Weekly high-tech product releases: BlackBerry Torch 9800, 3D lens, remote-controlled quadricopter

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The Independent Tech

High-tech product releases announced the week ending August 4 include RIM's BlackBerry Torch 9800, a lens that converts your digital camera into a 3D camera, a remote-controlled quadricopter that's piloted with your iPhone, the world's first 3D pocket camcorder, an updated e-reader for the mass market, and a gadget that creates your own personal idevice wireless hotspot.

The first smartphone to feature RIM's BlackBerry 6 OS
The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is the first handset developed by Research in Motion (RIM) to run the BlackBerry 6 operating system. The touchscreen slider packs in a QWERTY keyboard, a Rich WebKit Browser, a capacitive 3.2" (360x480) touchscreen display, optical trackpad, a 624 Mhz processor, 4GB of built-in memory, and a 5 MP camera with flash and video recording (640x480). The BlackBerry Torch 9800 is priced at $199.99 with a two-year contract.

A lens that converts your digital camera into a 3D camera
Panasonic is throttling forward with its plan to bring 3D technology to the everyday consumer. The company has developed the world's first interchangeable 3D lens - an add-on that converts existing Panasonic's Lumix G Micro System cameras into cameras that can capture three-dimensional images. The compact lens lets you capture landscapes, people, close-ups and even moving objects in 3D without distortion or left-to-right image time lag. The interchangeable 3D lens for Lumix G Micro System will go on sale before the end of 2010. No prices have been announced.

A remote-controlled aircraft for fans of augmented reality
Parrot's AR.Drone is a helicopter-like gadget for kids who never grew up. The high-tech "quadricopter" is piloted using an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad and uses augmented reality and two internet-connected cameras to merge virtual and real-world flying. The feed from the video camera mounted on the front of the AR.Drone lets pilots view exactly what the quadricopter is seeing from their device screen. The AR.Drone is available for preorder now from http://www.brookstone.com/ for $299.99.

The world's first 3D pocket camcorder
Digital camera company DXG has developed the world's first 3D pocket camcorder and 3D media player. The pocket camcorder comes with a 3.2-inch LCD display, 4x digital zoom, and can also capture 5-megapixel 3D and 2D stills. The 3D Media Player lets consumers view videos and stills in 3D without the need for glasses. The DXG 3D pocket camcorder and the 7 inch LCD display DXG 3D Media Player bundle will start shipping in August for $599.99.

An e-reader for the masses
Amazon, maker of the Kindle brand of e-readers, announced the launch of a new, slimmer and cheaper WiFi-only e-reader and updated its best-selling Kindle this week. The best-selling Kindle still ships with a 6" display but the rest of the device's exterior has been dramatically slimmed down. It holds up to 3,500 books and will last one month without needing to recharge. Additional features include native PDF support, cross-device syncing, text-to-speech, a high-contrast E-ink screen and WebKit-based internet browsing via 3G. The Kindle's WiFi-only sibling comes with similar features (but without the ability to connect to the internet via 3G). The WiFi & 3G Kindle is priced at $189, the Kindle WiFi-only model at $139. Both are available now.

A wireless internet hotspot for personal use
Internet product and services company CLEAR, has developed the first dedicated "4G" personal hotspot for Apple mobile devices in the US. Called iSpot, the pebble-like device connects to a carrier network via a 4G and delivers unlimited high-speed mobile WiFi to up to eight WiFi-enabled Apple devices. The iSpot is priced at $99.99. Monthly plans are priced at $25 for unlimited data.

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