starring Brad Pitt texting away as cars fly over his head. This sweet gadget is only available in Japan, but you can check out Brad caressing its keys lovingly here.

Via Softbank


ASUS’ M930W brings E90 style to Windows Mobile

via Engadget Mobile by Chris Ziegler on 12/24/07

Right down to the color scheme, pretty much everything about the ASUS’ just-leaked M930W is reminding us of Nokia’s E90 business superphone, save for one very important detail: this one’s running Windows Mobile 6 instead of S60. The specs reveal 3.6Mbps HSDPA, a pretty capable 3.2 megapixel autofocus cam, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, microSDHC slot, 256MB of ROM and 128MB of RAM. That’s the good news; the bad is that we’re lacking GSM 850 and 3G 850 / 1900 here. What else is new, right? France’s GPS&Co has it pegged for a Q1 ’08 release at a yet-to-be-determined price.[Via Unwired View]

Philips and the Art of Naked Humiliation

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The Pitch A melanin-impaired British bloke, donning nothing more than a pair of heart-splashed boxers and a wireless Philips headset, dances maniacally through his mum’s house. All’s going swimmingly until our hero slides into the kitchen, where he rocks a little Running Man, then starts making love to the granite countertop. Alas, the cat is too absorbed in his music to notice the gathering of aging biddies in the living room, just on the other side of some glass doors. When “Jonathan” whips off his undies, stern-faced mum decides she’s had enough; she rings her son, whose headset conveniently allows him to field phone calls, too. Rank embarrassment ensues, as Jonathan covers up his babymakers and exits stage left. Does Philips expect us to emulate this exhibitionist weirdo and pony up around $100 for Bluetooth cans?

Rip-Off Of This is a very YouTube Era ad, and I’m willing to bet that the creators glimpsed themselves a few clips of truly awful dancing before coming up with the concept. But in terms of Madison Avenue antecedents, the one that immediately pops to mind is the classic Bud Light “Parrot” ad, in which a ditz learns her potential one-night-stand’s true feelings. No dancing in that one, but oh-so-much humiliation.

The Spin Notice how there are no technical details in this ad—it instead follows the old writer’s adage of “show, don’t tell.” Jonathan’s nudity actually serves an important purpose, as it makes clear that there are no wires of any kind on his person. And there’s a clever shot towards the end that flicks at the headset’s non-music capabilities, specifically its ability to receive mobile calls. Sure, a non-geek will have no clue that Bluetooth is the technology in question, or what sort of range they might reasonably expect between headset and personal audio player. (This detailed review says upwards of 10 meters.) But the ad is really just a come-hither for the product’s cleanly designed promo site, on which all is explained in relatively plain English.

Counterspin It’s always a risk for ads to choose a doofus as their de facto pitchman. Let’s face it, none of us would like to be caught dancing around naked—and attempting to copulate with a slab of granite!—while our mom’s prune-skinned friends looked on in horror. On the most literal level, this commercial equates ownership of the product with hopeless loserdom—why is this cat living with his mom in the first place, given that he looks closer to 21 than 15? Philips is obviously just trying to use humor to raise product awareness, but it needs to tread lightly—there’s a fine line between a sharp joke and the sort of humiliation that forces you to avert your eyes.

Takeaway This commercial was apparently made for the European market, which explains the fleeting nudity; if this appeared on primetime TV in the U.S., the uproar might rival that which accompanied Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. But if Jonathan’s naughty bits could be blanked out, this would play great on these shores—and Philips might move some of those wireless headsets, too. I’m actually surprised at the dearth of Bluetooth ‘phones on the streets of New York; when people invest in nicer earphones, they usually seem to plunk for noise-canceling options rather than going wireless. Not having tested these Philips cans personally, I can’t really comment on their sound quality. But it’s got to be better than the iPod/Zune/Zen factory ‘phones, plus there’s the added bonus of one-touch switching ‘twixt music and phone calls. It’s an innovation that’s been around for a while, sure, but it’s going to require some mass-marketing to break through. Maybe Philips is finally on the case.

