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MSI GX780, GT780R SteelSeries Gaming Notebooks Shipping Now

MSI began shipping two of its highest-end gaming notebooks in the U.S. today. The GX780 and GT780R both come with gaming peripherals designed by SteelSeries, including its SteelSeries Full Color Backlit Keyboard. The keyboard is optimized for gaming, especially first-person shooters, and can have customizable backlighting colors.

Both models feature a 17.3-inch high definition display and comes with at least a 2GHz Core i7 quad-core processor, the latest NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor, and Dynaudio speakers with virtual THX-grade surround sound. The GT780R is the more expensive model and comes with a GeForce GTX 560M video card, 1TB hard drive, and 16GB of RAM. The GX780 steps down a notch to the GeForce GT 555M video, a 750GB hard drive, and 12GB of RAM.

The 17.3-inch displays will come with anti-reflective coating, 1920 x 1080 resolution, and a 16:9 display ratio. There’s also USB 3.0 and 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 video out. The GX780 will retail for $1,550, while the GT780R will retail for $1,750.

[via Ubergizmo]

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MSI GX780, GT780R SteelSeries Gaming Notebooks Shipping Now is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Only 50% Of iPhone Users Backup To iTunes

Apple’s iCloud announcement from WWDC 2011 sounds promising, freeing iPhone and iPad users from ever having to physically connect their iOS devices to their computers for backing up to iTunes. With the iCloud-powered iOS 5, backups will be automatically synced to the cloud. And thank goodness, now that we know from an insider tip that only 50 percent of iPhone users ever backup their data to iTunes. The iCloud will surely save a lot of data loss headaches.

According to the informant of a former Macworld Associate Editor David Chartier, only 50 percent of iPhone users that have swapped their iPhones at the Genius Bar have ever plugged them into a computer for backup and syncing. The source claims that this is a huge reason why Apple Store Geniuses are excited about the iCloud.

The number is most likely an estimate based on common observation but does go to show that such an option for backup has been long overdue. There have been options to sync contacts, mail, and calendar using options such as with Google for free or with Apple’s MobileMe for a price. The iCloud promises something much better a it will be deeply integrated into iOS 5 and makes the backup process completely automatic and free.

[via MacRumors]

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Only 50% Of iPhone Users Backup To iTunes is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Comcast Partners With Skype To Bring HD Video Calling To Your TV

If you’re a Comcast customer, it looks like you may soon be able to make HD video calls from your TV. Comcast and Skype have just announced today that they are partnering to put together such a service, although no specific dates and pricing were confirmed.

Comcast already offers phone services to about 8.5 million customers. With the increasing popularity of video calling and more television sets coming equipped with built-in cameras, the Comcast and Skype partnership seems like a good move to jump into this arena and increase their service offerings.

The new service will come with a monthly fee, although how much has yet to be revealed. Customers that sign up for the service will receive an adapter box and a camera mount for their TV and be able to make an unlimited number of video calls for no additional fee.

The service will start with 720p resolution that will eventually be bumped to 1080p. However, Comcast is still figuring out how they will go about bundling the service. It will require at least 1.5 megabits per second download speeds but won’t necessarily require Comcast voice and TV services.

[via SeattleTimes]

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Comcast Partners With Skype To Bring HD Video Calling To Your TV is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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iSkin earTones Earbuds Review

Well wouldn’t you know it, we’ve got a pair of earbuds for you to be checking out. This particular pair comes from iSkin and goes by the name earPhones, having the ability to not only allow you to listen to your devices in complete solitude with bright fancy colors popping all the way up and down the cord, but also the courtesy of having Microban antimicrobial protection on and around the buds and the mic this set features so you’ll not have to ever worry about fungus and bacteria again.

This set of buds also works with an inline remote that allows you to control the music player you’re using on your device and to receive and make phonicalls if you’re using an iOS or BlackBerry powered handset. This track flipper also conveniently works with Android and Mac OSX devices such as the MacBook Pro (Spring 2011 edition) pictured above and below. The earbuds also feature what they’re calling FlexFit necks for the comfort of your ears.

First Impression

What I received here was a pair of the Blue/White earTones used in the ads you may have seen recently. Upon close inspection of the packaging I found that though the advertisements and store displays showed the buds to be without covering, they did indeed have some simple black lobe protection with a couple of backups sitting there waiting for me. This is good because, if you know me and my ears, you know I give earbuds tough judgement because my drums don’t take to them very well.

