Today, November 24, fans of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” will be able to witness the season 9 finale of the show. During the show they will notice Grandstream Networks’ GXV3140 IP Multimedia Phone, a communication device that’s going to be showcased tomorrow.

Now I don’t have any problems with gadgets being advertised in popular TV shows. We see that every day and it’s something we have gotten used to over the years. What I have a problem is the gadget itself. So bear with me for a couple of minutes and I will be more than happy to explain.

The GXV3140 IP Multimedia Phone is not a mobile phone but a phone made for your home. Furthermore the phone is not just a simple phone but a smartphone for home. That’s right, in a world where landlines are losing more and more marketshare a home smartphone wouldn’t exactly be something I’d want to buy.

In all fairness to the device and its maker, I will say that the GXV3140 comes with some interesting features which you could very well take advantage of once you chose to get it. It has a 4.3-inch LCD screen, an integrated web browser, one-touch access to RSS feeds, Internet radio support, social networking support for Facebook and Twitter, and support for Internet streaming from various sites.

Although remarkable for such a phone, the features offered aren’t special in any way. I’d definitely use a laptop or desktop instead of the GXV3140 in order to browse the Internet, stream video and audio files or check Facebook and Twitter updates. And I’d definitely use my cell phone whenever I need to make calls and send messages to friends and family.

Let’s face it folks, home phones and landlines are slowly dying and we’re going to use smarter phones instead. Sure a phone like this could be used by various companies which still rely on regular phones to communicate. But a phone filled with such features will affect overall production as employees will use it extensively to check out Facebook and Twitter instead of doing what their supposed to.

What about you? Do you still use regular phones?grandstream GXV3140 phone
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LG has decided to launch the X120 in the USA today. Thus LG has announced its first netbook for U.S. consumers, so let’s take a brief look at it.

The LG X120 is finally ready to be purchased by American customers and the netbook has some special features to offer. The machine was announced in Korea earlier this summer and it’s about time it became available in more markets.

The LG X120 is a 10.1-inch netbook that weighs only 2.8lbs but it’s ready to meet your computing needs while you’re on the go. The netbook comes with a LED backlit 10.1-inch LCD, 1GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, a built-in 1.3-megapixel camera, HD stereo speakers, Wi-Fi connectivity, 3G HSDPA support and Windows XP running in the background. The X120 also has a great battery capable of delivering 7-hours of life. You’ll certainly appreciate that battery next time you’re stuck waiting in an airport or on a longer than expected trip.

Ehtisham Rabbani, vice president of product strategy and marketing for LG Mobile Phones, had this to say about the X120 netbook:

We created the LG X120 to allow consumers to stay connected on their own terms. The Smart On(TM) button puts consumers seconds away from the fun stuff such as showing off your vacation photos or picking your fantasy football line-up.

The LG X120 will be available for purchase in Radio Shack stores nationwide or online. You can also get it from AT&T stores bundled with a new 2-year AT&T DataConnect service agreement of at least $60 per month. In that case the X120 will only cost $179.99 and, for that subsidized price, AT&T will let you use up to 5GB of data traffic per month and access its 20,000 Wi-Fi Hot Spots for free.

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According to as yet unconfirmed rumours the owners of the HTC HD2 (formerly known as the HTC Leo) can look forward to a free upgrade to the Windows Mobile 7 OS when WinMo 7 becomes available next year.

Expected to be announced at the Mobile World Congress to be held in February 2010, whilst the WinMo 7 upgrade is yet to be confirmed it seems wholly viable as the HTC HD2 has the distinction of being the first phone to meet all the hardware requirements laid done by Microsoft for its new iteration Windows Mobile – specifically meeting with MS’s Chassis 1 specifications.

Whilst information concerning the purported free WinMo 7 HTC HD2 is pretty space as at the time of writing, MsMobiles additionally reports that as such upgrade will be an “official upgrade from HTC, not a hacked ROM from PPCGeeks or Xda-dev” though the site does no qualify this by offering any indication as to the source of this information. Still, being that the HTC HD2 is an enormously popular phone, added to the fact that from a hardware standpoint its ‘WinMo 7 ready’ and taking the (again unconfirmed) rumours concerning the HTC HS2 being due to hit T-Mobile in the US sometime in Q1 2010 into account there’s little doubt that such an upgrade would very much work in favour of HTC’s 4.3” already highly desirable capacitive touchscreen smartphone.

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When the Google Maps Navigation software was announced for Android phones just a few weeks ago, those of you who carry Android phones outside the United States probably quickly realized one thing – that Google Maps Navigation doesn’t work for you. Until now, that is.

The European forum XDA Developers featured a post where a cunning user posted a series of codes that need to be input into your Android device that will enable Google Maps Navigation, the turn-by-turn TomTom killer software on phones outside the United States.

Google never released any reasons why the Google Maps Navigation software was only limited to the United States, keeping Canada and Europe in the cold, but non-Americans across the blogosphere have confirmed that the workaround works.