Nokia XpressMusic 5700 cell phone ready for European tour


You can’t throw a Bluetooth earpiece without hitting a music phone these days, but Nokia’s latest multimedia phone adds something new to the field. What’s the word I’m looking for…? A turn? A spin? In any case, if you want to fire up music, video, or the 2-megapixel camera onboard the XpressMusic 5700, you just rotate the keypad. That’s quite a… um, bend? Loop-de-loop? I don’t know.

The 3G phone uses a an microSD card for storage, with a 2-GB card getting you about 1,500 songs. Possibly notable is its ability to play music protected with Windows Media Digital Rights Management (WM DRM) as well as MP3, AAC and MP4 files. “Stereo” speakers are built right in, and you get some no doubt really crappy earphones in the package, so you’ll probably be more inclined to use a pair of Bluetooth headphones (which probably aren’t included, despite some photographic clues) since, hey, you can with this baby.

The XpressMusic comes to Europe this spring and will cost 350 euros. No plans for any U.S. gigs at this time. Check out another pic of the XpressMusic after the jump.

Nokia, via Engadget


Hands-On: Sony PS3 Bluetooth Remote for EZ Blu-raying


Sony’s Bluetooth PS3 remote came in the mail and we just put it through its paces. Oh yes, clicking on every button. We were totally thorough! It’s in the wild, but having it in my hands, I’m surprised at how useful it is compared to the wireless SIXAXIS controller during movie watching. IMO, it’s worth the $25 or so Sony will squeeze from your wallet. Here are my notes:

•What makes it useful are the dedicated buttons for playback, slow motion, scanning, and track control; there are also dedicated controls for changing angle, audio tracks, subtitles, and pulling up in movie menus. That’s really annoying stuff if you’re trying to do it on the SIXAXIS.

•Forget about using a universal remote with the PS3. It doesn’t have an IR port. This is your only choice.

The gallery has complete and detailed shots of the button layouts, with accompanying notes.
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• No backlight. Boo.

• Range is good enough to go through two walls, to the PS3, about 30 feet away. Could be further, but what’s the point if the TV isn’t near you?

• Full on PS3 Controller buttons, with exception to the analog sticks, and variable pull on the triggers. It’s something, even if not useful for playing games.

• The remote shows up in a Bluetooth device search by PCs, but can’t pair.

• Seems to be omnidirectional. Signal range seemed to be the same in all directions.

• To pair it to the PS3, you hit select and enter keys for 5 seconds.

PS3 Remote [Gizmodo]

PSP2 "Cobalt" to feature dual analog, UMD, 8GB of flash? Don’t count on it.

We’re pretty sure PSP2 rumors won’t die out until the last PSP fanboy utters his final gasp, “UMD rulez!” on his death bead, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun poking fun at them in the in-between time. From the outset, we’re kind of liking the look here, and there seems to be plenty of room for that dual analog setup everyone’s been clamoring for. Plus the metal and ruggedized rubber build seems likable enough. Unfortunately, the inclusion of UMD, Memory Stick and 8GB of flash seems pretty far fetched — either Sony loses the UMD and goes for all-downloadable games, or it sticks with its tried and true method of milking consumers on Memory Stick purchases, it’s hard to imagine an all-in approach. Other dubious specs include a “200% Brighter Screen,” and the more likely a/b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 and visual battery display. We’re not banking on this one, and Sony’s been pretty down on the topic in general, but hopefully these guys do actually pull something out before too terribly long.

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Clarion FB275BT Car Stereo

Clarion released a sleek white in color car stereo, the FB275BT. It is simple and unique as it does have any hard drive or onboard memory but a SD card slot to store your songs. Which you prefer? CD-R or SD cards? Both have there benefit actually, CD-R is cheap but use only once (unless you get a RW) and SD card you can add and delete any songs. It delivers an output of 50W x 4 channels. Aside from a FM-Tuner, this FB275BT has Bluetooth connectivity for handsfrees calling. Clarion FB275BT will be available in about two and half month time, April for $250.

[via New Launches]