Sound Quality

Like most devices, and peripherals, if you take these buds by themselves, if you’re in a situation where you need some earbuds and you’ve got the choice between these and nothing, you’ll be satisfied unless you’ve got another option. These buds sound OK. They’re certainly not the greatest quality in the world, but they’re not the worst I’ve ever experienced. The quality in these earbuds, sadly enough, is not in the sound quality at all, but in the features they present beyond that. One of the big reasons behind this is the fact that they literally do not sit in the ear very well. This is what I’d call an old design where clearly the new design for earbuds, that one you see back in the last earbud review we did with the AUDEO PFE 022 + Mic Earbuds, that’s where the future is.

Comfort / Usability

These earbuds come with several little rubber coated features on them, the first of which is the two-cord capture piece that appears right after the two phone wires split. This is nicely made for what it is, with a little slit along one side so you have the option of doing without it. Then there’s the mic bit which also has the control button in it. The mic works reasonably well for a mid-range mic on a pair of earbuds, but don’t expect it to outdo the amount you payed for it.

The button on the other hand is pretty slick. Press it once to stop the music, press it again to play, and double-press quickly to skip to the next track. This same functionality works in most music players basic manufacturer-added music player in the same or very similar ways.


These earbuds are mid-range. They’re not quite worth $40 if you have a choice between these and a pair of AUDEO earphones or Skullcandy, but should you be in an airport with the choice between these and a pair of plastic pieces of junk to purchase, your choice should certainly be these. They’ve got some cool features, you can get them in a variety of colors, and they’re promoted as anti-baterial, fighting off germs. They’re not quite as bright as they say they are, but they are bright.


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iSkin earTones Earbuds Review is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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LulzSec Hacks Bethesda Softworks And U.S. Senate

The hacker group LulzSec is known for attacking sites more for fun and embarrassment rather than to steal and actually use the compromised personal data. The group has been staying in the headlines lately with attacks on the websites and servers of various prominent organizations including Sony, PBS, CodeMasters, and now game developer Bethesda Softworks and even the U.S. Senate.

LulzSec attacked Bethesda Softworks with denial-of-service attacks until a weakness was found that gave them administrator access to the site’s servers.

“After mapping their internal network and thoroughly pillaging all of their servers, we grabbed all their source code and database passwords, which we proceeded to shift silently back to our storage deck,” the group wrote in a post at code-sharing site Pastebin.

According to an earlier tweet, LulzSec actually attacked the company’s servers months ago but have kept the data under wraps. Why? Well, apparently members of LulzSec are actually fans of the game development company and want them to speed up production of the highly anticipated game Skyrim. The group posted, “we actually like this company and would like for them to speed up the production of Skyrim, so we’ll give them one less thing to worry about. You’re welcome!”

During the same time, LulzSec also announced that they’ve hacked the website of the U.S. Senate. And last Friday, the group published the email addresses and passwords of 26,000 registered users of the porn website, specifically listing people with .gov and .mil email addresses.

[via CNET]

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LulzSec Hacks Bethesda Softworks And U.S. Senate is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Apple’s Mac Sales Grow 15% In April, May; Stronger Sales Expected For June

Recently released numbers from NPD are showing Apple’s year-over-year Mac sales in the U.S. to be up by 15 percent in April and May. The report was put together by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who noted that the “slow start” to the quarter will likely be bumped up in June, when sales are expected to be much stronger.

Wall Street’s expectation for Apple this quarter is pegged at 22 percent. Mac sales have so far only hit 15 percent year-over-year, but Munster says its “too early to make a call.” He notes that in 2010, new MacBook Pros in April bumped up sales to 38 percent year-over-year, while a MacBook refresh in May 2009 helped bump sales up to 35 percent.

Apple did refresh its iMac desktop computers with the latest Intel Sandy Bridge chips and Thunderbolt connector port this quarter, but that hasn’t boosted sales numbers as much. This is largely because Apple’s main sales driver is its MacBook laptop computers.

Refreshed MacBook Airs with Intel Sandy Bridge chips are rumored to go into production this month. But, its unclear if they’ll hit the market before the end of this quarter to make much of an impact on Apple’s sales numbers.

[via Apple Insider]

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Apple’s Mac Sales Grow 15% In April, May; Stronger Sales Expected For June is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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HP Closer To Launching Its Own Cloud Service?

Back in April there was speculation that HP was getting ready its own cloud-based media service that would be the backbone to its HP Music and Movies store. With the cloud services of Amazon, Google, and Apple already unveiled and the TouchPad’s release date fast approaching, rumors on HP’s cloud offering has reignited with multiple sources from the major record labels claiming that discussions with HP are heating up.

“They’re debating doing something like Qriocity for a variety of media, which can be delivered on any HP device,” a major-label executive says. “We don’t know how serious they are.” That’s because HP has been down this path before. HP has been studying the music industry to find its niche for almost a decade.

