Palm PREpares for launch, LG claims world’s thinnest LCD TV

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Sprint announced this week that the Palm Pre will be available in the US on June 6.  The QWERTY smartphone, which is based on Palm’s new operating system webOS, comes with a touch interface and a 3.1-inch display.  We first saw the Pre when it was unveiled at the Consumer Electonics show in January. With a feature called Universal Search users can start typing on the keyboard to begin searching for contacts or applications. If it doesn’t find anything on the phone it gives the user the option of choosing from a list of sites to search, including Google and Wikipedia. For charging, the company offers a wireless option.

For those who don’t purchase the wireless charger, there is plug in power.

On the hardware side, the phone has support for EV-DO Rev A, 802.11 b and g, GPS (Global Positioning System), Bluetooth, a 3-megapixel camera with LED flash and 8GB of built-in storage, but no memory card slot. The phone can be picked up in Sprint stores, Best Buy, Radio Shack, select Wal-Mart stores and online at It will cost about 200 US dollars with a 2 year contract and after a 100 dollar mail in rebate.

So we saw how the Palm Pre can wirelessly charge, but Sony is getting ready to cut the cord on transferring your data. We first saw TransferJet at CES 2008 and the technology took a further step towards commercialization this week when Sony said it would begin accepting applications from companies interested in licensing the system. TransferJet is a data transmission technology developed by Sony that allows information to be exchanged between gadgets by simply placing them close to each other.

The technology can send data at speeds of up to 375 mega bits per second over distances of a few centimeters. That speed rivals USB 2 and Firewire. Backers include major camera and handset makers like Samsung, Toshiba, Kodak, Nikon, Pioneer and Sony Ericsson. We’ll keep you posted on more developments.

On Tuesday South Korea’s LG Display unveiled what it claims to be the world’s thinnest LCD television. The 42 and 47 inch LCD TV panels measure only 5.9 mm thick and use an edge-lit LED backlight instead of the commonly used CCFL or cold cathode fluorescent lamp.

That means that the LEDs are built into the edge of the panel and shine light towards the center of the screen. The 42 inch model weighs just over 6 kilograms and the 47 inch just under 7 and a half.  The panels use120 hertz technology with a motion picture response time of 8 miliseconds, which according to the company, eliminates motion blur. The TVs have full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. LG Display has not announced pricing or availability on the new 42 or 47 inch televisions.

Last week at Microsoft’s Tech Ed conference in Los Angeles the company showed off Windows 7 and encouraged users to try the release candidate. The company even went as far as saying that users testing Vista should abandon that effort for the Windows 7 release candidate.

Bill Veghte, Senior vice president, Windows
But I get a lot of questions around where you are in your deployment cycle.  If you’re deploying Windows Vista you’ll be taking advantage of the security and the manageability and productivity advancements that we got there. We are going to protect that investment for you. If you are just starting your testing of Vista, with the release candidate and the quality of that offereing, I would switch over and do your testing on the release candidate and use that going forward. If you’re waiting for Windows 7, holiday availability is what we’re tracking towards and obviously quality is number one.

There have been rumors that the company would abandon Vista once 7 ships, but Microsoft said last month that it will continue until at least January 2011 selling Vista to computer makers, system builders, volume licenses and consumers.

The next time you receive an email message in a language you don’t understand, Google can help.  On Tuesday, the company announced that Gmail users can now automatically translate messages they receive into 41 languages.  Individual Gmail users and those in the Apps Standard Edition can turn on this feature by going to the “settings” menu and clicking on the “Labs” tab, which is where Google places experimental features that the company warns “may change, break or disappear at any time.”

Once an email is received, users can toggle between the original version and the translated copy. Google acknowledges that its machine translation technology isn’t perfect, but maintains that, even if mistakes creep into the text, recipients should be able, at the least, to get the gist of a message.

Last month when I was at the New York International Auto Show, we got to take a look at a luxury plug-in hybrid car called the Fisker Karma. That car now has a dealer in Silicon Valley and was on display Monday in San Jose.

HENRIK FISKER, CEO, FISKER AUTOMOTIVE: “The way this car works is, the first 50 miles you drive every day is pure electric — that means zero emissions. You can go all the way up to 95 miles an hour on electric. So you can go on the freeway, you can go in the city. And after 50 miles, you can go as far as you want, because then a small generator starts generating electricity. It’s turned by an gasoline engine. And then you just drive like a normal car, a normal hybrid vehicle.”

The Karma has a top speed of 125 miles per hour and can go from 0 to 60 in 6 seconds.  Charging will take about three and a half to four hours and Coulomb (cool-um) Technologies is building an international network of charging stations, called ChargePoint. There are only about 100 stations so far, but the company says it will have 30-thousand or so within a few years.  The four-door Karma will come first and cost about 88-thousand US dollars, followed by the shapely two-door convertible in 2011.

Well that’s our show…thanks for joining us here on World Tech Update. Next week we’ll have reports on prototypes from the MIT Media Lab and of course all the latest tech news.  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Twitter to find out what’s coming up. As we head out this week we’ll leave you with video of the launch parties for T-Mobiles new Sidekick LX.  I’m Nick Barber and for all of us here at the IDG News Service thanks for watching and we hope to see you next week.

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