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Texas Instruments Pico Projectors: Projection TV in your Hand

Texas Instruments, Inc. announced at the Mobile World Congress trade show that it had chips for what it calls “pico projectors” ready for production. These chips can be integrated into a mobile device to project images onto a surface. This technology aims to overcome the nuances of the small display screens that cellular phones currently have. Texas Instruments revealed prototypes of the technology a year ago. At that time, Texas Instruments was expecting the convergence between televisions and cellular phones to progress rapidly over the next few years. Texas Instruments feels that that time is now.

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The projector, which measures about 1.5 inches in length, contains three lasers, a DLP chip and a power supply. This projector can beam DVD-quality video onto a screen or a wall, thereby allowing it to be used as a video player and (in the case of cellular phones with built-in TV receivers) as projection TVs.

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Greg Delagi, Head of Texas Instruments’s Mobile Chip Division, expects the pico projector technology to be used by everybody from executives who want to deliver presentations without having to use a laptop computer to mobile gaming enthusiasts and consumers looking for a way to share family photographs.

Texas Instruments also unveiled another chip, this one designed to power the next generation of cellular phones. The OMAP3440 will let consumers record high-definition video on their cellular phones. According to Delagi, this chip will be available for handset makers for testing in the second quarter of 2008, and could possibly be released in commercial products about a year from now.

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Modu: Modular Wireless Phones are Just over the Horizon

modu-logo.jpgImagine plugging your cellular phone into a digital camera to store and send high-resolution photos. Then imagine connecting that same wireless phone to a stereo component to play your favorite tracks from your music collection. And finally, imagine attaching that same cellular phone into your car’s navigational system for up-to-the-minute traffic reports and navigation instructions.

Sounds like a pipe dream? Not if Dov Moran, CEO and founder of Modu, has anything to say about it.

“The mobile phone industry is ready for a revamp,” notes Moran, the brilliant mind behind the USB Flash Drive technology that revolutionized mobile digital data storage. He intends to achieve this revamp through the Modu, an Ipod Nano-sized device that functions as a hardware platform for data connectivity.

Its most basic functions mimic that of a cellular phone – it can place and receive calls, and store an address book. The innovation is in its capability to plug into various “jackets” and other devices to provide a wide range of data services. The Modu Jackets, as they’re currently called, will serve as an interface to make the Modu function closer to a regular wireless phone. Modu Mates, on the other hand, will be mainstream consumer electronics specifically designed to integrate The Modu’s data connection. Combined, this system, dubbed “The Modu Ecosystem,” gives the user an unprecedented degree of flexibility and freedom in how they get to use their wireless services.

Scheduled for an October release, The Modu will initially ship to Italy (Telecom Italia Mobile), Russia (VimpleCom) and Israel (Cellcom), where Modu’s partnerships with the respective wireless service providers become operational. No talks yet of an American release, but look to get a glimpse of the future of wireless phones in the Consumer Electronic Show in January next year.

Michael Lopez, a spokesperson for Modu, has tagged the retail price for the Modu t approximately US$220 to $320. This includes The Modu modular unit and possibly two Modu Jackets. With nearly a year of wait time, that’s plenty of time to save up for what’s sure to be the next great step in wireless communications.

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Intel Reveals new WiMax-WiFi Roaming

Cell TowerConverged networks. Seamless link exchange. Passing Off to the next tower. These are all things we take for granted – and your cell phone is a great example. While you can seemingly stay connected for an endless stretch of the road – you are actually making those calls from different cellular towers along the way. The closest tower is generally going to get the call. As you move, that changes and they are passed between one another without you even realizing it.

The same is happening now with new efforts to allow seamless roaming from WiMax to WiFi. With this technology, mobile users will be able to migrate to and from their home to the mobile network – the recently announced options by T-Mobile for a mini cell tower in your home (via WiFi) already provide for roaming without fail between WiFi and the cellular network. But now, with the rollout of WiMax already happening nationwide, the wireless companies need to ensure they provide a seamless experience.

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BlackBerry Outage Disrupts and Backlogs North America

blackberry-pearl8100-b529c.jpgWasn’t it just last year that RIM (Research In Motion), BlackBerry’s maker, suffered a technical failure that brought the system down for more than ten hours? Well, it happened again yesterday to about 4 million U.S. and Canadian customers, idling thumbs across North America for fewer hours, but with no less pain. In the end, it was a new software installation (an upgrade that was designed to accelerate e-mail processing) that was the culprit in the RIM systems.

Representatives of several North American carriers said they were told by Research In Motion that a significant failure had occurred somewhere in the servers it operates to connect the popular hand-held devices with the Internet. The carriers were told that all operators in North America were affected, though not all customers.

