Navigon brings gratis real-time traffic updates to entire product line

In a move that we can only hope signals a trend, GPS maker Navigon has announced that real-time traffic updates will now be free for all users of its wares. For awhile now, the outfit has offered gratis traffic updates on its higher-end models, but now, it's taking the Free Real-Time Traffic Updates for Life program to each navigation system it produces. There's no extra hardware to buy, no hidden fees -- just good, clean, free traffic updates. What's not to love?

Hands-on with LG's X110 netbook: HSDPA, GPS and a price to match

A USB shuffle here, a logo swap there and here's what you get, the MSI, uh hem, LG X110. Sporting a fairly obvious MSI Wind base, LG's X110 is making its first appearance in Berlin. Prices will range from €399 to €499 (about $590 to $738) which takes home an 8.9-inch display, 120GB disk (6GB SSD option), 1GB of RAM, and choice of built-in 3G HSDPA and GPS modules. Yes, XP running atop a 1.6GHz Atom processor, too. On sale in Europe at the end of September.

Navigon intros the 7200T, shows off 3D signage and landmarks

Navigon has just dropped it's latest satnav baby on us -- the 7200T -- and it comes with an extra side of slick... like, gooey slick. Upping it's game a touch, the device sports a redesigned OS which incorporates real-time traffic updates (free of charge over FM via Clear Channel's Total Traffic Network) as well as "Reality View Pro" and and "Landmark View 3D," the former designed to whip up some photo-realistic 3D signage when you need to make a move, and the latter aimed at helping you notice the little things in life... like the Chrysler building. The unit features a 4.3-inch, 16:9 touchscreen display, 2GB of flash storage, a SiRF GRF3i+ GPS chip, microSD card support, 64MB of RAM, and it all runs atop a Centrality Titan I 600MHz CPU. The 7200T is slated for an October release, and will clock in at $449.

Is GPS a high-tech crime-fighting tool or Big Brother?

It's the stuff crime movies are made of: Determined police officers shadowing their suspect as he drives around town, watching and waiting for his next move, always careful not to lose him.

David Lee Foltz Jr. faces trial on abduction and sexual battery charges after police tracked him using GPS.

But now, investigators can track a potential bad guy without ever leaving their desks, thanks to the Global Positioning System, or GPS.

The technology is easy to use and the devices are hard to detect.

All police have to do is attach a GPS receiver to a suspect's car and they easily go along for the ride online, tracking the individual's exact location in real time from their computer.

"I think it's a good use of resources. It doesn't put any officers in danger, which is a good thing," said Mike Brooks, a CNN security enforcement analyst and a former Washington police detective.

"You can sit at a computer and find exactly where [a suspect] goes."

But because investigators often track without a warrant, privacy advocates say the tactic threatens to monitor innocent people as well.

"Law enforcement has a legitimate right to try to solve crimes and track suspects, provided that there are protections so that the innocent are not improperly snooped upon," said Norman Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

He wondered how many people would be comfortable knowing that police could attach something to their car and be able track their whereabouts 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

A recent case illustrates how investigators use the technology.

Court documents show Fairfax County, Virginia, police followed David Lee Foltz Jr. without a warrant in February by placing a GPS device inside the bumper of his van.

Police began watching Foltz, who had previously been convicted of rape, after 11 attacks on women in the area where he lived, The Washington Post reported.

Foltz is facing trial, charged with abduction and sexual battery. He is charged in connection with an attack that happened after the monitoring began, according to the Post.

The attacks stopped after his arrest in February, the newspaper reported.

Foltz's attorney tried to get the GPS evidence thrown out of court. Chris Leibig wouldn't discuss the case with CNN, but said the tracking constituted illegal search and seizure, a violation of his client's Fourth Amendment right.

"Our main point with this is that before installing a GPS tracking device secretly on someone's vehicle, a judicial officer should make the decision about how much evidence is good enough, how long the tracking can be for, and the parameters of the tracking," Leibig said.

"I want to point out it's very easy to get a warrant if the police have a good reason, it doesn't take a long time, and if there is a real reason, the warrant will be granted."

Leibig described GPS tracking as more intrusive than just an investigator following someone down the street.

"It's a lot more like a police officer tagging along inside your car, an invisible police officer inside your car," Leibig said.

Despite Leibig's motion to suppress, a judge has allowed the evidence to be used at Foltz's trial this October, The Washington Post reported.

Police involved in the case would only say there is an internal review before GPS tracking can be used. Many privacy advocates say that's not enough.

The Supreme Court has yet to address GPS tracking without warrants, so the legal standards vary from state to state. Most allow it or haven't ruled on it. Courts in Washington and Oregon, however, have ruled police need a warrant before using GPS.

"It's a wonderful tool for law enforcement," Reimer said.

"The question always comes down to how much are we willing to give up in freedom and privacy for how much marginal increase in our security."

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Nokia Looking Ahead to AMOLED Screens

Nokia is already planning for the days when its products will include active matrix OLED displays, instead of LED ones.

The Finnish phone giant has not yet released any models with AMOLED screens, but it is requiring any company that supplies it with displays of any kind to have plans to produce AMOLED products in the future, according to DigiTimes. This includes putting Research and Development money into them.

More about AMOLED

OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays take advantage of the fact that some organic compounds glow when an electrical current is applied to them. This means there is no need of a backlight, as the individual pixels provide their own light. This allows OLED screens to be thinner and lighter than standard LEDs. Colors also tend to be more vivid.

Active-matrix OLEDs (AMOLED) require a thin film transistor backplane to turn each pixel on or off, and can make higher-resolution and larger size displays possible.

First USB 3.0 demos at IDF next week?

