Mitsubishi 149 iSP Series LCDs Loaded With 16 Speakers Up Front

Mitsubishi's 149 iSP series LCDs have a 16-speaker sound bar built-in for people who are too lazy (like me) or don't know how (like my parents) to set up a home theater. The integrated Sound Projector, as it's called, sends sound flying around the walls to act like surround sound—in my experience, it was way better than typical front speaker-only setups but didn't match the immersive feeling of true surround.

One great thing about the set is that you can change the way it does sound depending on room size and TV placement using simple menu options. Oh yeah, and the picture on the 120Hz set wasn't bad either. The 149 comes in two flavors, a 46" for $3300 and a 52" for $3700, out soon.

Mercedes-Benz aiming to ditch petroleum by 2015?

While Audi is over there planning to produce an electric car within the next decade, Mercedes-Benz is hoping to be completely petro free within seven years. At least that's the word according to a recent report in The Sun. Dr. Herbert Kohler, who is responsible for Mercedes' advanced engineering, has reportedly suggested that "by 2015 motorists will have switched almost completely to alternative fuel cars." In order to make sure it's not left out, the automaker already has an electric car in the works for 2010 as well as plans to use its DiesOtto engine which will give motorists the ability to use biofuels should they choose. Still, aiming to phase petroleum completely out of its lineup by 2015 sounds overly ambitious from here, but we certainly won't complain if it achieves said goal.

ASUS' bigger, badder Eee PC 904 and 905 in the chute?

The price isn't the only thing swelling on ASUS' Eee PC. According to DigiTimes' proven ASUS sources, bigger Eee PC 904 and 905 models are cueing up for release. In a return to the Eee PC salad days of the big bezel, the new models will slot the same 8.9-inch display found in the 901 into a larger, Eee PC 1000-esque chassis with proportionally larger keyboard. Decisions about battery and storage have not yet been finalized although the new models would be priced similar to the 900 and 901 which they would ultimately replace.

Roadscan Drive Recorder: Like a Black Box For Your Car

There are few things in this world that are more infuriating than getting into a car accident—but one of those things would definitely be getting into an accident where the blame is being disputed. For the innocent party, a Roadscan Drive Recorder could be indispensable. The device mounts easily on your windshield or rearview mirror, and will continuously record graphical 3D-G accelerations data. If you happen to get into an accident, it will save the digital video starting 14 seconds before the incident and 6 seconds after—so you would be armed with all of the data you need to dispute a ticket. Or totally incriminate yourself.

Unitek's SATA HDD Dock throws in multicard reader, one-touch backup

If you've managed to blink over the past few weeks, you may have missed it. Missed what, you ask? The war between no name HDD racks, that's what. After numerous evolutions of the HDD Stage Rack managed to capture the hearts of at least a few storage junkies out there, we've seen a barrage of competitors surface over at Brando. The latest is Unitek's SATA HDD Multi-Function Dock with One Touch Backup, which -- to be totally frank -- does a phenomenal job of explaining itself. For those a touch slow on the uptake, this unit enables any internal 2.5- / 3.5-inch SATA drive to be accessed externally, and furthermore, it packs a couple of USB 2.0 ports and supports a whole slew of memory cards. You could grab this one now for $53, but then again, you never know what will leapfrog it next week.

Eee PC 901 and 1000 to ship in US on July 8?

We've gotten just about as much info on the Eee PC 901 and 1000 as we can handle, but we've been missing that most important piece of data until now: a US release date. That might be about to change, though, as ASUS's pre-sales department has apparently been telling people that the 901 and 1000 will ship on July 8th. Of course, that's not a firm commitment, and ship dates have been known to slip, but if you've been waiting to cold-cock that piggy bank, well, let the countdown begin.

NASA creates hyperwall-2, the world's highest resolution visualization system

Leave it to space nerds with money to come up with the world's highest resolution visualization system. NASA's Advanced Supercomputing Division at Ames has created the 128-screen hyperwall-2, a mega display capable of rendering one quarter billion pixels. Hyperwall-2 measures 23- x 10-feet of LCD goodness, and is powered by 128 GPUs and 1,024 processor cores with 74 teraflops of peak processing power. To top things off, 475 terabytes of storage keep the system rolling. All in all, hyperwall-2 has more than 100 times the processing power of its poor predecessor, hyperwall, from 2002. The elder hyperwall was unavailable for comment and is most likely on an alcoholic bender somewhere, complaining about "kids these days."

