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  • Video Review: Olympus XZ-1

    Video Review: The US$500 XZ-1 looks serious. Little adornment, and a clever selection of materials and textures means it looks like a sturdy metal bomb-proof camera of yore (i.e. about 1980), even though most of the body is a rugged plastic. So it’s tough, but not too heavy - and sports a big light-gobbling Zuiko lens. Roger Hislop reviews Olympus' return to the enthusiast compact camera market.

  • HTC wants a piece of Beats by Dr Dre

    Taiwanese smartphone giant HTC plans to pay about $309 million for a 51 percent stake in Beats Electronics, the celebrity-centric marketing operation for higher-end headphones, fronted by hip hop artist and producer Dr Dre. According to HTC, the company is working with Beats Electronics LLC to create a line of HTC headsets offering "high performance sound" to be available this fall, a company statement said. Manufacturing for Beat's headphones is done by Monster with lines including Beats by Dr Dre and Heartbeats with Lady Gaga. Beats, the brainchild of Dr. Dre and chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records Jimmy Iovine,...

  • HP slashes TouchPad prices

    Hewlett-Packard, in an attempt to steal the thunder from the iPad 2 has slashed the prices of its TouchPad tablet; the new price for the 16GB and 32GB versions are US$400 and US$500 respectively. These are both US$100 down from the original prices. The TouchPad makes a strong case for itself as it attempts to become a rival to the iPad 2 thanks to its ace-in-the-hole, native Flash support. This puts it in a stronger category in terms of browser functionality and accessibility to Flash-based applications such as Grooveshark. When released, the tablet received mixed reviews and was placed...

  • Shots for all seasons – Samsung NX11 vs Canon SX30

    Back-to-back Review: The Samsung NX11 and Canon SX30 bridge cameras are aimed at the same photographer, but take different approaches. Both are very light and very compact, ideal for doing the tourist or family holiday thing. One goes with an interchangeable lens system, one with a beast of a lens that does everything. Ish. Cameras in the bridge camera segment have, for a long time, been squeezed between their little brothers, the steadily more powerful and capable point-and-shoots, and big brother SLRs, particularly the low end consumer DSLRs - and to an extent, bridge cameras have had the disadvantages of...

  • Sony, Panasonic, Samsung to make universal 3D glasses

    Japan's Sony and Panasonic and South Korea's Samsung Electronics have announced that they will jointly develop new standards for glasses used to watch 3D images on television, computer and movie screens. The three Asian consumer electronics giants, working with European technology firm X6D Limited, said their collaboration will cover a technology called "3D active glasses", according to their joint statement. The universal glasses -- which can be used on TVs from all three firms -- will go on sale in 2012 and will be compatible with 3D sets being released this year, the companies said. "Today’s announcement marks a unique collaboration of...

  • Write, heat, write again with rewritable ‘paper’

    A group of scientists in Taiwan has developed a rewritable electronic paper that needs no power source to continue displaying an image printed on it, and just needs to be re-heated to wipe it for re-use up to 260 times. Unlike the e-book technology now available on the market, the rewritable e-paper called "i2R e-paper" does not need to be back lit and therefore does not consume electricity, according to the island's top industrial research unit Industrial Technology Research Institute. "It only requires heat to store or transmit images onto the flexible display," said Frank Hsiu, a senior official at the...

  • New Blackberry range hits stores end August

    Research in Motion has announced the launch of five new handsets, all running the new Blackberry 7 operating system. The five phones are the Torch 9810, the Bold 9900/9930 and the Torch 9850/9860, a full touchscreen device. The refreshed range comes at a crucial time for the Canadian manufacturer, which is doing very well in developing marketings, but is being battered by slowing sales and negative sentiment in the US and Europe. The Bold 9900/9930 is aimed at the top end of the Blackberry market, with and expected 31 August release date in the US (according to leaked T-mobile documents)...

  • Bouncing, rolling drone takes flight

    A Japanese defence researcher has invented a spherical observation drone that can fly down narrow alleys, hover on the spot, take off vertically and bounce along the ground. About the size of a beachball and jet black, the remote-controlled Spherical Air Vehicle resembles a tiny Death Star from the Star Wars movies but has a more benign purpose -- to transmit live images from a video camera. It is powered by a propeller protected by a spherical shield with large openings for airflow, meaning a knock into a wall or a tumble to the ground will not damage it. Research to improve...

  • US military secure – opened with a paper clip

    Hackers at a DefCon gathering were recently shown how a high-security lock certified for use in sensitive US government facilities can be easily opened with just a piece of wire. Security specialist Marc Weber Tobias had plans to meet in Switzerland with lock-maker Kaba to discuss ways that the Swiss company's Access Control E-Plex 5800 model and its predecessor can be foiled. "It is a threat to the government," Tobias said after his presentation at DefCon. "I am serious about it because I don't know where they have been installed," he continued. "They could be at the Pentagon." The Kaba 5800 was described...

  • Hacker drone launches airborne cyber attacks

    Computer security specialists showed off a homemade drone aircraft Friday capable of launching airborne cyber attacks, hijacking mobile phone calls, or even delivering a dirty bomb. Rich Perkins and Mike Tassey built the bright yellow Wireless Arial Surveillance Platform in a garage from a used US Army target drone that they customized to find mobile phones and Internet hotspots. "It will fly a plotted course and return to base," Perkins said while showing the WASP to AFP at a DefCon hackers gathering in Las Vegas. "We loaded it up with the ability to attack Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GSM cellular networks." WASP can grab...