Mar 11, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Pro combines 2.8-inch touchscreen with a portrait QWERTY keyboard, modest specs

Samsung has just taken the veils off yet another Android handset in its rapidly expanding portfolio, this one targeting those BlackBerry-addicted portrait QWERTY keyboard lovers. The Galaxy Pro squeezes a four-row button array beneath a set of Android keys and a 2.8-inch touchscreen, while its insides are filled with an 800MHz processor of an unspecified variety and a 3 megapixel cam with autofocus skills. UK carrier Three has already confirmed it'll be offering this Froyo handset -- via an unlisted YouTube video we've embedded for you after the break -- and others should soon be coming out with their own announcements and, eventually, pricing. Hit read more for detailed specs.

JVC's GS-TD1 3D camcorder now available for $1,700

JVC promised back at CES that its new consumer-grade GS-TD1 3D camcorder would be available in March and, well, it's now available. While that may not be a surprise, JVC has shaken things up a bit with the pricing since its official announcement -- instead of the full $2,000 that was originally expected, the camcorder will now set you back "just" $1,699.95. That will buy you a pair of 3.32 megapixel CMOS sensor that record 3D video at 1080i, a 5x optical zoom (or 10x in 2D mode), 64GB of built-in flash memory along with an SDXC card slot for expansion, and a 3.5-inch LCD that lets you view your videos3DS-style without any glasses. 

AMD launches Radeon HD 6990 powerhouse for $699, maintains 'world's fastest' title

If you're scoring at home, NVIDIA currently holds the lead in single-GPU graphics cards with itsGeForce GTX 580, but ATI's dual-chip Radeon HD 5970 has been holding down the absolute speed crown for a good long while. Now, bearing the name of AMD Radeon HD 6990, its successor sidles up to the throne and demands attention as the fastest single expansion board you can plug into your shiny new motherboard. The 6990 boasts a massive 4GB of GDDR5, 3,072 Stream Processors, 64 ROPs, and an 830MHz core clock speed. A dual-BIOS switch will let you crank that clock up to 880MHz with a corresponding increase in voltage, but don't expect to see much overclocking headroom above that. 

Reviewers note, alongside their fawning assessment of the world's best performance, that the HD 6990 is a massively power-hungry card (375W TDP) and one that makes quite a bit of noise while going through its herculean tasks. That's in spite of a new vapor chamber cooling system that allegedly supports up to 450W of thermal output. If all this strikes you as a somewhat flawed execution, maybe you'll join us in hoping NVIDIA's imminently upcoming response, dubbed the GTX 590, will be able to offer a neater, more efficient assault on the extreme peaks of graphical performance.

Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus displays dispense of maligned PenTile pixel configuration

As crisp and vibrant as AMOLED and Super AMOLED smartphone displays are, they roll off the assembly lines with a pretty big design compromise: most of the components in the marketplace right now make use of a little visual trickery called PenTile whereby green subpixels occur with greater frequency than red and blue. Meanwhile, traditional displays (CRT, LCD, plasma, you name it) typically use one red, one green, and one blue subpixel per pixel, and the end result is that AMOLEDs tend to be a little grainier by comparison at a given resolution. OLED-Info points out that Sammy's new Super AMOLED Plus displays appear to have solved the PenTile problem, instead using something called Real-Stripe -- effectively meaning honest-to-goodness RGB pixels, which explains the company's claim back at CES of a 50 percent boost in subpixel count. Interestingly, Real-Stripe requires more space per pixel, which could be why the Galaxy S II and Infuse 4G are 4.3 and 4.5 inches, respectively, a pretty healthy hike from the 4-inch mark they'd settled on with last year's original Galaxy S models. 'Course, none of this puts us close to the 7 or 10 inches we'd need to make a tablet work -- but we know they're cranking on that already.

NEC's MEDIAS N-04C is only 7.7mm thick, has Android 2.2, NFC

It's only been three months since the last avalanche of NTT DoCoMo phones, but that's not stopping the Japanese carrier from scheming up another hardware refresh. Leaked out ahead of what's expected to be a February 24th launch, we've now laid eyes on what's likely to be the highlight device of this year's spring batch : the 7.7mm-thick NEC MEDIAS N-04C. It follows last year's N-04B in nomenclature only, what with the older model being a flip phone, and offers a spacious 4-inch touchscreen, a 1seg TV Tuner, NFC contactless payments using Sony's FeliCa standard, and a skinned version of Android 2.2. Look out for it in Japan soon, but don't hold your breath if you live outside the sunlit kingdom -- history has shown devices like the N-04C tend to stick to their native market of Japan.

US Air Force raises concerns over LightSquared's LTE network messing with GPS

Following a navigation system's instructions without driving into a ravine is hard enough as it is -- can you even imagine how hard it'd be if you kept losing GPS reception every time you drove within range of an LTE tower? There have been a few anecdotal concerns raised over the last several weeks thatLightSquared's proposed LTE network -- which would repurpose L-band spectrum formerly used for satellite -- is too close to the spectrum used by the Global Positioning System, leading to unintentional jamming when the towers overpower the much weaker GPS signals. Things have gotten a little more interesting, though, now that the US Air Force Space Command has officially piped in. General William Shelton has gone on record saying that "a leading GPS receiver manufacturer just ... has concluded that within 3 to 5 miles on the ground and within about 12 miles in the air GPS is jammed by those towers," calling the situation "unbelievable" and saying he's "hopeful the FCC does the right thing."

BlackBerry Dakota / Montana spotted in the wild, sporting threads of carbon

So how's our little leaked friend the alleged BlackBerry Bold Touch doing as Canada's winter continues to rage? Looks like he's all wrapped up and toasty in a tasteful carbon fiber weave. N4BB nabbed the first real-life photos of the triple-input-device OS 6.1 smartphone, which confirm its 640 x 480 VGA screen, though the publication says it's also gained storage space (6.5GB flash) and lost memory (512MB of RAM) since the last time we heard its specs. There's apparently still a 5 megapixel camera to be had, as well as a magnetometer, accelerometer and proximity sensor, and -- as the rumor mill whispered in January -- integrated NFC. Still no word on processing power, but it sure sounds like it'll mop the floor with the Torch either way.

Samsung Galaxy S 4G will actually cost $200, unfortunately

Here's a quick heads-up, if you had your heart set on Samsung's Galaxy S 4G: T-Mobile says it'll actually cost $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. That means you're paying $250 out the door for an HSPA+ capable Vibrant, not counting taxes and related fees. T-Mobile says the original $150 price was a mistake on its part, and while you're welcome to bring as many false advertising lawsuits as you'd like, we doubt you'll get very far.


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