Estimates suggest that about half of RIM’s customers were affected. Officials at Sprint/Nextel told the company’s technical staff that the unspecified trouble began about 3:20 p.m. Eastern time. The problem was found and fixed somewhere around 6:35 PM Eastern time, leaving a three-hour backlog of messages.

RIM was silent until about 8PM when it announced that the system was functional. And that the significant backlog of messages had been cleared. The company sent a brief statement by e-mail earlier in the evening acknowledging the disruption but offering no details. There are about 12 million BlackBerry users, about 8 million of them in North America.

While some may have welcomed a temporary respite from e-mail, many people, particularly in the financial industry, use the devices to perform time-sensitive transactions. They are also popular communications tools for emergency personnel. The lapse in BlackBerry service is another embarrassment for a company that has long emphasized reliability and security as selling points for its premium-priced variety of wireless e-mail.

There are about 12 million BlackBerry users, about 8 million of them in North America.

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RIM (Research in Motion) Blackberry Smartphones and PDA Devices

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New York Times News Service:Again, Blackberrys are Disrupted by a Technical Snag

Nüvifone: Garmin Enters Mobile Phone Market

Garmin Nüviphone (Courtesy of Garmin)Garmin International Inc., the world’s leading GPS manufacturer, announced its entrance into the mobile phone market with the nüvifone. An all-in-one, slim bodied, touchscreen device, the nüvifone combines the features of a premium phone, mobile web-browser, and cutting-edge personal navigator.

The nüvifone is an innovative mobile phone with a wide range of advanced (but still easy-to-use) features. The all-touchscreen nüvifone is one of the first to integrate premium 3.5G mobile phone capability with personal GPS navigation in one handset. When powered on, the 3.5-inch touchscreen display reveals three primary icons – “Call,” “Search,” and “View Map” all of which allow you to effortlessly master the nüvifone’s functions.

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Skyfire Browser For Smartphones

SkyfireSkyfire, a start-up company, has spent the last 18 months to develop a new proprietary technology that now delivers web content to mobile phones at a speed that matches computer browsing. This revelation was made at the DEMO 08 conference. Skyfire’s CEO Bhandari claims that Skyfire’s success can be attributed to the development of a unique efficient protocol that their servers transcode every web page into on the fly. It is these pages, transcoded into a phone format, that allow users to view and transact online like they do on their broadband PCs.

Until the development of special browsers, mobile browsing has brought substandard WAP pages, second-rate versions of websites, persistent error messages, slow rendering of of images, and very unreliable transactions. The release of Skyfire not only addresses these pain points in the mobile online experience, but is certain to catapult mobile usage into mainstream in one step.

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Have a Drink, Snack and a Fish in your iPhone

HotTrix for your iPhoneSo I’m an owner of an iPhone and I’m happy every time someone asks me to show it off to them. It amazes me that even after all this time, the iPhone still gets so much attention when I use it. I’ll put it through its paces and I smile when I hear the oohs and ahhs. Even though people know about the iPhone, for one reason or another they just haven’t seen one up close nor held one in their hands and tried it out for themselves.

And now that Apple released the latest 1.1.3 version of the iPhone’s operating system, there’s even more to show off such as the pseudo GPS ability in the Google Maps application. However I’ve recently been using something that brings a whole new meaning to iPhone show off.

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Take The Internet To New Places With Nokia N800

Nokia N800The Nokia N800 Internet Tablet exemplifies the epitome of technology, style and portability. The N800 easily connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi or compatible cellular phone. Enjoy the Internet on a portable size tablet with a high-resolution widescreen display in the palm of your hand. Effortlessly make Internet Phone calls, check & send e-mail, instant message and so much more with the Nokia N800. You can also access Internet media at home or on-the-go with the Nokia N800′s high quality stereo audio.

The Nokia N800 NSeries Internet Tablet frees you from your desk and bulky laptop and places the World Wide Web and much more in the palm of your hand. The N800 is the ideal tool if you’re always on-the-go and need to stay connected. Once you use the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet, you’ll never leave home without it. Order your Nokia N800 Internet Tablet today!