Medion's Atom-powered Akoya Mini laptop now on sale

Here's a peculiar one. Medion's Akoya Mini -- you know, just one of the legions of low-cost laptops you've barely heard of -- is finally on sale after being showcased at Computex. But it's not the mere fact of being on sale that's intriguing; for whatever reason, Medion has decided to offer the unit up in Austria's Hofer, which is the foreign equivalent of America's Aldi. So you know, while you're browsing around picking up a few bits of produce and a 20-pack of Fun Dip, why not snag a 10-inch netbook for €399 ($628) to round things out?

O2 showcases pedal-powered cellphone charger

Motorola so had this down pat last year, but we suppose O2 is just showcasing its pedal-powered charging system now that such devices are all the rage. Just days after we had a look at two unorthodox chargers from Orange, along comes rival O2 with a bicycle-related alternative. Reportedly, the eco-friendly device will be demonstrated at the O2 Wireless Festival in London's Hyde Park, but unfortunately, each of the demo bikes will be stationary. Still no word on whether O2 has a mind to take this thing commercial, but for cyclists the world over, here's to hoping it does.

Dual-Screen Ebook Developed, Navigates in Real Page-Turn Style

Sure the Kindle is fab, and printed media may soon be "dead"... but ebooks really don't feel quite as good the real thing do they? A science team from Maryland and Berkeley Universities noted that we do much more sophisticated navigation when we read a real book than is offered by current ebooks, so they've designed an advanced prototype with two pages. It works like a normal book, with page turning maneuvers to get to the new page, and you can even fold it back into a single-page version, or separate the pages to share info with someone else, as the video shows.

The team demonstrated their prototype at the recent CHI08 human factors in computing conference. It seems like a natural progression of the ebook device, and has gone down well with test readers. The main complaint seems to be the weight of the prototype makes it tricky to use: and that's something easily fixed in a commercial variant. In fact, if Kindle2 was something like this, I may even be tempted to take my book collection into the digital realm, in the same way as my CDs and DVDs.

Chrysler confirms in-car Wi-Fi coming next year

Chrysler had vaguely said that it would be bringing in-car WiFi to its 2009 lineup, and but some more details have been released today: the system will be part of the next-gen UConnect system, feature a 3G-to-WiFi router hidden within the car and require a monthly subscription fee to use the service. Chrysler says the system will run at 600-800kbps down and 200kbps up, and should work with game consoles in vehicles with rear-seat monitors. It's still not clear whether Chrysler will run the service as its own MNVO or use another provider directly, but pricing is expected to be similar to WLAN PC cards, and there shouldn't be any long-term contracts involved. Alright, BMW, your move.

Getting dirty with Mio's Knight Rider GPS

We may be a little overexcited about Mio's Knight Rider GPS unit, but we're not about to apologize for that. This is one beautiful union of KITT and navigation that was meant to happen since the day LCDs and GPS chips first hung out. With that out of the way, we have some hands-on impressions.

The unit feels solid and small enough to be portable while the screen remains just big enough to be of use. A nice anti-glare coating looks to keep things visible during daylight hours. Yes, standard fare.

Peep the gallery below and don't miss the video after the break.

Gallery: Mio's Knight Rider GPS hands-on

But wait! Startup. Oh, startup. Complete with KITT's scanner and flashing red lights, the Mio's bootup is almost worth the $269 price alone. As for interface, you're looking at standard Mio fare here, which means it's nothing amazing nor is it a disaster. Truth be told, it could be a bit faster, but this was a test unit we were looking at, so we'll give that a pass for now.

Mio has loaded the unit with over 300 names, and we were able to find one of ours in the long list -- hearing William Daniels say our name fulfilled at least half of hour childhood dreams.

In short, the Mio Knight Rider GPS won't change the world of navigation, but it will certainly make some wannabe Michael Knights wish they were driving a Trans Am.