XDA’s forum went down in all the buzz surrounding this release, but Gadget Venue posted a clip of the code needed to enable this functionality. It appears to work by some ROM modifications, followed by a hacked version of the app being installed.
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Dell has realized this year that it can’t miss out on the smartphone business especially with a hot OS like Android available out there. And the company has been busy developing an Android handset for the Chinese market. The Dell Mini 3i isn’t a secret anymore and earlier today it became official. According to the press release, the Dell Mini 3i will be available “later this month” and China Mobile is the carrier that will launch it.

China Mobile is a powerful carrier in China and, with 500 million subscribers, it’s the largest mobile operator in the world. No wonder that Dell wants a piece of that action. So what does the Mini 3i have to offer? Here’s the official specs list of the device:

* China Mobile OPhone OS (custom Android version)
* Quadband GSM/EDGE
* 3G support
* 3.5-inch touchscreen
* 3-megapixel camera with zoom, auto-focus, flash and video capture
* Bluetooth
* microSD support for up to 32GB of storage
* miniUSB port
* Dimensions: 58.35 x 122 x 11.7
* Weight: 105g

Michael Yang, vice president and general manager for Greater China Consumer of Dell had this to say about the phone:

People today want to carry their lives with them – they want to discover, capture and share new content as they roam around the world. We believe Dell’s year-long development collaboration with China Mobile will amplify those experiences better than anyone else in the industry.

He might be right about the way people see smartphones today and that seems to be an indication that Dell will not make phones only for China. In fact we already know that the company is going to launch a Dell Mini 3i version in the USA and other markets. But that version hasn’t been officially announced yet and we might not even see it in stores this year.

The Dell Mini 3i doesn’t have a price yet, so all those China Mobile subscribers will have to wait until their carrier announces them later this month.

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For those out of the know, Drobos are data storage devices, that feature multiple hard drive bays and allow you to hot swap drives on the fly and features extensive automated data redundancy backup features. They’ve been extremely popular, despite mild critism about the transfer speeds and the lack of an Ethernet port (stopping you from using one as a self-contained NAS unit). Today, Drobo manufacture Data Robotics unveiled two new Drobo models, both serving different niches.

The first new Drobo is the high-end business DroboElite. The DroboElite has 8 hard drive bays, and with only 2 Ethernet connections, which pretty much orients it for the enterprise marketplace. The DroboElite can support unto 16 different hosts using data off of it with 255 different volumes onboard.

It’s a pretty impressive piece of computer hardware, but with the lack of a USB or Firewire port, and the hefty price tag of $3,500, that makes it clear that this one is for the Enterprise marketplaces.

The Drobo S is the new consumer-based model. Data Robotics addressed one of the key complaints with the original Drobo by improving the speed of the unit in the back end (with Engadget reporting 20 to 25% performance improvement). Where the original Drobo had 4 HDD bays, the new Drobo S adds a fifth, which allows for more data redundancy options when backing up your files on the Drobo. Like the first Drobo, the Drobo S features a USB and Firewire connection.

The smaller Drobo S will retail for $800. Drobos aren’t cheap, but they are fairly impressive for what they do. If you only need 4 hard drive bays, the original Drobo may be enough for you at only $400. Data Robitics also has various deals if you order a Drobo bundled with hard drives from them.
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The Samsung Omnia II has just become official. Just like we told you a few days ago, the phone has been properly announced by Verizon Wireless. The Omnia II will be available in stores starting with December 2 for $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and with a new two-year contract.

Samsung Omnia II is a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone and it will be interesting to see how it will perform especially now when Android phones seem to dominate the end of the year. If you ask me, we need to see more Windows Mobile 6.5 handsets even if Microsoft’s latest mobile OS isn’t as hot as we would like it to be. The Omnia II is probably one of the best Windows Mobile 6.5 phones available right now, and the only phone that can contend that spot at the moment is the HTC HD2.

So let’s officially see what the Omnia II will offer:

* 3.7-inch ultra-brilliant touchscreen; widescreen AMOLED display
* Virtual QWERTY keyboard with Swype technology
* Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional
* Samsung’s TouchWiz 2.0 UI
* 3G Support
* Verizon Wireless services: V CAST Music with Rhapsody, V CAST Video on Demand, V CAST Song ID, Visual Voice Mail, VZW Tones, VZ NavigatorSM
* 5.0-megapixel camera with flash, autofocus and video recording
* 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi
* 8GB internal memory
* Up to 16GB microSD memory card
* Bluetooth

There’s no doubt about it, the Omnia II is a great smartphone. Sure it might not be able to fight against the iPhone yet but it can definitely successfully compete against some of the best phones launched so far.

If you’re looking to buy a smartphone right now then you’re facing a very difficult choice. The iPhone 3GS is still selling very well but there are other hot phones to choose from: the Motorola Droid, the Samsung Omnia II, the HTC HD2, the BlackBerry Storm2 and the BlackBerry Bold 9700. What would you rather buy this Christmas?
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Kenwood have officially unveiled their latest DAP in the form of the Kenwood MG-F500 which is very much an entry level digital audio player which will impress few with its somewhat limited audio file format support and its lack of video playback capabilities (then again, this is a DAP as opposed to a PMP so video should hardly be expected).

