Wednesday, 9 June 2010 - tech news fast! - tech news fast!

Sony CMT-MX550i hi-fi: hands on photos

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 09:03 AM PDT

The Sony CMT-MX550i micro hi-fi you see here, replete with pop iPod dock, has just been announced for the UK today. It’s not out until next month, but we got to test one out today and run some sounds from it through our ear canals. Read on for the photos and impressions.

The Sony CMT-MX550i isn’t an all singing, all dancing multi-room audio streamer like Sony’s Giga Juke line (Or a Sonos rig), but if you’re on the lookout for a new mini sound system for the living room, you’d be remiss to ignore it.

The design of the Sony CMT-MX550i’s pleasant enough: it’s styled along the same “monolithic” lines as the new Bravia TVs, so there are lots of smooth edges – and in fact the iPod dock pops out of one corner of the front face (Sony says there’s no reason it won’t work with the iPhone 4, incidentally) – and it’s marred only by the gaping chasm of a USB port, which you can use to play back MP3 files from a Walkman or USB memory stick.

Much more impressive was the Sony CMT-MX550i’s sound quality. Music pumping from the 60W RMS output system was tub thumping, with a delicious raw edge that’ll make live recordings sound ace for something so compact.

Read our Sony Giga Juke NAS-SC500PK review now

The Sony CMT-MX550i, which also sports a CD player and DAB digital radio, goes on sale next month for around the £200 mark, depending on retailers, so look for it then, and check it out up close in our photo gallery here in the meantime.

Out July | £c.200 | Sony

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Acer Aspire One D260 netbook official: photos

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 08:26 AM PDT

UPDATE: The Acer Aspire One D260 netbook won’t be sold with Android installed in the UK, just Windows 7. An Acer spokesperson told us that “there was no demand” for the Android dual booting D250 last year, so if you’re looking for the version with Google’s OS on, you’ll have to import.

We first broke the news that the Acer Aspire One D260 dual booting netbook with Android installed was on the way, and now it’s official. Check out all the photos and details right here.

If you’ll recall Acer’s Aspire One D250 netbook launched late last year was one of the first Android laptops to go on sale in the West, and now it’s been replaced with the Acer Aspire One D260, a more pleasantly coloured version with bumped up specs.

Hardware wise, the Acer Aspire One D260 sports the latest Intel Atom N450 processor, optional 3G for getting online when you’re out and about, up to 2GB of DDR3 RAM (Fairly unusually in netbooks and a big plus), three USB ports, b/g/n Wi-Fi, and a battery good for eight hours of use. Conveniently, Acer’s shrunk the power brick into the mains plug unit itself, similar to the cable on the very first Asus Eee PC that kickstarted the whole netbook trend in 2007.

Read our Acer Aspire D250 Android netbook review now

As with the D250, the Acer Aspire One D260 dual boots between Android and Windows 7 – we’ve asked Acer for clarification as to which version of Android, but we’re not hopeful of anything later than Android 1.5 at the moment. While the Acer Aspire One D260 is a decently specced Windows machine, we’ve still to be convinced that Google’s OS can make a decent little laptop: HP failed using a low power ARM processor and, well, there’s a reason Google is making Chrome OS.

Still, we’ll be grabbing a hold of an Acer Aspire One D260 to review and find out. It goes on sale on 1 July, but in the meantime, check it out in photos right here, right now.

Out 1 July | £TBC | Acer

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iPhone 4 on T-Mobile confirmed

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 07:31 AM PDT

iPhone 4 is coming to T-Mobile, the first time the network has nabbed an Apple handset. We already heard this morning that Orange, O2 and Vodafone would be iPhone 4 UK carriers but now plucky old T-Mobile has joined the pack. Read on for details…

While Orange, O2 and Vodafone all carried the iPhone 3GS, T-Mobile was left out of the loop. But with iPhone 4 it's getting in on the action. In a tiny press release which was practically identical to the Orange statement we saw earlier, T-Mobile gave next to nothing away but promises further details are incoming.

Orange and T-Mobile recently announced they'd united under the Everything Everywhere banner so that may have something to do with the arrival of iPhone 4 on T-Mobile. With T-Mobile as the fourth iPhone 4 operator, only Three is left out in the cold.

Are you on T-Mobile and over-the-moon that it's snapped up iPhone 4? Share your joy in the comments…

Due June 24 | £TBC | Apple/T-Mobile

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iPhone 4: first impressions round up

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 07:01 AM PDT

iPhone 4 will be winging its way to the UK soon but a clutch of lucky commentators got their hands on the new iPhone straight after Steve Jobs revealed it last night. We've rounded up the best of their iPhone 4 first impressions. Head on through for our iPhone 4 first impressions round-up…

While Gizmodo didn't get an iPhone 4 launch invite after the iPhone 4 leak, Engadget got its mitts on the new iPhone and its gadget lust was evident. Its crush on the iPhone 3GS is well and truly over:

"We'll hand it to Apple the phone is so thin it's kind of mind-boggling. The 3GS by comparison looks bloated…the screen is truly outrageous – you basically cannot see pixels on it. We're not being hyperbolic when we say it's easily the best looking mobile screen we've ever laid eyes on."