It first partnered with Starbucks back in 2003 and 2005 as the back-end for the download-and-burn music kiosks. That effort was soon abandoned after it couldn’t prove profitability. Just last year, HP acquired Melodeo but that music effort has also failed to catch on.

“They have the capabilities,” a source says. “The question is, can they build something that is compelling, cool and dynamic that will appeal to music consumers.”

However, sources say that HP was placed on the back burner as labels were focused on completing negotiations with Amazon, Google, and Apple. And although discussions with HP are now heating up, it could still take another six months before HP can deliver a full-blown service.


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HP Closer To Launching Its Own Cloud Service? is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Motorola Announces Live Streaming Device For iPad and Other Screens

Remember the whole controversy over live streaming cable TV to your iPad? The problem that got networks angry, threatening Time Warner Cable with lawsuits? Well, it looks like Motorola may have figured out a way to bypass network licensing issues to avoid those same problems with a new live streaming device called Motorola Televation.

It’s not to say TV networks won’t be angry. But, according to Motorola, it’s Televation product is legally in the clear because it connects to the same linear video feeds as do set-top boxes rather than feeds streamed over a broadband network.

Motorola Televation streams live TV to IP-enabled devices such as your iPad, Android tablet, a connected TV, or any other IP-enabled gadget around your house. The device connects directly to your coax outlet and your WiFi router. It uses a 1GHz digital tuner and CableCard to access broadcast TV channels and can transcode video streams in real-time from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4. It can also change resolution and bit rate to match the destination screen.

However, Motorola is not offering the device directly to consumers. The Televation will be available to service providers that can create their own branded iPad and Android apps for the device to then resell to consumers.

Press Release:

The new Motorola Televation™ product securely streams subscription TV to IP devices connected to the home Wi-Fi network

CHICAGO, June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Motorola Mobility Inc. (NYSE: MMI) today announced the availability of Motorola Televation™, a broadband device that works with a Wi-Fi router to allow consumers to watch live TV on a connected IP device anywhere around the home, whether they are preparing food in the kitchen or relaxing in the backyard.

According to Motorola’s 2010 Media Engagement Barometer research, Americans watch an average of 21 hours of video content a week and about 86 percent pay for TV service. Furthermore, in May 2011, Motorola conducted focus groups with consumers in the New York and Los Angeles metro markets. In many cases, consumers liked the idea of watching live TV somewhere other than a traditional family room and felt it would allow them to spend more time with loved ones if they had the ability to watch different programs in the same room.

“Consumers love entertainment, and want easy access to TV no matter where they are in the home. Coupled with the explosive popularity of tablet devices, this represents a terrific opportunity for MSOs to increase customer satisfaction while generating new revenue,” said John Burke, senior vice president and general manager, Converged Experiences, Motorola Mobility. “Televation gives our customers the ability to launch a new service that puts innovation back into TV, enabling their subscribers to enjoy TV beyond the TV.”

Televation employs a 1GHz digital tuner and CableCard to access broadcast TV channels directly from a coax outlet. The device has a high-performance transcoder that translates programming in real-time from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4, as well as changing resolution and bit rate to match the capabilities of the consumer’s viewing device while maintaining excellent picture quality. The device has an Ethernet jack to plug directly into the home Wi-Fi router so the TV show can be wirelessly streamed over IP to any device connected to the home network. To keep the programming secure while it is being streamed, and to preserve the digital rights associated with the program, Televation utilizes Motorola’s SecureMedia IPRM-HN technology. IPRM-HN has been approved by both CableLabs and the DTLA (Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator), giving content owners peace of mind that their valuable asset remains safe.

Motorola provides Software Development Kits (SDKs) for both Android and iOS development environments, so customers can easily develop client applications that enable the subscriber to navigate, discover and select the show they want to watch. Motorola also provides a reference client application for tablet devices that can be easily branded, giving customers an alternative to developing their own application. Motorola worked closely with engineers at Comcast Innovation Labs to develop Televation.

“Motorola shares our focus on developing innovative consumer entertainment experiences, and we’re pleased to have been able to work with them on Televation,” said Tony Werner, executive vice president and chief technology officer for Comcast. “As the digital home continues to evolve, Televation is one of many tools that MSOs can use to give consumers a more portable TV experience in the home so they can watch anytime and anywhere.”

As the developer of the Motorola XOOM™, the award winning tablet powered by Android, and Televation, Motorola is uniquely positioned to provide converged experiences that empower people to enjoy their favorite content where and when they want. Televation will be showcased at the 2011 Cable Show in Motorola’s booth #609 and in the Comcast booth #1201, June 14-16, in Chicago, IL.

