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Cool Stuff: Your 2007 Holiday Gift Guide

Got technology lovers on your holiday shopping list? We can help. Our Cool Stuff gift guide has recommendations for more than 50 hot products, including digital cameras, HDTVs, family games, wacky tech gifts and much more.

Nokia unveils successor to N95

The N82 has more impressive camera credentials, including a full Xenon flash.

Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX100 Digital Camera

The $400 12.2 megapixel camera has a 2.5-inch LCD, 3.6X zoom lens, optical image stabilization, burst mode and more.

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Reviews and Analyses

Our hands-on reviewers put the products through their paces

Video/Photography

Review: Samsung NV11 digital camera

If you can live with the Samsung NV11's portability constraints, it's an excellent choice for an all-around camera that's fun to use and equally accommodating of beginners and advanced shutterbugs.

Review: Canon PowerShot TX1 meets middle ground

Built with the vertical orientation and movable viewing screen that is common to camcorders, the 7.1-megapixel hybrid is Canon's attempt at creating a device that excels at both video and still shooting.

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Review: SLR gives more features for the price

Its multitude of features might make it a bit daunting to some, but the E-510 is a solid, flexible camera that takes very good pictures under most conditions.

Review: ILife video-editing app is a whole new world

It inherits the name, but this software is vastly different, aiming at quickly and easily putting together videos for distribution online.

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Review: LCD makes camera an attractive choice

The iPhone has made big color touch screens fashionable. But with its ease of use and good image quality, the HP Photosmart R937 may be the coolest touch-screen toy to carry.

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Review: Nikon D40x DSLR is a good camera

If you're a novice photographer looking to move up to a digital SLR, choosing the D40x over the D40 will mostly come down to whether you want more megapixels, a faster burst mode and a slightly wider ISO range.

Review: Canon HV20

The HV20 records 1920-by-1080-pixel HDV-formatted high-definition footage or standard-definition footage to MiniDV tapes.

Review: Fujifilm FinePix S700

The 7.1-megapixel S700 earned a high score for color accuracy and an average score for sharpness, but its scores for distortion were subpar.

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Review: Portable video player has basic features

Sonic Impact's Video-55 is an imperfect solution but is a solid one for those who just want a portable iPod video player with very good audio performance.

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Review: Panasonic PV-GS320 camcorder

With a reasonable price, 3 CCD sensors and quality video, it's a good choice for people who want great-looking video without paying high definition prices.

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Review: Myvu dramatically improves the video iPod experience

The futuristic-looking myvu personal media viewer looks like a pair of stylish sunglasses but actually displays video from your iPod.

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Apple TV provides simplicity and 'wow'

Here's a hands-on look at Apple TV, which is a highly useful, simple and attractive device for connecting media on your computer to your TV.

Win TV
Review: High-def TV on your laptop, but little to watch

The Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-950 device brings over-the-air HDTV programs to your laptop, but there aren't many stations for it to play.

Static starts to clear on mobile TV

Vendors at the CTIA Wireless show highlighted video as a key emerging technology to make the mobile experience -- and service providers -- richer.

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Review: Big video hits the road with the Archos 704-WiFi

This big and expensive video-centric media player is the best option yet for playing video on the road.

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Review: Turbolinux Wizpy plays media and boots Linux on PCs

This device both plays multimedia files and plugs into a USB port to boot Linux on a PC. It's undeniably handy, but does have some annoyances.

Review: Tiny projector offers great portability

At less than two pounds even with the battery pack, the Toshiba unit impressed PC World's reviewer with its versatility and overall performance. It's optimal for a small meeting of up to three people.

Review: Philips Blu-ray player proves competitive

The BDP9000 is about the same size as a standard DVD player. An LCD on the front shows disc information; the memory card slots, as well as the buttons necessary to operate the unit sans remote, hide under a flip-down door on the bottom of the unit.

Phones/PDAs/Handhelds

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Review: A Motorola Q smart phone for travelers

Motorola's Q Global packs the popular Q smart phone with lots of features for international travelers, making it highly attractive with only a few gotchas.

Review: AT&T smart phone's adjustable screen impresses

Among many other features, the Tilt can function as a full-featured mobile computer, from the mobile versions of Microsoft Word and Excel it contains to its multimedia playback to its built-in GPS for use with the TeleNav GPS Navigator.