Meanwhile, the more sedate folk over at Forbes were a little less effusive. After his iPhone 4 hands-on, Brian Caulfield reported: "It feels solid. Also: the screen resolution makes it very easy to read. Other than that, it works like an iPhone."

For Laptop, it was all about the new build and the white iPhone 4 but it also seems we'll all be packing cleaning cloths as standard – iPhone 4 is a smudge magnet:

"The glass front and back surfaces feel great, although we noticed plenty of fingerprints after I and other journalists had spent just a few minutes playing with it. We especially dig the all-white version, which looks totally unlike the last white iPhone…or really any other phone on the market."

The FT was most taken with iPhone 4's speediness: "Running the new iOS 4.0 software and with an A4 Apple processor inside, response times seemed markedly faster than its predecessor." Will nippier performance lure you to upgrade your iPhone 3GS?

For The Huffington Post, Larry Magid says: "It's clear to me that Apple has once again raised the bar." But he avoids getting too hyperbolic: "I'm impressed but I'm not overwhelmed but in a way that's the way it should be. Technology evolves and the iPhone 4 is clearly a good move forward."

Meanwhile, obsessive tech blogger The Scobleizer (aka Robert Scoble) films virtually everything he does so his effusive praise for iPhone 4's improved video skills compared to the HTC Evo are worth listening to:

"The video features are FAR superior on the iPhone, especially the new editing features. I will buy the iPhone for these features alone, so for a video geek like me these are a huge deal."

Finally, John Gruber of Daring Fireball (possibly the most analytical of all Apple commentators) has a meticulous break down of his hands-on time with iPhone 4. As well as revealing that the stainless steel frame is down to Apple's metal of choice, aluminum, being useless for antennas, he offers up even more praise for the iPhone 4 screen:

"…the pixels appear to be painted on the surface of the phone; instead of looking at pixels under glass, it is like looking at pixels on glass. Combined with the incredibly high pixel density, the overall effect is like 'live print'."

Let us know what your first impressions of iPhone 4 are. What features are you most excited about? And has Apple missed anything major that you were hoping for?

Due June 24 | £TBC | Apple

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DJ Hero 2 dropping this autumn

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 07:01 AM PDT

DJ Hero 2 is on the way to consoles this year, and that's the official word from Activision. The publishing giant has just announced that the sequel will be on sale this autumn, and will bring in a host of new features. Read on for more info.

DJ Hero 2 will incorporate a bevy of fresh multiplayer modes, including DJ Battles. This put you up against another plastic turntable-user in mixes specifically designed for head-to-head battles. There'll also be vocalist gameplay for the first time: hook up a microphone and you'll be able to sing or rap.

Read our full DJ Hero review here

DJ Hero 2 will come with over 70 unique tracks, each a remixed version of a well known dance, pop or hip-hop track. Artists mentioned so far include Dr Dre, The Chemical Brothers, Kanye West, Rihanna, Metallica and Lady Gaga.

Speaking of Ms Gaga, Activision is releasing a special new free downloadable track for owners of DJ Hero. Blending Lady Gaga's "Just Dance" with Deadmau5's "Ghosts 'n' Stuff", this track will give existing DJ Hero owners the chance to get a preview of DJ Hero 2's soundtrack. The track will be available on Xbox Live and PSN from 8-14 June. Yes, that's from today!

Pricing has yet to be announced, but DJ Hero 2 will be available in a variety of bundles: Party, which features the game, two turntables and a microphone; Turntable, which is the game and a single turntable controller; and just the game on its own.

Expect more DJ Hero 2 news at E3 next week.

Out Autumn 2010 | £TBC | DJ Hero

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iPhone 4: new multitask-friendly TomTom app incoming

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 06:35 AM PDT

TomTom is putting the finishing touches on its next iPhone app – and says that this one, TomTom for iPhone v1.4, will support multitasking when used with the iPhone 4’s new iOS4. Which means you'll be able to get the usual TomTom turn-by-turn satnav goodness whilst running other apps.

TomTom for iPhone 4 will be submitted to Apple for review on 21 June, apparently, so if it gets the thumbs up from Cupertino we could well see it in the App Store before the end of the month.

But you don't have to wait until then if you're planning on getting the TomTom iPhone app. Grab the current 1.3 version from the App Store now (at discounted prices of £49.99 for the UK and Ireland edition, £42.99 for Western Europe) and you'll be able to upgrade to the iOS4-friendly version for free as soon as it's available.

Read our TomTom iPhone app review now

Of course, it's not just the iPhone 4 that'll be running iOS4, so the updated TomTom app will also work on iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 3rd generation models running Apple's new operating system.

