The focus of this year's Comdex tradeshow may be on businesses, but several companies are showing new products for consumers. At the Digital Focus/Mobile Focus media event, which took place on the eve of the show, companies from Sony to Iomega previewed new devices for work and play.
Tune into TVs
Just in time for the holidays, Dell is introducing a 30in LCD TV to go with its recently introduced 17in model, the W1700. The Dell W3000 is shipping now for $3,299 (about £2,500), a good price for such a big-screen HDTV-ready model.
The unit offers 1,280x768 resolution and a wide aspect ratio. It also permits multiple inputs so that you can view images from different sources simultaneously. The W3000 comes with detachable, side-mounted 15 Watt speakers.
Put it on DVD
Iomega is continuing in its product line expansion, introducing an external DVD burner. The Iomega Super DVD QuikTouch Video Burner is a USB 2.0 external drive for PCs that features an integrated video capture card and one-button video transfer to any industry standard DVD or CD format. It handles high-quality video transfer from any VCR or camcorder.
"Unlike other video burners that require the user to install a video capture card separately and then limit the user to one or two DVD formats, Iomega's new Super DVD QuikTouch Video Burner records to any industry standard DVD or CD format and does so more simply, with just one press of a button," says Sean Burke, vice president and general manager of mobile and desktop solutions for Iomega.
The burner works with all DVD recordable formats, the company says. It will be available in December and is expected to be priced at $379 (around £300).
Iomega also showed its network hard drive for homes and small offices. The new Iomega Network Hard Drive is an ethernet-enabled external drive. It comes in two sizes: 120GB, for about £250, and 250GB for about £370.
Networked drives for home and small business use have become a hot area in recent months. Until recently, consumer external hard drives have been designed to connect to a single computer as personal storage devices. Other network users can share the drive, but if the host PC crashes or is shut down those other users lose access to the shared drive.
This new class of products works very much like a networked printer: anyone on the network with permission can use it. These drives are not dependent on whether any particular PC is operating. They are touted as a way for people on small networks to back up their systems as well as share music and photos.
Sprint is the latest wireless carrier to compete with Nextel's popular push-to-talk mobile phone business. This week the company is announcing its new PCS Ready Link nationwide service. The service permits customers to immediately communicate with another user or group of users at the push of a button.
The service launches with two colour Sanyo handsets: the ruggedised RL2000 and the silvery clamshell-style RL2500. The handsets can also be used to access data on Sprint's PCS Vision network.
Slim and trim
Sony used the event to showcase a few of its latest digital cameras and camcorders, among them the Cybershot DSC-T1 which Sony says is the world's smallest 5Mp (megapixel) camera. The DSC-T1 is scheduled to ship in January priced at about £450.
The company also claims the camera can shoot full-resolution images at one-second intervals and can capture four high-speed burst shots in less than two seconds.
The pocket-sized camera is about 0.8in thin and 2.4in tall. It uses a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar optical lens that operates within the camera rather than extending out, but it can extend if the user wishes. The company says the camera has 3x optical zoom capability.
If you like the idea of Microsoft's Windows-Powered Smart Display (which lets you work on a tablet-style display connected wirelessly to a PC) but want something more powerful and flexible, you might find Avocent's LongView Wireless KVM Extender intriguing. It consists of a wireless transmitter that attaches to your PC and smaller receivers that attach to any standard monitor, mouse, keyboard and audio device. You can then use all of the components up to 100 feet away from the PC.
Based on the 54Mbps (megabits per second) 802.11a standard (but with proprietary additions), Avocent's product permits a much faster connection between the PC and the remote devices than the 11Mbps 802.11b-based Smart Display: in Avocent's demo the LongView could stream full-motion video, which isn't possible with Microsoft's technology.
However, the LongView Wireless KVM Extender does have something in common with the Windows-Powered Smart Display: it won't come cheap. Exact pricing wasn't announced, but is expected to approach £1,000 mark and that's just for the transmitter and receiver.