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Polish researchers launch game-phone concept

Plus: Iomega ends DVD recording format misery

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Game phone

Polish hardware developer ATELAB Research has announced Chameleon, a gaming-oriented mobile phone concept, and the company is looking for a manufacturer to help it develop the device commercially.

ATELAB says it is seeking "patent protection" for the device, but its key feature, a five-way game controller mounted above the phone's display - you're supposed to hold the phone horizontally for playing - has plenty of prior art, as anyone who's used an in-flight game-cum-phone-cum-video channel selector on a modern aircraft will attest.

Selecting 'game mode' from 'phone mode' is just a matter of turning the product from the vertical to the horizontal and pressing a couple of buttons. The games themselves will be written in Java.

Or maybe that should read 'may'. At this stage, all ATELAB has to show for itself is a set of 3D renders of Chameleon - which will feature removable, coloured faceplates by the way - and a broad concept. It's hard to say at this stage whether they've actually build a prototype or are just offering a glorified 'back of an envelope' drawing.

Nokia's N-Gage developers won't need to worry just yet, we think.

More interesting, perhaps, is ATELAB's EDiT, a fold-out QWERTY keyboard capable of being integrated into a mobile phone. Now that's an idea we'd like to see up and running as an alternative to fiddly RIM-style keypads.

We have to say, it's better than their idea for a PC with a built-in uninterruptible power supply...

DVD Drive

Iomega this week announced an internal DVD writer capable of producing discs in all the major DVD formats, including DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW and DVD-RAM.

Of course, it's ridiculous that three competing standards have emerged, but Iomega's solution does at least seem to offer the consumer and system building a way past all the confusion.

Iomega's Super DVD drive can also write to CD-R and CD-RW discs. It comes with a stack of software for managing and burning digital content to any or all of the supported formats. Iomega has also bundled a DVD Solutions Wizard to help Windows owners figure out which format out of the seven that are supported they might actually need to use for a given application.

The $329.95 drive is expected to hit store shelves in the US in August, and during September around the rest of the world. Iomega will ship an external version of the drive to the US market in September. The internal drive only supports Windows. ®

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