[via New Launches]
We’ve seen some really cool notebooks here at CES, but if you don’t have the cash to spend on a new system, one of these accessories should keep your system running with the big dogs.
APC Universal Laptop Battery
This slick, thin laptop battery not only doubles as a stand for your notebook, but can also juice it up for up to 8 hours. And it keeps track of the amount of time/power you have left via a tiny built-in LCD.
Kensington Wireless Keypad/Mouse Combo
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest impact. Plug in this USB receiver and you’ll suddenly have a wireless mouse and numberpad.
Belkin N1 Wireless ExpressCard
Show your ExpressCard slot some love and upgrade to 802.11n at the same time.
Asus XG Station
Think of the XG Station as roids for your notebook’s video card. Plug it in and watch as those framerates jump through the roof. Future models will let you install/upgrade the video card inside the XG Station.
NEC and Takara Tomy’s Secret Fort Type-No1 laptop wins mad props for creativity and nothing for style. It’s basically an ordinary laptop disguised as a secret fort for that spy mission that’s taking place in that crazy head of yours. It comes with an emergency button, a “glitter” LED screen for flashing urgent messages, a CD-Rom that’ll give you secret fort-style wallpapers and icons to match the stickers you can put on the laptop’s body to make it look more serious–or ridiculous, depending on how you look at it.
NEC “Secret Fort” Laptop [TokyoMango]
It seems that there’s been a lot of confusion over what exactly IPTV on the Xbox 360 is bringing to the table, and moreover, what it’ll take to bring it to your table. So I sat down with Microsoft to get a demo and clear up a lot of the confusion that’s been going on since the initial announcement here at CES. First off, the service will be available to all 16 of its current IPTV customers, such as AT&T, by the end of the year, as it is essentially the same as the standard Microsoft IPTV software, it’s simply running on a 360. Both deploying the service AND the available content is up to the providers, however, and who will be rolling out the service is still to be determined. No one’s confirmed yet, in other words. Continued with a gallery and videos after the jump…
It’s ultimately available to any service provider that offers Microsoft IPTV now or in the future, though. Interestingly, one option service providers may explore in getting customers to buy into the IPTV program is to lease out the 360 like a cable box, or they can follow a cell phone model, where you buy a 360 from the service provider at a subsidized price bundled with IPTV. Or, if you already have a 360, you can download the software and go from there, though this obviously requires a hard drive.
As all of the video decoding is done by software, rather than by a hardware tuner, you will be able to record HD shows (DVR and VOD capabilities are there, in other words, as long as your provider offers them) while playing a game. Moreover, due to the software decoding, the number of streams able to be recorded simultaneously is essentially a matter of bandwidth, so it’s theoretically possible to record multiple streams while gaming to boot. The priority now, however, is simply making sure that recording an HD stream while playing a game works flawlessly — the other is extra, so we’ll get exact numbers closer to launch.
So where are you going to put all of those shows, as well as the IPTV software itself? Like Michael at Kotaku, I couldn’t get a confirmation of the upcoming higher capacity drives, simply that the all 360s are “designed now” to add an HD. Asking about hot swapping drives, supposing a “theoretical” higher capacity one existed, got a reply of “stay tuned.” The rep added, however, that the digital compression used will allow HD content to fit in half the space it typically uses on a traditional cable set up and that the IPTV client software itself “isn’t very big.”
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Again, this isn’t official information from Microsoft, but is information Doug received from Microsoft’s IPTV booth at CES. Hopefully things will change before the roll-out, because the whole Xbox 360 IPTV service isn’t sounding very good. A separate box? A specific cable and ISP provider? Do you meet the supposed requirements for the Xbox IPTV roll-out and would you be willing to make the necessary changes to get it?
