By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
The hardware, software and computer accessories categories all will be well represented at RetailVision next week.
Alera Technologies will showcase its new DVD+R Cruiser, a DVD recording solution that includes a complete Ulead Systems suite of "prosumer" video editing, organizing and processing software applications. Packaged with the DVD+R Cruiser are Ulead's DVD Workshop, MediaStudio Director's Cut, COOL3D and PhotoImpact software applications, valued at $647, which give users the tools they need to manage their imaging, video and DVD recording projects.
The DVD+R Cruiser incorporates the newly released DVD+R technology, which can record using DVD+R write-once and DVD+RW rewritable media, as well as CD-R and CD-RW media. Users have the advantage of being able to rewrite disks as the situation requires, as well as make non-alterable, non-erasable records. The DVD+R Cruiser has the same fast DVD write and rewrite speeds as its predecessor, and reads DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD video, DVD-ROM, CD-ROM, Audio CD, CD-R and CD-RW disks. Estimated street price is $599.
SmartDisk will demonstrate its SmartScan 2700 and SmartScan 3600 scanners that turn photo negatives and 35mm slides into digital images. The SmartScan 2700 is designed for home, school or office use, and lets users easily and quickly digitize and save memories safely on their computer. It features USB connectivity for use with either PCs or Macintosh computers.
The SmartScan 2700 has 2700 dpi, more than three times the resolution of the average desktop scanner. It recognizes over 68 billion distinctive colors and captures up to 9.6 million pixels per image, giving users impressive shadowing, highlights and other details. The unit includes Adobe Photoshop Elements software for photo editing and SmartDisk MVP 1.0 for multimedia CD creation (Windows only).
Micro Solutions will feature its USB 2.0 CD-R drive. The Backpack Bantam USB 2.0 Triple Play is a 16x10x24x drive that includes USB 2.0, parallel and PC Card connection ports to add CD-R and CD-RW capabilities to a laptop or desktop computer. It also comes with SpeedyCD disk creation software developed by Micro Solutions for optimal performance with its backpack CD-rewriters.
It weighs 20 ounces and is 1-inch by 6-inches by 8.5-inches. The CD-rewriter has a suggested retail of $229.
Seagate Technology will be showing its new class of hard drives for the retail market. With 7,200 rpm performance and capacities of 40GB, 60GB and 80GB, the drives are designed to give consumers a combination of innovation, performance, reliability and quiet operation of any PC hard drive. Seagate's hard drive kit includes DiscWizard software that offers easy, Web-based or CD-based installation, as well as SeaTools diagnostic software, which helps users find the real source of PC or drive issues and thus avoid the misdiagnosis and unnecessary return of hard drives.
M-Systems, a maker of USB portable storage products, will demonstrate its DiskOnKey key chain-size flash memory storage device. It offers compatibility with all current operating systems and storage capacities up to 512MB. The company has increased the functionality of the DiskOnKey by offering enhanced flexibility with the introduction of Titan technology. Titan combines M-Systems' flash technology with an ARM7 CPU, offering an increase in write speeds of 30 percent, heightened security and the ability to run applications.
Visioneer will have two new USB 2.0-equipped scanners in its OneTouch line at the show. The OneTouch 9020 USB scans up to 5.5 times faster than USB 1.1 scanners and up to 2.9 times faster than other USB 2.0 scanners. The OneTouch 9020 USB includes a built-in transparency adapter for scanning 35mm slides and negatives. The scanner has five OneTouch buttons for scanning, copying, faxing, e-mailing and OCR, and a 48-bit internal color capability. The scanner comes with ScanSoft PaperPort Deluxe 7.0 and Adobe PhotoShop Elements software. Pricing was not available at press time.
The new high-speed USB 2.0 OneTouch 9000 USB scanner offers the same fast speed, high resolution and image quality as the OneTouch 9020 USB, but does not include a Transparency Adapter. Pricing was not set at press time.
Yamaha Electronics will introduce its top-of-the-line CRW-F1 CD-Recorder series, the first CD recorders to offer the revolutionary DiscT2 Laser Labeling System, that allows graphics and text to be burned onto any CD-R disk, eliminating the need for labels. Available in internal and external models — including the CRW-F1ZDX, an external, dual-interface model that uses IEEE 1394 FireWire and USB 2.0 technology — the CD recorder series ranges in price from an estimated $179.99 to $329.99.
Minolta-QMS plans to unveil the PagePro 1250W, a 17-ppm entry-level laser printer. The printer has an estimated street price of $199. The PagePro 1250W features 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution and a 150-sheet multipurpose paper input tray. Its revolutionary design results in a very small footprint of just 248 square inches, about the size of most desktop business inkjet printers. The printer includes an IEEE 1284 parallel interface and a USB interface, both of which offer plug-and-play compatibility with Windows XP/2000/NT 4.0/Me/98/95.
ACD Systems International will highlight its ACDSee 4.0 PowerPack, a comprehensive bundle that includes three programs for all a user's digital imaging needs. Included in the ACDSee 4.0 PowerPack is ACDSee 4.0, which enables users to view, browse and manage thousands of image files and thumbnails quickly and easily. The ACDSee 4.0 PowerPack retails for $79.95.