For those that say that there are better solutions, consider this:

  • 1. Price: The Nokia N800: is now below $300 ($229.99 right now! @ TigerDirect).
  • 2. Open Source: The Nokia N800 is a Linux device based on a modified version of Debian GNU/Linux that they call “Internet Tablet OS 2007 edition”. Nokia created the open source development platform for the 770 and N800. They’ve worked hard to encourage developers to port applications to this platform. You can find more info at www.maemo.org.
  • 3. Third Party Applications: Nokia strongly encourages 3rd party developers to make software for their N800 and 770 products, and most (if not all) of it is free on the Maemo site.
  • 4. No Service Contract Needed: With the Nokia N800, you can access the internet via Wi-Fi or with a Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. This allows you the freedom to use the mobile provider of your choosing.
  • 5. Removable Storage: The Nokia N800 has two memory slots that support a range of memory cards (SD, miniSD, microSD, MMC and RS-MMC). This allows you to keep one card in the device for a more permanent storage solution, and still have a slot available for cards from your camera or other device. With the falling price of memory cards, you could have several cards with music and videos tucked away in the carrying case that comes with the N800.
  • 6. Better Audio and Video Codec Support: The N800 supports a wide range of audio and video formats. Supported audio formats are AAC, AMR, MP2, MP3, RA (Real Audio), WAV, WMA. You can play videos in the following formats: 3GP, AVI, H.263, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, RV (Real Video), and Flash Video (YouTube!). That covers just about anything you’d ever want to play on a media device. You can even stream audio and video from networked computers!
  • 7. It’s Not a Cell Phone But You Can Still Make Calls: The N800 is not a cell phone, but because of its web-access you can run Internet-based phone applications. The N800 can be used to for making VoIP calls via Gizmo and GoogleTalk. Skype support is coming in the second quarter of 2007. This means that you can make cheap (or even free) calls anytime you are connected to a Wi-Fi network. With WiFi becoming more prevalent every day, this means you’ll soon be able to use your N800 to make calls from just about anywhere.
  • 8. Webcam for Video Conferencing: The N800 also has a built in webcam and supports video conferencing! How great would that be for your next conference call? StarWars-like video calls are not sci-fi for this device.
  • Source: Nokia

    Related Links: Nokia N800 @ TigerDirect.com

    There’s Something About The New Sony Mylo 2

    Sony Mylo 2It’s probably the size. No? The shape? Or maybe it’s the face. There’s really something about Sony Mylo 2 personal communicator / pocket web browser that makes you wonder what it really is. And is it really more sexy that the old Mylo? The answer is Yes!

    The New Mylo 2 features a larger display, at 3.5-inch 800 x 480 touchscreen type, with a slide-out back-lit QWERTY keyboard. It now has a 1GB memory and a memory stick Pro Duo slot. The updated features definitely makes it more appealing.
    But you’ll get excited even more with its laptop-like features. It does music, video, Internet, and widgets. Its web browser supports AIM, Skype, Yahoo messenger, Google, YouTube, Facebook and other web 2.0 sites. It supports podcasts and RSS. It also connects to 802.11g wireless networks in addition to the standard with 802.11b WLAN.

    The Mylo 2 has a 1.3 megapixel camera but no VGA cam to enable video chat. Other specs include an 800 x 480 3.5-inch touchscreen display and 1GB internal storage. It’s good for 20 hours of playing music, 7 hours of watching videos, and 6 hours of Skype – yes you can send and receive Internet calls!

    It is similar other devices such as Nokia’s Internet tablet series or the iTouch, but what you’ll love is the free Internet access until 2010! Once purchased, you have free access to Wayport’s WiFi network – which includes 9,000 McDonald’s, hotels, airports, and other places. Now, that is something. This is a head-turner just for this freebie alone.

    Source: Sony

    Related Links: SmartPhones @ TigerDirect.com

    Can You Keep A Secret On Your Cell Phone?

    The new MicroSD TrustChip is just the thing for your secret cellphone calls. This one is perfect for those who work for top secret facilities and government agencies, or have the need to keep their conversations truly private, that really need a more secure way of communicating. Unless you’re just a few feet away from an eavesdropper with bionic ears, the call you made via your mobile phone will remain secret.

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    KoolSpan’s microSD Trust Chip can keep your deepest, darkest secrets. To use it, just make sure that the one you’re calling also has a TrustChip, accompanied with TrustChip Voice software, in his or her cell phone as well. If you both have TrustChips, you can chat with 256-bit AES encryption without worrying and without any help from a GSM network carrier. To verify, listen if the receiving phone chirps a series of dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) tones (like a modem) when the connection is made. DTMF tones perform the handshake and confirm the TrustChip identity, and send its phone number to the data channel. After that, the phones automatically disconnect. The calling phone calls back on the data channel to set up the secure call. Wait for a few seconds so both chips can settle the session keys for encryption.

    KoolSpan Trust ChipEach chip has Windows Mobile and Symbian wireless OS codecs embedded and draws power from the host device. But all the processing power needed for the encryption is supported by that little chip. This amazing product costs around $300, which makes it very affordable. But it can definitely keep a secret.

    Source: Engadget

    Related Link: Cellular Phones @ TigerDirect.com

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