Capping literally years of speculation on perhaps the most intensely followed unconfirmed product in Apple’s history — and that’s saying a lot — the iPhone has been announced today. Yeah, we said it: “iPhone,” the name the entire free world had all but unanimously christened it from the time it’d been nothing more than a twinkle in Stevie J’s eye (comments, Cisco?). Sweet, glorious specs of the 11.6 millimeter device (that’s frickin’ thin, by the way) include a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the sensor when it’s close to your face, 2 megapixel cam, 4GB or 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth with EDR and A2DP, WiFi that automatically engages when in range, and quadband GSM radio with EDGE. Perhaps most amazingly, though, it somehow runs OS X with support for Widgets, Google Maps, and Safari, and iTunes (of course) with CoverFlow out of the gate. A partnership with Yahoo will allow all iPhone customers to hook up with free push IMAP email. Apple quotes 5 hours of battery life for talk or video, with a full 16 hours in music mode — no word on standby time yet. In a twisted way, this is one rumor mill we’re almost sad to see grind to a halt; after all, when is the next time we’re going to have an opportunity to run this picture? The 4GB iPhone will go out the door in the US as a Cingular exclusive for $499 on a two-year contract, 8GB for $599. Ships Stateside in June, Europe in fourth quarter, Asia in 2008.
- Single front button.
- 3.5 inch widescreen display featuring the highest pixel density ever shipped in a portable device.
- 2 megapixel camera.
- iPod dock.
- Proximity sensor which switches between modes and screen orientation based on how a user holds it.
- 11.6 mm thick.
- Syncs with iTunes
- Cinglar only.
- Visual voicemail – shows a list of your voicemails like you see a list of emails.
- Error correcting on-screen keyboard.
- Gestural interface
- Google Maps.
- Switches seamlessly between EDGE and WiFi.
- Free Yahoo! IMAP email to all iPhone customs.
- 5 hour video battery life.
- 16 hour audio battery life.
The 4GB costs $499 and the 8GB $599 (includes a 2 year contract). It is shipping in June.
You’ve watched or listened to the keynote, checked out the interface screenshots, watched the video, or simply heard about it through one of the 250+ news organizations that have already covered Microsoft’s plans to add IPTV capability to the Xbox 360 in time for consumermas 2007.
What might this mean for the console wars? How will this change the game? We’re not nearly as smart or creative as our collected readership (after all, Time made YOU the person of the year), so rather than rack our brains, we’ll sift through yours and publish the best responses in a subsequent post.
Task: in your pithy best, share how you believe that this announcement might change the console war now underway, if at all.
Let’s get a couple obvious ones out of the way first:
- A larger hard drive is assured. Ain’t no DVR going on with a measly 20GB hard drive.
- Perhaps content partners might offer free Xbox 360s to consumers who purchase multi-month (or multi-year) IPTV service contracts, in much the same way that mobile phone service providers offer highly subsidized phones for customers who sign a one- or two-year service agreement.
- Sony announces intent to match this functionality, but does as well copying Xbox IPTV as they’ve done copying Xbox Live.
Dean Takahashi — and this is a man who knows his Xbox, having written two books on the subject — says that Microsoft has yet another announcement for CES regarding Xbox 360. Apparently, after patting themselves on the back for moving ten million units, they’ll announce that the console will, later this year, be usable as a set-top box for IPTV. That’s television via the Interwebs.
For sure, there are a ton of unanswered questions here. But the prospects are interesting. Could AT&T give away Xbox 360s for free in exchange for users signing up for subscriptions to IPTV service, which gives high-definition programs, video on demand, and digital video recording? Will Microsoft have to come out with a larger hard disk drive for the Xbox 360 in order to allow it to fulfill the digital video recording function?
All very interesting questions. Will this affect the console war? Depends on how crazy they’re gonna go with it. If they do pursue partnerships like the ones Takahashi speculates about, they could see their userbase skyrocket. By the way, doesn’t this factor in somehow to the whole net-neutrality debate?
Microsoft Crosses 10 Million Xbox 360s Sold [Mercury News]