For more information about the Motorola Televation, please visit here

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Motorola Announces Live Streaming Device For iPad and Other Screens is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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JayBird Enhanced JF3 Freedom Bluetooth Earbuds Available Now

We’ve seen many cool-looking Bluetooth headsets from JayBird before, and now they’re announcing the release of the JF3 Freedom Bluetooth Headphones, designed to fit securely with special cushions for sport. They were first shown at CES earlier this year and are now finally available with the new secure fit silicone sports ear cushions.

The Bluetooth earbuds only have a wire connecting the two ear pieces but other than that, the headset is completely wireless for great freedom of movement. It comes with three sizes of ear tips and three sizes of secure fit ear cushions that also tout a unique proprietary honey comb design for an extra secure and comfortable fit. It boasts great sound performance that’s tuned to avoid listener fatigue during long workouts.

The JF3 Freedom also features a sweat-proof design along with a Lifetime Warranty Against Sweat and comes with a hard sell magnet sealed carrying case. The headset has been on sale without any announcements since April, but starting today will be offered with the new silicon sports ear cushions. The enhanced Freedom is available now through JayBird’s online store for $99 with free shipping. It will be available in retail stores by late July.

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JayBird Enhanced JF3 Freedom Bluetooth Earbuds Available Now is written by Rue Liu & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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I Ditched Scheduled TV for On-Demand

Sometimes the big changes creep up on you, and it’s only much later that you realize you’ve had your own little digital lifestyle epiphany. Having read about “the death of scheduled television” and the migration to on-demand content for years now, it still all seemed like a distant – unfeasible – dream. Yet somehow, without really intending to, I’ve been weened off broadcast TV and liberated from the schedules, without really trying.

[Image credit: Pierangelo Rosati]

It all started when we moved our TV away from the comfortable reach of the in-wall TV outlet. If we owned the apartment then I’d have drilled some holes, run a length of coax, but it’s a rental and they’re less enamored with my DIY whims. We’d been relying on Freeview – free-to-air digital TV – here in the UK, and that doesn’t like portable, indoor antennas, especially when you’re using them in garden-level flats.

For a while, we had a Slingbox hooked up, next to the main antenna socket – usefully next to the master phone socket, so thus close to the ADSL wireless router – and used a laptop hooked up via HDMI to our TV, streaming through Sling’s browser-based UI. May sound silly, but the company actually tells us that’s a very common use of its system. Whereas the expectation was that people would “sling” content to remote and/or mobile devices, in fact the majority rely on their Slingbox to placeshift around the home.

It worked, sure, but after a networking blip that saw me unplug everything from the router (and come close to throwing it through the window, though that’s a different story) the Slingbox never got plugged back in, and we didn’t really miss it.

Instead, we’re relying on a mixture of on-demand streaming and downloads. Hulu and Netflix are blocked here in the UK, but we do get BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD, the streaming versions of the main networks. All have back catalogs of varying sizes, which can often help out when you’re in “but there’s nothing to watch” mode. The BBC even offers live streaming, in time with its regular broadcasts: if there’s something we simply have to watch as it happens, we can stream it in real-time, as if we were using an antenna.

The gaps get filled by rentals and downloads, though streaming rental services are still behind what’s on offer in North America. We abandoned our Lovefilm subscription – basically the European equivalent of Netflix – a year or so ago, since we were never organized enough to arrange for DVDs to be mailed out. In the meantime it’s started offering streaming content, but the selection is still poor. Hopefully, now that Amazon has acquired Lovefilm, that will begin to change, but if content owners want to replace piracy like BitTorrent with legitimate, paid services, they need to start offering content in a timely and affordable manner.

The odd DVD and some YouTube clips, and our digital home entertainment is pretty much complete. Best of all, we now generally actively choose what to watch, rather than slumping in front of whatever’s showing and zoning out.

Next step is an HTPC, which will liberate the laptop and hopefully save me from walking over to the TV every time I want to change the “channel.” Is this setup for everyone? No, not yet: iPlayer, 4oD and other services are good, but the UI still falls short of picking a channel from a cable or digibox GUI. Sometimes there’s a show we’d like to watch, but whoever screened it on broadcast TV didn’t also secure the streaming rights, and so it’s not available online. They’re the times Hulu Plus and similar start looking tempting (or, indeed, less legitimate options like torrenting).

Still, it’s getting better all the time, and that’s movement in the right direction. Anybody else out there finding they’ve been liberated from their broadcast, cable or satellite service?

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I Ditched Scheduled TV for On-Demand is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
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