Also being featured is ACD VideoMagic, a new software product that enables consumers to simply and easily create high-quality music videos. Suggested retail is $49.95.
Lowepro will feature an array of products from its photographic and electronic carrying bag lines. The two newest additions to the Linx Laptop Series are the Linx 330, a backpack with an ergonomic backpack harness, and the Linx 430, a briefcase-style case. The entire Linx series comes in black and silver with bright blue trim. Lowepro's Tech Collection of sleek digital camera bags and pouches feature outer zippered pockets for quick access to gear and removable, adjustable shoulder straps. The Tech Collection is available in a sleek steel gray with black.
Two Neoprene digital memory cases will also be featured. The wallet-sized DMC-V and DMC-H each hold eight memory cards in four laminated mesh pockets. Lowepro's DryZone 200 is an innovative camera backpack designed with dry suit technology and a patented TIZIP watertight zipper to protect photo and electronic gear even if the backpack falls into water.
InterVideo will unveil the WinDVD Creator, a DVD and video CD creation software program that offers a storyboard approach to making movies that can play in consumer DVD players. Using the direct recording functions, users can plug a DV camera in the FireWire port of their PC and burn a DVD directly from the DV tape, no editing involved. WinDVD Creator also enables users to burn a DVD disk directly from a TV, with the proper hardware setup.
InterVideo will also demonstrate WinProducer 3 DVD and WinProducer 3 CD, the latest versions of its movie-making software that features the ability to create and burn personalized DVD, VCD, SVCD, mini-DVD, MPEG-4 and DivX movies. An all-in-one application, WinProducer features a drag-and-drop interface to easily edit raw footage and add titles, transitions, effects and music to make a home movie or transform videotapes into long-lasting DVDs.
Jasc Software will demonstrate After Shot, a software tool intended for digital camera users. The product is designed to take digital photographs from the cameras and organize photos into searchable albums, to enhance and share photos quickly and easily. With After Shot, users can instantly drop photos into printing templates using common photo sizes and drag-and-drop setup to make a set of photos into an instant panorama. It has a suggested list price of $49.
PowerQuest will demonstrate PartitionMagic 8.0 software that allows users to partition their hard drive. PartitionMagic allows users to separate data files, operating systems and applications by creating and resizing partitions without reformatting their hard drive or harming their data. In addition, its built-in BootMagic enables users to run multiple operating systems on the same computer. New features of PartitionMagic 8.0 include a File Browser that enables users to browse, copy or move files and folders from one partition to another regardless of partition type. The program also includes new step-by-step wizards for creating a backup partition and installing a new OS and larger partition support, for partitioning sizes up to 160GB.
Ulead will highlight PhotoImpact 8, an imaging editing solution for PC users with its core features revamped to address digital photography needs, while maintaining other important aspects of imaging such as creative design and Web graphics. PhotoImpact's Explorer helps digital camera users transfer photos from their cameras to the PC without quality loss, using a simple digital camera wizard. Users can visually organize large quantities of images, as well as video and audio files, while enjoying useful features like loss-less JPEG rotation, auto-file rename, file conversion and the preservation of Exif camera data like exposure and date.
IBM will demonstrate ViaVoice for Windows Release 10 Pro USB Edition. Among its new features are an enhanced speech engine and state-of-the-art microphone that can lead to better accuracy. In addition to the Pro USB edition, ViaVoice Release 10 also offers Advanced, Standard and Personal editions to suit the needs of different types of users and budgets. An upgrade version is available for current users of ViaVoice for Windows Pro Release 7, 8, and 9. Suggested retails are $29.95 for the Personal edition, $59.95 for Standard edition, $99.95 for Advanced edition and $199.95 for the Pro edition. IBM will also introduce a new ViaVoice Simply Dictation voice recognition software product for Mac OS X, and will unveil ViaVoice technology for the handheld computer platform for the first time.
Maxell will highlight its line of DVD recordable media. The new DVD Video lineup includes DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, and DVD+R formats, along with DVD-R video camcorder and DVD-RAM video camcorder formats.
The company is offering 120-minute discs in DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD+RW and DVD+R formats in jewel cases, as well as a 60-minute DVD-RAM video camcorder disc in cartridge and a 30-minute DVD-R video camcorder disc in cartridge. In addition, Maxell is offering a wide line-up of recordable DVD media for data storage applications. Available are 4.7GB DVD-R general discs and DVD-R authoring discs in jewel cases; 7GB DVD-RW disc in jewel case; and 2.6GB single-sided and 5.2GB double-sided DVD-RAM discs in cartridge. There also are 4.7GB DVD-RAM disks in either cartridge or jewel cases; 9.4GB double-sided DVD-RAM disc in cartridge; as well as 4.7GB DVD+RW and DVD+R discs in jewel cases. DVD-RAM media is also available in 50-piece spindles.