Santa Clara (CA) – Intel today sent out a press release stating that its “Extensible Host Controller Interface (xHCI) draft specification revision 0.9 in support of the USB 3.0 architecture, also known as SuperSpeed USB” is now available. This move not only clears some confusion over claims that Intel may be withholding USB 3.0 specifications, but also indicates that we should be able to see first USB 3.0 demonstrations at next week’s IDF in San Francisco.

Intel’s xHCI debuts with USB 3.0 and provides hardware component designers, system builders and device driver developers with a description of the hardware/software interface between system software and the host controller hardware for USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 (previous versions are not supported). According to Intel, the xHCI draft specification provides a standardized method for USB 3.0 host controllers to communicate with the USB 3.0 software stack and is being made available under RAND-Z (royalty free) licensing terms to all USB 3.0 Promoter Group and contributor companies that sign an xHCI contributor agreement.

A revised xHCI 0.95 specification is planned to be made available in the fourth quarter of this year.

The release of the spec follows claims that Intel could be engaging in unfair business practices by withholding the spec and the company’s subsequent confirmations that the host controller standards would be made available in the second half of 2008 royalty-free - “free, gratis, unpaid, zero dollars, free of charge, at no cost, on the house.”

While Intel has kept its promise, the implications of the announcement are that the USB 3.0 technology is virtually finalized and product development can get into full gear. The timing of the announcement is a sign that USB 3.0 demonstrations could take place at Intel’s fall developer forum, which will open its doors on August 19. Commercial products are not expected to be released until late 2009.

When maxed out USB 3.0, will offer ten times the bandwidth of USB 2.0 – 4.8 Gb/s, which translates into a massive bandwidth of 600 MB/s.

Also noteworthy about Intel’s announcement is the fact that it got AMD to supply a quote for its press release. “The future of computing and consumer devices is increasingly visual and bandwidth intensive,” said Phil Eisler, AMD corporate vice president and general manager of the Chipset Business Unit. “Lifestyles filled with HD media and digital audio demand quick and universal data transfer. USB 3.0 is an answer to the future bandwidth need of the PC platform. AMD believes strongly in open industry standards, and therefore is supporting a common xHCI specification.”

Yes, it is one of those quotes you can easily live without. But read between the lines and the simple fact that AMD is quoted in an Intel press release should be indication enough that USB 3.0 is off to a good start. We also heard that Nvidia has signed the USB 3.0 agreement.

Two weeks ago, the IEEE said that it has approved the IEEE 1394-2008 specification, which increases the interface bandwidth of IEEE1394, also known as Firewire and i.Link, to 3.2 Gb/s.

First Peek Under Windows 7's Hood in October

Sure we know about some of Windows 7's more eye-catching features like multitouch and sweet maps, but Microsoft hasn't revealed a whole about what's under the hood, other than that it'll use Vista's foundation. According to the new Windows 7 dev blog, we'll get our first peek at the Professional Developers Conference on Oct. 27 and the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference the week after. Make it good is all I've got to say.

Police turning to GPS to track cars more than ever

t's no secret that the police have been using GPS to track cars for some time now, often without a warrant or court order and, as The Washington Post now reports, it looks like the practice is only getting more and more commonplace. That is mostly due to the fact that courts usually side with the police in the resulting cases that arise out of the use of GPS trackers, with them agreeing with the argument that it is essentially no different than having an officer physically track a car themselves. They also cite a 1983 Supreme Court case that allowed the use of "beepers" that relay a car's location to police. Of course, others, like attorney Chris Leibig, have an entirely different opinion, saying that, "tracking a person everywhere they go and keeping a computer record of it for days and days without that person knowing is a completely different type of intrusion." Given that at least some state courts, like Washington state, side with that position and require a warrant for GPS trackers to be used, it would seem likely that this matter could eventually wind up being decided in the Supreme Court as well.

Conceptual Giro Sponge toothbrush don't need no bristles

For those out there who've already doused their grille in platinum, Fabio Dabori's sponge-loaded toothbrush could double as the ultimate wax machine. For everyone else still rockin' the pearly off-whites, surely this thing is more comfortable than those stiff bristles found on the vast majority of brushes today. The Giro Sponge concept is an electric teeth cleaner that features a soft, round head that's particularly kind to babies and grown-ups with sensitive gums. Word has it that Mr. Dabori has patents on the idea and is hoping to get it on store shelves soon, and we can already see that those cutesy replaceable heads will be a huge hit with the kiddos.

Smart Contacts Will Detect Glaucoma Before It Blinds You

Researchers at UC Davis have designed contact lenses that can give you an in-eye checkup to make sure there's nothing wrong, as well as dispense medication automatically when needed. The “smart” lenses use an organic polymer called PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane, if you're nasty) that detects eye pressure and sends that data to a computer—important updates to get if you're at risk for glaucoma.

Glaucoma, a disease that causes a loss of cells in the optic nerve, is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. Unlike the first leading cause, cataracts, it's irreversible, making the ability to keep tabs on warning signs even more crucial. UC Davis will start clinical trials of the

Asus Eee PC 901 Review

The Asus Eee PC 901 is the new update to the Eee PC... the affordable mini notebook that shook up the laptop market in 2007. This $600 mobile companion features the new Intel Atom processor, but is it the best choice for your next travel laptop?

I took an in-depth look at the Eee PC 901 to find out if it has enough performance and features to take the top spot in the popular budget ultraportable category.

Inside this Review
* Build and Design
* Screen
* Keyboard and Touchpad
* Wireless
* Speakers
* Operating System and Software
* Performance
* Heat and Noise
* Battery Life
* Expansion
* Specifications
* Conclusion

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