Audio technica

It used to be difficult and costly to convert music on vinyl records, cassette tape recordings or photographic prints and transparencies into digital files, but several new products aimed at non-professionals make the task much easier and deliver high-quality results.

Audio Technica’s AT-LP120 USB turntable 5/5 (pictured, above)

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Nokia’s Lumia 710, which went on sale in the US yesterday and is due in Europe shortly, is one of the first products of the partnership between Microsoft and the Finnish phone company which is relying on the new operating system to revitalise its flagging fortunes.

The launch of the Lumia 710 which costs $50 with a T-Mobile USA contract also marks Nokia’s re-entry into the US market where Stephen Elop, Nokia’s chief executive, has vowed it must succeed. Read more

On reflection.

When I first arrived in New York as a junior reporter for the Financial Times in 1982 we used to write our copy on a set of pale blue teleprinters. Then when it was time to file – and often later – we would switch the teleprinters into ‘online mode’ and pressed the ‘send’ button.

The teleprinter then spewed out a yellow punched ribbon tape and at the same time magically transmitted the copy over a leased Reuters data link to a printer that sat on the FT’s foreign desk in London and was affectionately called the ‘hot line.’ Read more

One of the biggest challenges for Android-based smartphone makers is to differentiate their products from their rivals. With the Motorola Droid Bionic designed to run on Verizon’s high speed LTE wireless network, Motorola Mobility is seeking to outpace its rivals in three ways – hardware specs, battery life and accessories.

The Bionic’s basic specs are reasonably impressive beginning with its big 4.3 inch qHD screen manufactured using Corning’s scratch-proof Gorilla Glass. Other features include a dual-core 1GHz processor with 1GB of dedicated Ram, front and rear facing digital cameras and 32GB of memory including a 16GB micro-SD card. Read more

Sony Xperia Play

Martians – at least the popular science-fiction kind – might have felt quite at home at the annual Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona this week. Google’s green Android robot was everywhere and almost all of the new smartphone and tablet devices that I came across were running one of the Android family of operating systems.

Smartphones – except the iPhone until relatively recently – have always had the capability to ‘multitask’ – run more than one application at the same time.
This comes in useful if you want to switch between applications quickly, or if you want to jump from one to another without having to close the first down. Read more

Verizon iPhone 4The enthusiastic initial response Verizon Wireless customers have given the CDMA version of Apple’s iPhone 4 – Verizon had to halt pre-orders just 17 hours after they began – is a double-edged sword for the largest US mobile network operator. 

That is because the hefty subsidy Verizon pays Apple for the iPhone – estimated at about $400 per unit – could depress earnings at least in the short term, if Verizon Wireless sells more iPhones than expected.  Read more

The BlackBerry PlayBook, Research in Motion’s forthcoming entry into the dynamic tablet PC market, will face some tough competition when it finally launches in the next few months. But based on my hands-on experience with the device during CES this week, the PlayBook is up to the challenge. Read more

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer was in fine (fighting) form on stage at the annual Gartner Symposium in Orlando today, punching his hands for emphasis and positively bristling at the suggestion that Microsoft should split its consumer and corporate businesses.

He described a recent Goldman Sachs idea to spin-out the consumer unit as “nutty” and  “the second most crazy idea I have ever heard.” Unfortunately he did not tell his audience of about 5,000 senior IT executive what was the craziest. Read more

Windows Phone 7 is probably Microsoft’s last chance to remain relevant in the increasingly competitive smartphone operating system marketplace.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the chance to test out several of the new handsets based on Windows Phone 7, including models from Samsung, the Korean electronics group, and HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, which has been a longtime Microsoft handset partner. Read more

How well do you look after your laptop? Never dropped it or spilt coffee on it? Keep it safe in a neoprene sleeve?

The Panasonic Toughbook F9 might not be for you then,  but this ruggedised laptop reviewed in the Personal Technology column of the FT’s Business Life section is also exceptionally light considering its wide screen and has excellent battery life. Read more

Network-attached storage (NAS) is more familiar to IT departments than consumers, but the benefits can be enjoyed in the home if providers can explain the concept better to individual users.

In the latest Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, we look at the efforts of Dane-Elec with its MyDitto device,  which it claims is the world’s first true “plug and play” home server. Read more

While the public has become alarmed at the levels of surveillance from technology such as Google’s Street View and security cameras, individuals can take comfort from the latest remote webcams designed for personal protection.

In the Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, we look at the new Logitech Alert range of  indoor and outdoor video security cameras aimed at safeguarding homes and monitoring the well-being of occupants, such as babies and aged relatives. Read more

‘Place-shifting’ technology, pioneered by companies like Sling Media with its SlingBox and SlingPlayer Mobile service, has proved popular with consumers but has not always lived up to expectations when the content is streamed and the end user device is a smartphone.

Now however AT&T, the US telecommunications group, has rolled out a new free iPhone and Blackberry Torch app that it claims will enable subscribers to its U-verse IPTV service to download and watch select TV episodes on their device over a Wi-Fi network as well as schedule DVR recordings. Read more

The BlackBerry Torch is the first touch-enabled slider phone from Research In Motion and the first to feature its new operating system, BlackBerry 6.

But does this mean that the BlackBerry is a match for the latest Android smartphones and the iPhone 4? We have a hands-on look at the BlackBerry Torch in the Personal Technology section of this week’s Business Life in the FT. Read more

Software that automatically transcribes speech it hears still seems to have a long way to go judging by the inaccuracy of voicemail transcriptions on Google Voice and similar services.

But it can be a different story and a better read if the software is trained to know your voice, as in the new version of Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking, reviewed in the latest Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section Read more

If Research in Motion had rolled out the Blackberry Torch a year ago when RIM first began serious work on the device, it would have been a showstopper.

As it was when Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s co-chief executive, unveiled the device at a New York event on Tuesday, there were few if any surprises though some eyebrows were raised by the news that AT&T which already boasts the iPhone in its smarphone portfolio, would be the exclusive network partner in the US.  (AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega was on stage at the launch event to say nice things about RIM and the new device.) Read more

It seems you can have it all with laptops these days – thin and light notebooks that are equally light on the wallet and offer long battery life as well.

In this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, we look at the new, more affordable Portégé range from Toshiba and how it shapes up against offerings from Apple, Dell and Lenovo. Read more

All-in-one computers, which combine monitor and PC components in a single unit, are getting added appeal with multi-touch screens.

In this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section, we look at options from Acer, Apple and Sony. Read more

With Google TV coming to screens near you in the autumn, internet-enabled television is set to attract a lot  of eyeballs.

For those that cannot wait for the Google/Sony/Logitech/Intel product, there are already plenty of set-top box options for streaming movies and adding internet content channels to your TV. We explore some of these in the Personal Technology column in Friday’s Business Life section of the FT. Read more