Rounding out the care and maintenance line is the DVD-335 Disc Repair Kit, which will repair up to 100 discs, at a suggested retail of $14.99; and DVD-338 Cleaning Fluid, which cleans discs and equipment and comes in a 4-ounce bottle selling for $6.99. There also is DVD-305 Cleaning Cloths, which are lint-free and designed to minimize residue, and are available in 50-packs for $6.99.
Also available are new DVD-P4 Marker Pens, featuring non-toxic and alcohol-free marking liquid, in four-packs of green, red, blue and black markers for $6.99; and the DVD-JC Storage Box two-pack for a suggested retail of $3.99. Each box can hold up to three discs, and features an outer sleeve to hold movie jackets.
Tucano will feature its collection of computer bags and briefcases, CD wallets, PDA cases, mouse pads, mobile phone accessories and mobile computing and business accessories featuring Italian design and style. Special design details and features such as detachable accessory pouches add value to the products. Tucano CD wallets and PDA cases are designed to complement its laptop bags, while its mouse pads and accessories bring both function and fashion to any home or office-computing environment.
Micro Innovations will introduce its latest optical and wireless technology with the IBM Optical Wireless Mouse. Its RF wireless technology provides users with a better range of motion on the desktop, without the hassles of cords, the company said. The mouse's Optical Sensing Technology scans the desktop at up to 1,500 frames per second, providing the most accurate input device available in the industry today. The IBM Optical Wireless Mouse will begin shipping this month and has a suggested retail of $39.99.
After introducing its Universal Wireless PDA Keyboard in June, the Wireless Link TKB700U, Micro Innovations is now demonstrating a Palm platform unit. The keyboard incorporates an elaborate hinge system that attaches to the Palm V, Vx, m500 or m505. Included with the keyboard is a two-piece stylus that separates and becomes a stand for the device. Also included are a universal stand and driver software for Palm, Handspring and Sony PDAs.
Micro Innovations is also announcing its new USB Connectivity product line, featuring USB hubs, docking stations, switches, adapters, cards, storage and cables. The line includes the Micro Hide-a-Hub, a USB 4-port mobile hub that stores in the PCMCIA port of a laptop and allows four additional devices to be connected while on the road or in the office.
SMC Networks will expand its Barricade broadband router line with the introduction of two new products that provide enhanced security, performance and features. Designed as a simple networking solution, the routers include a wired version, the SMC7004VBR and the wireless SMC7004VWBR.
The new router feature-set includes e-mail alerts and parental control.
The 802.11b-compliant wireless router adds the ability to bridge between wired and wireless LANs and provides seamless roaming within the same sub net. Estimated street price is $79.99 for the wired and $149.99 for the wireless router.
Belkin will launch two new routers, both with one-step setup software to eliminate confusion and complexity for consumers. The new broadband routers come in wired and wireless versions, and with the new software, they can be up and running in less than five minutes.
Belkin's Easy Install Wizard for the routers eliminates the need for users to deal with complicated information such as IP addresses and host names in order to get the router connected to the Internet. Once the user inserts the CD into the computer's CD-ROM drive, the wizard takes over the job of determining what type of connection is being used and setting up the router to connect to the Internet Service Provider's service.
Also being introduced by Belkin is a complete Bluetooth solution for personal connectivity and immediate data access. Included are a Bluetooth Universal Serial Bus (USB) Adapter, Bluetooth PC Card and Bluetooth Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) Adapter Card. This is the first in a line of Bluetooth solutions scheduled to be released this year. All three are compatible with Bluetooth v1.1-certified devices.
All Bluetooth products from Belkin have the ability to exchange data at speeds up to 721Kbps and allow ad-hoc networking, which enables users to communicate and exchange data without having to configure a network. Built-in security uses up to 128-bit encryption and authentication; and with the ability to connect up to seven devices enabled with Bluetooth technology simultaneously, users can effortlessly transfer data to and from desktop or notebook computers, input devices, PDAs, scanners, printers or mobile phones. Belkin's initial offerings retail for an estimated $69.99 retail for the USB Adapter, and $79.99 each for the PC Card and PDA Adapter Card.
Belkin is also featuring its new OmniView Small Office/Home Office (SO/HO) Series USB Keyboard/ Video/Mouse (KVM) Switch with Audio, available in 2- and 4-port models. The KVM Switch features USB keyboard hot keys for switching between connected computers, and offers users a space-saving design with built-in cable management. The 2-port model has an estimated street price of $149.99, and the 4-port model sells for an estimated $179.99.
The new 4x4 Matrix USB Switch is also being demonstrated. Perfect for the SO/HO environment, it allows users to share up to four USB devices with up to four USB computers, accessing the devices by using the switch's manual push button or its management software. The 4x4 matrix USB Switch has an estimated street price of $99.99.
Technuity will demonstrate its new Energizer branded uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). The Energizer UPS products offer ease of use. Features include user-replaceable batteries, USB connectivity and user-friendly FileSaver software. The line features up to 32 minutes of run time, Internet-ready phone/fax/DSL/cable modem hookups, automatic voltage regulation (AVR), two to six backup outlets, user-friendly software that automatically saves and shuts down the system when power irregularities occur, a 3-year warranty, and more. Suggested retails range from $59.99 to $279.99.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.