Reviews of Two New Palm PDAs; Zire 71 and TungstenC

Brighthand has got the first hands-on reviews of the Palm Zire 71 and Tungsten|C models. The Zire 71 runs OS 5.1, meaning that it handles MP3 and other media content as well as any other PDA. It also has an included 640×480 camera hidden on the back — the first PDA with integrated digital camera under $300. The Tungsten|C (pictured, right) is the first Palm OS machine to come with 64 megs of RAM and integrated 802.11b wireless communication. It also does away with the writing area and replaces it with a thumb keyboard that should appeal to more business users familiar with the Blackberry. transflective color screens on both new units means great color and good battery life. The Tungsten|C retails for $500.

Play Movies on Your GameBoy Advance

ExtremeTech is reporting that Pocket PC Films will be a distributor for the Pocketainment Pocket Pix, which is a device that plugs into any GameBoy Advance and allows it to play movies — top-rate ones like Leprechaun starring Jennifer Aniston! Woohoo! Seriously though, the PocketPix appears to be both an adapter for SD/MMC cards and also a decoder for certain formats of MPEG, so it’s possible you’d be able to download just about any recorded video source to the GBA for playback. The PocketPix has a USB port for downloading content, and a head-phone jack (presumably because it decodes the audio on board instead of piping it through the GBA). Cost is $60 with 64 meg card included.

TLC’s Junkyard Wars: On the Road

One of our favorite programs, Junkyard Wars on TLC, is taking the show on the road. They’re visiting nine cities between now and mid-June, starting with Washington D.C. this weekend. Visitors will be able to actually become Junkyard warriors of a sort by building “gravity racers” to compete against other players (track for gravity racers pictured right). Prizes will be awarded for winning entries and most creative vehicles. Should be a lot of fun. Check the TLC website for when JYW will be in your neck of the woods.

Private Space Flight One Step Closer

While Dennis Tito may be able to buy his way into space for a cool $20 mil, what about the rest of us? It may be awhile before a burger-flipper from Des Moines gets to have a space vacation, but with the announcement of SpaceShipOne at least he’s a little closer. SpaceShipOne, designed by Voyager designer Burt Rutan’s company Scaled, looks to be a likely candidate for first 3-person private spaceship to make a suborbital run. That would make eligible for the X-Prize of $10 million. SpaceShipOne is a two stage spacecraft; the first stage (called White Knight, pictured left at top) uses traditional jet power and aerodynamic lift to get up to altitude, then releasing SpaceShipOne (pictured left hung below WhiteKnight), which then kicks in the rubber-nitrous hybrid rocket to thrust to 62 miles above the Earth. Once in space, SpaceShipOne then rotates its wings outwards in “whirley-gig” mode and returns to Earth. White Knight has been tested, but Rutan’s mum about when the first actual space flight will be. No word on price per flight either, but it’s sure to cost more than $5.25 per pound.

Mini-Tank IR Wars

Konami has some cool new toys for those who may be looking for new uses for their Warhammer terrains. The Battle DigiQ tanks are similar to other mini-RC vehicles, but have the extra feature of adding weapons and multiple gameplay options. There are four varieties of tanks (Tiger I, Panther, Sherman and T34) each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The tanks battle via infrared “cannons” and can battle in three different modes; race, beginner and expert battle mode. In race mode, hits to the opponent slow the tank down, allowing other tanks to overtake it. In beginner battle mode, the tanks get unlimited ammo and short reload times, and 5 hits will score a win. Expert mode is where it gets really cool; each tank has different reload times, ammo capacity and armor. Up to four can play at a time as a free-for-all or two-on-two. Cost is about $50 per. Read a great review at for all the good pics and specs and where to buy.

HipTop Killer?

As Danger gets a color version of the HipTop ready, another company has a competing GSM/GPRS cell phone hybrid device waiting in the wings; the Neode N1. The N1 is an impressive device on paper, running Windows CE .NET on an ARM720T processor at up to 110 MHz , with a 2.2″ color TFT touch screen, integrated 640×480 digital camera, MP3 playback and SD card memory expansion, plus hi-speed IR I/O for data transfer and using it as a universal remote control. It also has USB-host capability, which means you can plug a keyboard and mouse into it, and possibly hook it up to other USB devices such as a printer or external hard drive. All this packed into a 3.5″ x 2″ x 0.8″ device (about the same length and width as a credit card) weighing just 3.5 oz. Price is yet unknown, but release in Europe is expected in March. Full specs at Neode (pdf file).

How to lose customers and alienate fans

Of special interest to our Cyborg in chief, Gareth, Games Workshop has announced that it will cease doing business with game shops that offer internet sales. Ostensibly, they’re offended by the use of pictures of their products, labelling them IP violations, to sell their products.
Of course, everybody suspects that they’re more offended by mail order retailers undercutting sales in their own stores.

Playstation 2.1

If you’re thinking of finally updating your Sega Genesis to a Playstation 2 like 50 million other gamers in the world have, you might want to wait just a bit. Sony’s updating the hardware to make it just a wee-bit better. The new Playstation will feature pretty much the same specs except that it will be a progressive-scan DVD player, will work better with DVD-RW and other burned media, and will have a built-in IR for the remote (a $20 option on PS2.0). In the process, the new playstation loses its Firewire port, which is no big deal because nobody figured out anything to use it for anyway. Granted these are all minor improvements, but at least it makes it easier to justify buying a $200 game and progressive DVD player over spending $150 on something that’s only a progressive DVD player

First War Collectible From “Operation Iraqi Freedom”

Last week, the US Department of Defense distributed thousands of decks of cards to US troops that have pictures and names of the top 55 most-wanted members of the Iraqi government. In doing so, naturally created a very hot collectible. A check on eBay turned up everything from “electronic copies” in PDF format (which, BTW you could just as easily get from the DoD website) to uncut sheets of supposedly original cards and decks in original packaging. Prices for these items have gone up to $400 or more, and will likely go much higher for actual mint copies. No doubt this is just the boost the economy needs — it’s better than printing money!