Mercedes-Benz introduces new iPhone integration kit

Mercedes-Benz's current iPod integration kit is pretty weak sauce, especially since the new COMAND nav / multimedia system is so well done, but it looks like the automaker's newest iPhone cradle will take steps to address some of the more glaring issues and also add some interesting new features. The cradle appears to finally integrate iPod controls with the main nav screen and COMAND controller instead of relying solely on the instrument display and steering wheel controls, and it will charge your phone while allowing you to make calls and listen to music. On top of that, plugging the phone in will apparently increase reception by using the vehicle's antennas as well as the iPhone's, and from what we can tell, you'll be able to access the contacts list as well -- something MB's current Bluetooth system doesn't allow.

Microsoft launches Windows Embedded NavReady 2009 GPS operating system

Not content with dominating the PC and smartphone market in the realm of operating systems, Microsoft has apparently now set its sights on PNDs. Today the folks in Redmond announced a new OS aimed directly at GPS units, dubbed Windows Embedded NavReady 2009. The software is based on Windows Embedded CE, and combines navigation tools enriched with Live Search, MSN Direct, and Windows SideShow integration, coupled with an emphasis on Bluetooth connectivity. The company says that the system is shipping to OEMs and developers as we speak, which will yield consumer devices in time for the 2008 holiday season.

"No-Key" Glass Touch-Keyboard is Antithesis of Steampunk

This concept from designer Kong Fanwen lies somewhere between minimalist Apple keyboards, and projecting laser touch ones. The No-Key is very simple: just a light source, a camera and an etched sheet of glass, showing the key positions. You just type, the cam sees your contact with the glass and sends appropriate commands to your PC. It really is the antithesis of the clunky, complex steampunked one we showed the other day. And one image suggests it'd be waterproof, so... blogging from the bath? I want one please!

HDD Stage Rack evolves again: now holds twice the hard drives

Oh, brother -- here we go again. For the third time this year, the iconic HDD Stage Rack has evolved into something bigger, badder and more useful than the last edition. The latest version is dubbed the Double HDD Rack eSATA and USB, which predictably includes twice the slots for storing hard drives. You can shove a 2.5- and 3.5-inch SATA drive in just before enjoying the twin eSATA ports and single USB 2.0 jack, but unfortunately, you'll have to hand over a whopping $107.56 in order to do so.

Yahoo Go 3.0 Beta

All in all it is an interesting application for mobile. The basic gist of the app is that all the information is navigated through small mobile "widgets". You scroll thru them and when you launch a widget, you get a specialized version of the site or service off which the widget is based. Lets start with the interface:

The custom UI (carousel motif) is fun to use and is nice looking. It’s actually a refreshing UI. You can tell they spent a lot of time working out this motif.

There is a library of widgets available inside the app itself, from which you can choose to your liking or need. It also looks like there is an SDK that developers or companies can use to create these widgets.

I noticed that most of the "Yahoo Developed" widgets I tried were reliable. I didn’t have as much luck with some of the 3rd party ones, like Facebook and Trapster. Additionally, I had initially installed a MySpace widget, that ceased to work and was mysteriously no longer in the widget library when I tried to re-install it (thought is is still advertised at the download site as one of the flagship widgets–I can only assume there are contract or technical issues pending).

The Wikipedia Widget is probably the most useful one, to me. It does a nice job of parsing and formatting the info.

As for all their news feeds widget… eh, I am probably more likely to use a mobile rss reader like mDigger or Viigo, but it’s nice to have the option to add some news.

The maps widget didn’t work with my GPS service and didn’t seem as useful to me as say, Google Maps or Windows Live search. Additionally, I couldn’t find a "full Screen" toggle for the maps, but I will keep looking.

Bottom line

While it has some issues, it’s important to remember that this is a Beta, and that it’s FREE. They obviously have some things to fix, and hopefully the politics over at Yahoo right now won’t get in the way of finishing this little app. It’s definitely more of a "consumer" app and not really a "power user" app, in my mind. I would use it for certain things, but probably not as my mobile hub (which is how I think they are pushing it).