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Review: HTC Touch is a touch-screen device for Windows people

Palm's new Centro smart phone doesn't excel in any one area, but it provides most of the features most people want in an extremely easy-to-use device.

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Nokia targets businesses with shiny dual-mode E51

It works with GSM networks and Wi-Fi hot spots for businesses eyeing or already using so-called converged services -- VoIP technology alongside traditional phone networks.

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Review: Palm Centro is satisfying, cheap and a bit chunky

Palm's new Centro smart phone doesn't excel in any one area, but it provides most of the features most people want in an extremely easy-to-use device.

Keyboard-capable cell phones

Reviewer was hooked at first thumb on the Sidekick and its QWERTY keyboard. Do any of the newer offerings measure up?

Review: LG phone may not be best for multimedia

The lack of a keyboard makes texting difficult at best, and the interface for music playback lacks the finesse of those on competing phones such as the Nokia N95.

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Review: New Sony Ericsson phone packs high-end camera features

The tri-band handset operates on the three frequencies used for GSM, GPRS and 3G technologies, and as a camera offers features such as auto focus and 3x digital zoom.

Review: HotSpot@Home means the emergence of convergence

T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home service fulfills the promise of one phone and one phone number for both when you're home and on the road.

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Review: RIM throws users a Curve

The new BlackBerry Curve is small, sexy and full-featured, making it one of the most appealing smart phones available. The one thing it isn't is curvaceous.

Review: Phone's call quality proves laudable

The T-Mobile Wing sounds terrific to this finicky reviewer, but she does have some gripes.

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Review: Samsung UpStage music phone

Samsung's UpStage is a tiny device that takes an innovative, and generally successful, approach to providing both music and phone functions.

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Review: The BlackBerry 8800 is sleek, but missing some features

Resarch In Motion has changed the shape of this BlackBerry, making it sleeker than its previous business-oriented devices. However, while usability is high, it's missing advanced features like 3G and Wi-Fi support.

The Google phone revealed

Widespread reports have said Google is or isn't working on a cell phone. But Mike Elgan believes Google is working on something far more compelling: Software that may be THE killer app for mobile devices.

Mike Elgan
iPhone season? Or open season on the iPhone?

Well, it's the moment of truth for this year's holiday shopping season: iPhone, yes or no? Tracy Mayor put the Question of the Year to Computerworld Editor in Chief Scot Finnie, PC World Editor in Chief Harry McCracken, Computerworld Online News Editor Ken Mingis and NPD Group analyst Ross Rubin. The panel was tied -- two said yes, and two said no, so Tracy turned to me to break the tie.

The iPhone really isn't all that compelling, until you try one. Scot Finnie made that mistake and now he's hooked.

Though "iPhone Killers" abound, there really is only one competitor to the iPhone: The next iPhone. Will Apple ship iPhone 2.0 soon, or not until 2009 or later? That's the main criteria for jumping on board now or waiting, at least for many would-be Scot Finnies. Well, the Grinch came early this year in the form of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who let slip this week that, in fact, a superfast 3G version of the iPhone would ship in 2008 (my guess is June). When asked how much it might cost, Stephenson replied that Apple CEO Steve Jobs "will dictate what the price of the phone is." Uh, huh. My question to Stephenson is: Isn't Steve Jobs supposed to dictate when new products are announced, too?

In any event, iPhone fever is slowly spreading across the globe like SARS. And many are grumbling. The Canadians, for example, are feeling like unwanted stepchildren as Americans gloat about their iPhones and launch dates are announced across Europe. The likely ship date in Canada is rumored to be Jan. 18, too late for the holidays. Meanwhile, the British have had their iPhones for three weeks, and some there are complaining both about the high price of the phone and also about spotty reception.

Nobody's complaining in France this week, however. The iPhone launch in that country took place last night spectacularly on the Champs-Elysees, complete with long lines and thrilled buyers.

Whether you buy one this holiday season or not, there's no denying that the iPhone is an iconic, game-changing device on par at least with the original Mac. Transforming the cell phone business is just one reason that Jobs was named this week by Fortune Magazine as this year's "Most Powerful Person In Business" (the other four businesses he transformed are the computer, movie/TV, music and retailing).

New Google Maps: GPS (without the GPS)

The brand-new beta of Google's Maps Mobile application unveiled yesterday looks and feels like the previous version, with one spectacular new trick: When you press zero on your phone's keypad, a blue dot shows up on the map representing an estimate of your location, no GPS required. It works on just about any phone.