The Kenwood MG-F500 comes with a 2” color TFT display and, whilst the internal storage capacities on offer are pretty paltry – the MG-F500 will be offered up in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB models only – its saving grace, in this respect at least, is that it also comes with an onboard microSD/SDHC slot allowing you to add additional capacity on and over the limited capacity on offer.

In terms of audio file support, however, the Kenwood MG-F500 fails to impress as you’re looking at the device supporting MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV audio file formats only – no OGG, no AAC no FLAC or APE. That’s said, where the Kenwood MG-F500 does manage to impress is in terms of its endurance as it’ll purportedly run for a fairly impressive 50 hours on a single charge.

Kenwood have not offered any indication concerning the MG-F500’s pricing for any of the three variants to be offered at this juncture but, with the above in mind, its reasonable to assume that we’re looking at it coming in at especially budget-friendly price points (possibly sub $100?).
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Whilst details at this stage are fairly thin on the ground, we do, at least, have some details confirmed regarding the 2011 Intel Atom CPU, which is set to succeed the up and coming Pine Trail Atom, which offers a tantalising insight as to where the future of Intel’s highly successful Atom processor, which is under the hood of just about every netbook and nettop currently available, is headed.

The new 2011 Intel Atom, which, is codenamed “Cedarview” whilst, as a platform, goes by the codename “Cedar Trail”, is reported to be based on a 32 nanometer manufacturing process and is said to be set to support DirectX 10 3D graphics processing as well as offering HD video output whilst additionally offering up dual digital output that’s see both DisplayPort and HDMI, as well as older formats, suitably catered for.

Further highlights will include a new memory controller offering DDR3 memory support (specifically DDR3 1066 – as catered for by Intel’s Core i7 CPU).
The new Atom Cedar Trail platform is expected to hit in 2011 though its already set to be replaced by the next iteration, which is set to utilise a 22 nanometer manufacturing process, sometime in 2013 – but, as yet, there’s no specific details as to what that’ll bring to the table.

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We’ve seen out fair share of novel (aka wacky) USB flash drives here at TFTS and now we have another distinctive flash drive to all to our collection in the form of this USB Grenade Flash Drive, which has just become available from ThinkGeek.
Offering USB 2.0 connectivity, the ThinkGeek USB Grenade Flash Drive youts 8GB of capacity, comes with a flip off connector cover and measures in at around 32 x 32 x 57mm.

ThinkGeek’s product listing explains the USB Grenade Flash Drive thus:
Pull the plug and lob your old flash drive out your window (preferably after you’ve backed up the files, but who are we to tell you what to do?). Store your most valuable and portable files inside a grenade for maximum style points. Unleash that little evil part of yourself that wants to blow up your coworkers. That annoying guy three cubes down want the same files you’ve already emailed him 30 times? Pull the plug on your grenade and fling it into his cube. It won’t blow up, but at least a grenade to the head might make him reconsider the next time he wants to bug you about something…
The USB Grenade Flash Drive is available as of now and will set you back just shy of $40.
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If you’ve been lusting over Apple’s mulittouch capable Magic Mouse (we’re with you on that, incidentally) but you’re a Windows user you may have consigned any thoughts of using the Apple Magic Mouse with your current setup to the back of your mind but now, thanks to a strictly unofficial hack of Apple’s latest Bluetooth update, you can happily pair up the Magic Mouse with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.

Provided by UneasySilence, the Windows Magic mouse drivers are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions though you’ll need to splash out $70 to obtain the Magic Mouse in the first place, obviously.
You can get your hands on the Magic Mouse Windows drivers via the UneasySilence webpage and, should you give them a go, we’d love to hear your feedback – how do they work for you, is there any functionality issues?

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Ever want to own a (supposed) piece of cell phone history? An alleged engineering prototype of the Motorola Droid has shown up on eBay, with a starting bid of $485. The Droid, which runs Google’s Android 2.0 OS, was released earlier this month, with a price of $200 (subsided with a service plan, of course) by American provider Verizon.

According to the eBay listing, the prototype is ‘a pre-release verison’ and ‘was made strictly for Motorola engineers’. The seller doesn’t exactly speculate on where he got the phone, but judging by the wording of the eBay listing, he doesn’t appear to be a Motorola engineer.

The seller says the phone is ‘working perfectly’ and can be used with an cellular network. The pictures of the operating system appear to be running the regular version of Google Android. If you were even concerned, it comes with a phone charger. Despite the seller’s claims that the phone works well, he does say can’t guarantee it will work perfectly.

This really appears to be the real deal. The pictures on the eBay listing show the phone looks slightly different from the off-the-shelf one and instead of the provider logo near the mouthpiece, the phone features an apt warning, “Confidental: Motorola Restricted Property: Not For Sale”. Ooops.

Note that this probably isn’t a debug unit that will let you hack into Verizon’s network and cause havoc, it simply appears to be a pre-release regular unit. Despite some mild coverage over the tech blogosphere today, there STILL aren’t any bids, so if you’re interested in paying more for a regular Motorola Droid, albeit one with an interesting story, then you better fire up that PayPal account.
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