News Briefs for Tuesday, Nov. 21

Samsung Trims LCD Panels

Small mobile devices may be getting even slimmer in the second half of 2007. Samsung today announced that it's shaved 0.7 mm off the previous record holder for slimmest LCD panel design. The new panels, which will roll out for mass distribution late next year, measure 0.82 mm in depth—about the thickness of a credit card. The company has also announced a new, related technology called i-Lens for mobile phones. With an integrated protective layer, it can allow manufacturers to trim an additional 1.4 mm to 2.4 mm from the thickness of mobile phones. The screens will come in 2.1 inch-diagonal and 2.2-inch-diagonal screen sizes and offer a 240 x 320 resolution, a 300-nit brightness and a 500:1 contrast ratio.

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USRobotics Intros Skype Webcam

USRobotics today began announced the latest addition to its lineup of Skype-enabled electronics: the USR Mini Cam (USR9640). Designed specifically for use with Skype, the USR Mini Cam offers a 1.3 megapixel resolution for captures and supports full-motion video at 30 FPS. It automatically adjusts to low-light conditions and provides manual controls for brightness, saturation, contrast and horizontal and vertical reversing. It also includes earphones and features "face-tracking auto-focus," a digital zoom and a 70-degree viewing angle. The USR Mini Cam is expected to ship in January for $39.99.

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Rustici Allies with

Software developer Rustici Software has announced an alliance with Rustici provides tools to help other developers conform to standards for electronic learning, including the SCORM Engine and SCORM Driver. The deal calls for Rustici to help "achieve standards conformance in future products."

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Quanta Rolls Out XO Laptops for OLPC

Quanta Computer in Shanghai has produced the first 1,000 laptops for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, the organization announced today. These initial units will be used for environmental testing that will "simulate the harsh conditions under which the laptops will ultimately be used." Following this initial phase of testing, units will be distributed to school children in Argentina, Brazil, Libya, Nigeria and Thailand in early 2007 for further testing under "real world" conditions. Following that, mass production is slated to begin in the summer of 2007. The stated objective of OLPC, which was started by MIT faculty, is to "design, manufacture and distribute laptops that are sufficiently inexpensive to provide every child in the world access to knowledge and modern forms of education." The pricing goal for the laptops is $100 initially.

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About the author: Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at [email protected].

Have any additional questions? Want to share your story? Want to pass along a news tip? Contact Dave Nagel, executive editor, at [email protected].

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).