Google performs this neat trick -- called My Location -- by learning which cell towers your phone is using, then guessing your location. It's not super accurate, but it does make it more convenient to use Maps on your phone and, unlike GPS, works indoors.

The new maps version, which can be downloaded free at www.google.com/gmm or by texting the word "BLUEDOT" to 33669.

Go here for a video demonstration.

Blockbuster working on cell phone movies

Blockbuster is reportedly in talks with cell phone makers to make movies available to watch on phone handsets. The most likely approach appears to be via a mobile version of Blockbuster's Movielink online service.

Who says iPhone isn't ready for business?

The iPhone just got more business-friendly thanks to -- are you sitting down? -- Microsoft! When it ships in January, the new Office 2008 for Mac will let users port PowerPoint presentations to iPhones and video-equipped iPods.

Microsoft adds iPhone, iPod sync to Office 2008

Verizon Wireless changing cellular landscape, analysts say

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. He can be reached at mike.elgan@elgan.com or his blog.

Laptops/Tablets

First look: The new MacBook Pro 17, now with hi-res screen

What do you get when you take an already fine laptop and give it a faster processor, faster front-side bus, a better video card and a 7,200-rpm hard drive? Laptop nirvana, also known as the new 17-in. MacBook Pro from Apple.

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Hands on with Toshiba's light laptop

In the race to make ever lighter laptop computers, Toshiba Corp. is poised to take the lead in the 12-inch screen class with new models coming this month.

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Hands on with Fujitsu's pocket-size convertible UMPC

Fujitsu has unveiled its forthcoming ultramobile PC, an intriguing pocket-size device that runs a full version of Windows.

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Review: Lenovo X60 tablet/laptop hybrid is a gem

Add a bit more RAM to Lenovo's X60 tablet/laptop hybrid, and it's a true jewel both as a Tablet PC and an ultraportable laptop.

Dopod U1000: More than an ultramobile PC

The device is more like a souped-up smart phone and handheld with laptop features, a camera, speakers for music, GPS and more. It's also available only in Asia, with a European rollout promised soon.

Review: Nokia N800 Internet Tablet is fascinating but incomplete

Nokia beefed up Internet browsing and media playback in its updated N800 Internet Tablet, but it still won't add up as a compelling purchase for many users

Grab Bag

Review: Updated iPod Touch is still imperfect

With the 1.1.1 update the video quality has improved somewhat, but problems remain.

22 top iPhone tips

Now that we've had some time to live with the iPhone, we've found a few tricks that help us get the most out of it.

Review: GPS device covers high-end features

If you're looking for top-of-the-line features at a relatively affordable price, the $500 TomTom Go 720 is well worth considering.

Review: Apple still has some work to do on iPod Touch

If Apple can resolve some initial quality control issues, this reviewer would gladly recommend it to anyone looking for a mobile video player, a portable Web browser, or a high-class way to cart around the highlights from your music library.

Review: GarageBand add-on works for certain genres

Its multitude of features might make it a bit daunting to some, but the E-510 is a solid, flexible camera that takes very good pictures under most conditions.

Review: Gaming console holds power-user appeal

Apple's 'Voices' includes recordings of real singers, both solo and in ensembles, offering up everything from melodic snippets to background oohs, shout-outs, improvisations and even short passages from classical choral works.

Review: Sony VAIO VGX-XL3 Digital Living System

The $3,300 unit looks good, but ran into problems with troublesome updates, blank screens, lots of reboots, a nonworking CableCard and other aggravating limitations.

Review: Planon's Universal Mobile Charger is a tiny powerhouse

At only 4 oz., this lithium-ion unit packs a big punch for recharging cell phones, PDAs and cameras -- but not laptops.

Review: Planon's Universal Mobile Charger is a tiny powerhouse

At only 4 oz., this lithium-ion unit packs a big punch for recharging cell phones, PDAs and cameras -- but not laptops.

Creative launches small-capacity MP3 player

It has the same capacity as Apple's Shuffle player, at half the price.

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Review: Sansa Connect surpasses iPod and Zune -- for now

The Wi-Fi-enabled Sansa Connect rethinks what Apple started with its iPod and iTunes store, redefining what you can do with a portable media player.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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