Top new tech products: Android smartphones, solar powered laptop, slim camera

High-tech product releases announced the week ending August 24 include an eco-friendly laptop that’s powered by the sun, two mid-range Android smartphones, the new range of BlackBerry Curve smartphones, the world’s first HD video binoculars, a budget tablet for the Indian market and a compact and slim camera.

An eco-friendly mini laptop that's powered by the sun
Samsung is building for the future and has developed a solar powered mini-notebook called the NC215. The 10.1" laptop features a solar panel on the lid which can power the laptop for up to one hour after sun-baking in the sun for two. The fully-recharged device offers up to 14 hours of battery life and comes with a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N570 dual core processor, a 250GB hard drive and runs Windows 7 Starter Edition. The Samsung NC215 is available now for 599,000 won ($555).

A mid-range Android smartphone with a bright display

LG has added a mid-range Android smartphone to its popular Optimus series. The handset, dubbed the LG Optimus Sol (aka LG-E730), runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and offers many of the features found on LG's other Optimus handsets - but at a more affordable price. The Optimus Sol boasts a bright 3.8" Ultra AMOLED display which provides better clarity outdoors and "a reduction in image quality degradation" compared to standard AMOLED displays. The device measures 9.8mm slim, and has a 5MP camera, DLNA connectivity and WiFi direct. According to German technology website BestBoyz, the LG Optimus Sol will be priced at €299. It is expected to arrive in Europe in the beginning of mid-September, followed by releases in Central and South America.

An Android smartphone that loves music and sharing
Sony Ericsson has taken the wraps off its second Android-powered Walkman phone, a media-centric device dubbed the "Live with Walkman." The Live with Walkman differentiates itself from the rest of the Android pack with enhanced music features (such as a media discovery app, dedicated Walkman button, xLOUD in-built speaker loudness booster, and TrackID). The compact phone has a 3.2" HVGA resolution capacitive touchscreen and a measly 320MB of RAM but offers integrated music discovery and social networking apps that will be popular with music-loving youngsters. The Live with Walkman is expected to be launched in selected markets globally in Q4. Pricing has not yet been announced.

Social-minded BlackBerry Curve smartphones with NFC

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has unveiled the next generation of its popular (read lower-end) BlackBerry Curve smartphones - its most social series of smartphones ever. The handsets come in three different models (the 9350, 9360 and 9370) and run the latest version of RIM's BlackBerry operating system, BlackBerry 7 OS. The new Curve series features enhanced social functions including updated Twitter and Facebook for BlackBerry apps and a brand new version of the company's Social Feeds application. The updated Curve series is also the second series of BlackBerry phones to come equipped with NFC (Near Field Communications) technology. Additional features include a 2.44" HVGA+ (480×360) display, backlit QWERTY keyboard, 5MP camera with flash, WiFi, Bluetooth, A-GPS, and an 800MHz processor. The BlackBerry Curve 9350, 9360 and 9370 smartphones will be available in Canada later this month and in select markets around the globe in September. Pricing will be announced at a later date.

World’s first HD video digital binoculars

Sony is targeting the somewhat niche binocular market with two new high-end binocular models, the DEV-3 and DEV-5. Sony's binoculars are the world’s first to record magnified scenes in Full HD (1080p) video with stereo sound. They can also be used to record scenes in 3D or to capture still images at up to 7.1 megapixels. Additional features include a variable zoom, electronic autofocus, optical stabilization, HDMI and USB connectivity, a battery life of up to 3 hours of 2D recording, and a "stealth" design." The DEV-3 has a 10x optical zoom while the DEV-5 delivers up to 20x magnification (a 10x optical zoom plus a 10x digital zoom). The DEV-5 also includes an on-board GPS receiver for automatic geo-tagging of video clips and images. The DEV-3 will retail for an expensive $1,400 and the (only slightly) more capable DEV-5 will be priced at $2,000. Both models will be available in November from and Sony retail stores.

An inexpensive iPad challenger for the Indian market

India's Beetel Teletech, a division of Bharti Enterprises, has entered the tablet market with a low-cost iPad challenger called the Beetel Magiq. The Android tablet features a 7" WVGA touchscreen, a track pad, front- and rear-facing 2MP cameras, 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, portable WiFi hotspot, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a HDMI port, and access to the Android Market. The device is priced at 9,999 rupee ($220) and is available now.

The world's slimmest digital camera with a 12x optical zoom
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 510 HS Digital camera is a compact camera with a deceptively large 12x optical zoom. The point-and-shoot device sports a 28mm wide-angle lens, a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, and can record Full HD 1080p videos. It comes with a 3.2"  LCD touch screen, plus High-Speed Burst mode, Intelligent and Smart Auto settings. The PowerShot ELPH 510 HS Digital camera will be available at the beginning of October for $349.99.

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