TomTom is also cutting the price of its HD Traffic service, which lets you receive continuous, real-time incident reports and traffic speed updates, allowing you to avoid jams and snarl-ups.

Out TBC | From £42.99 | TomTom

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iPad UK shortage: no stock until June 17?

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 06:04 AM PDT

iPad UK shortages were always on the cards after iPad UK launch queues. Now if you've been waiting to snap up your very own Apple tablet you could be in for a wait. New shipping dates on the Apple site and reports from antsy Apple fans suggest the UK could be suffering an iPad drought until the middle of June. It's like the tech equivalent of a hose pipe ban…

In his announcement last week heralding iPad sales of two million and counting, Steve Jobs seemed to be warning about impending iPad shortages. He said Apple was "working hard to build enough iPads for everyone." It seems they still need to crank up production.

Last week, the Apple Store was showing iPad 3G orders as shipping in June with iPad Wi-Fi models arriving within 3 to 5 days. Now all iPad UK orders have an estimated arrival of 7 to 10 days slapped on them. That suggests we're facing an iPad UK shortage until June 17.

We've received reports that Apple isn't fulfilling iPad UK preorders through its Business Store and that the flagship Apple Store in Regent Street has been sold out of iPad 3G models since last Tuesday. UK Best Buy Stores have also shifted all their iPads.

We contacted Apple UK. Though they didn't explicitly acknowledge a iPad UK shortage or offer up a definitive date for fresh stock, an Apple spokesperson said: "Demand for the iPad has been off the charts. We are working hard to get iPads into customers' hands as quickly as possible."

Have you been struggling to get your hands on an iPad? Send us your stories in the comments below.

Out now | From £429 | Apple

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Sony VAIO J Series: all-in-one multitouch PC debuts

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 05:29 AM PDT

Sony has just unveiled the Sony VAIO J Series, a slimline all-in-one desktop PC toting a 21.5-inch full 1080p HD multitouch screen. Should the iMac be worried? Read on for the rest of the details…

The first Sony VAIO J Series model (or at least the only one detailed in Sony's press release) is dubbed the Sony VAIO J11M1E/B. It's a great-looking piece of design – an all-in-one body comprising screen and stand – and features an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of memory, 500GB hard disk, nVidia GeForce 310M graphics card, DVD rewriter, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an integrated webcam. Windows 7 Home Premium is the default OS.

The Sony VAIO J's touchscreen has a full 1920 x 1080 resolution, which is enough to show two full web pages side by side. The multitouch aspect comes into focus with stuff like Media Gallery, a media player that lets you browse files with touch, flick, drag and rotate gestures, and YouPaint, an art package that lets you create masterpieces using a variety of tools and, well, your fingers.

It'll be interesting to see if the Sony VAIO J's multitouch skills can give Apple something to think about – will we see touch play a bigger part in the next generation of the iMac?

Out July | £TBC | Sony

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Kane & Lynch 2: new trailer unleashed!

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 05:03 AM PDT

Upcoming shooter Kane & Lynch 2 has just got a new trailer – and it's swearier than a Thick Of It script reading in a Tourette's drop in centre. Read on to hear more – and watch the thing yourself.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days is set for a 27 August release, so it's fairly close to completion. According to the trailer, the game sees take control of the poorly-coiffed duo as they tear up Shanghai in search of Lynch's girlfriend Xiu. It's violent stuff (and sweary, yes) but the look of the game is pretty interesting – everything has a dingy, sodium-lit quality which is quite distinct. Check it out:

The game itself is a cover-based shooter, and will hopefully build on the original Kane & Lynch outing, which was a reasonably enjoyable but ultimately forgettable game. You'll be able to play it on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

Out 27 August | £TBC | Kane & Lynch 2

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Lunchtime Lowdown: Safari 5, Nokia C5 review and iPhone 4 networks confirmed

Posted: 08 Jun 2010 04:30 AM PDT

Pip pip! It’s twelve thirty o’clock, so stop what you’re doing and gorge yourself on all the latest gadget news right here, rounded up from this morning’s top pickings. Read on for them all here in the lunchtime lowdown.

First up, the Apple news continued unabated. On the iPhone 4 front, we looked at the super thin smartphone rivals it’s going up against, and the UK networks confirmed they’ll be selling the new blower. That’s not all though, as Apple quietly slipped out a revamped Safari 5 web browser for Mac and PC, and this time, extensions are coming to take on Firefox.

Elsewhere in mobile meanwhile, we reviewed the ultra cheap Nokia C5 smartphone, while in computing, we took a peep at how you can stream web TV to your flatscreen using Q-waves‘ wireless USB gear. Find out more about Q-waves.

Still want more news? Head on over to the homepage and help yourself to it all as it breaks.

Watch us take Ovi Maps free satnav for a spin…

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