By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — DigiPower is unveiling the Ultra Fast Rapid Charger, designed to allow digital camera and camcorder owners to use cost-effective lithium-ion rechargeable batteries without the hours-long wait typically required for recharging. The unit will recharge batteries in as little as one hour.
The Ultra Fast Rapid Charger, available in four models, can accommodate 14 different kinds of rechargeable battery packs, including styles from most camera manufacturers as well as DigiPower's own offerings. It features a universal folding plug design that requires no additional wires that could tangle or break; and the plug also adapts to outlets in most countries worldwide, enabling international travelers to forego cumbersome wall-plug adapter kits. The charger automatically handles a range of electrical current from 90 to 240 volts, and carries a suggested retail of $39.99.
Also being introduced is the Universal Auto/Air Power Adaptor, designed to be the first truly universal power adapter for today's portable digital devices. The product enables users of laptops, digital cameras, PDAs, portable radios, CD players, cellphones, DVD players and other mobile equipment to carry just one power adapter for all their devices — with easy hookup to any standard car, boat, recreation vehicle, or airplane power source. Suggested retail for the Universal Auto/Air Power Adaptor is $79.95.
FORT MYERS, FLA. — SmartDisk is introducing FlashTrax, a handheld portable device for offloading and storing digital images and music. The device safely stores high-resolution images transferred via USB 2.0 from any flash memory card onto the built-in 40GB hard drive and displays them on a 3.5-in. LCD that outperforms tiny on-camera screens. Images may also be viewed on any television using the included remote control.
By using the control pad, users can change the image, zoom in and out and scroll, or choose a slideshow function, all without a PC. The LCD folds to protect the screen and control buttons. To facilitate portability, FlashTrax includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The device also features a built-in MP3 player, allowing users to store more than 7,000 compressed audio files and play them back through the built-in speaker, headphones or external speakers.
With transfer speeds of up to 480Mbps, FlashTrax can also serve as an external hard drive. Suggested retail is $499.99.
Also making its debut is CrossFire, an external hard drive that instantly adds storage in an attractive design for PC or Mac. The hard drive features integrated FireWire and USB 2.0 ports for ease of connectibility, and operates at 7200 RPM. Available in 120GB, 200GB and 250GB versions, CrossFire hard drives sell for a suggested $209.99, $329.99 and $429.99, respectively.
CERRITOS, CALIF. — Enhance Electronic is introducing the POST (Power-On-Self-Test) power supply, featuring an innovative new design that helps users easily determine if the power supply is working properly.
Users simply plug in the AC power cord and press a button on the unit, and the internal embedded chip generates a signal to perform self-diagnostics. If all internal components and circuitry perform properly, the power supply will activate the cooling fan and light up the green power-on status indicator, to let users know that no problem was found inside the power supply.
Also new from Enhance Electronic is a series of Precision Squared Input Devices, including fashion keyboards and mice, kids keyboards and mice, compact keyboard, traveller keyboard and keypad, USB Fingerprint reader with or without mouse and GPS receiver with Compact Flash, USB or Bluetooth interfaces. All the input devices feature an ergonomic design.
HACKENSACK, N.J. — BDI-Laguna is presenting Enroute, its fully integrated, oversized home entertainment supply chain solution that connects Web-based order and logistics management software and a vast virtual inventory network to custom packaging, white glove delivery and professional installation services.
The comprehensive, single-source fulfillment execution solution offers proven supply chain execution technology for global coordination on all aspects of in-home fulfillment. A full range of services includes drop-shipping and virtual inventory, warehousing and distribution, premium delivery and installation, customer service and performance monitoring and reporting.
Enroute is a division of BDI-Laguna, a total solution provider committed to delivering leading-edge products to the nation's most successful retailers through state-of-the-art logistical services. The company has carved a unique niche within the emerging high technology and consumer electronics market, positioning itself to become a leader in convergence products.
SUNNYVALE, CALIF. — AMD has unveiled three new mobile processors designed to bring notebook users the features and mobility they need for an outstanding computing experience wherever they may find themselves. All three processors feature 512KB L2 cache that helps increase performance and lets users work more quickly and efficiently.
The low-voltage mobile AMD Athlon XP-M processors 2000+ and 1900+ bring balanced mobility and extended system battery life to thin-and-light notebooks, while providing excellent performance for home and business users. They are designed with an open architecture and are compatible with industry-leading graphics and wireless solutions, including 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g.
The mobile AMD Athlon XP-M processor 2800+ enables best-in-class graphics and wireless connectivity for users who demand dynamic power management and performance in a full-size desktop replacement notebook.
AMD has also introduced the AMD Athlon XP processor 3200+, designed to be the world's highest-performing desktop PC processor. The processor features enhancements such as a faster 400 front-side bus (FSB), and outperforms its closest competitor by an average of 6 percent on a variety of industry-standard software benchmarks. As with all Athlon XP processors, it features QuantiSpeed architecture and support for AMD's 3DNow! professional instructions for enhanced multimedia capabilities. Depending on the core, AMD Athlon XP processors feature either 384KB or 640KB of on-chip, full-speed cache.
SANTA ANA, CALIF. — SimpleTech is entering the external desktop storage market with the introduction of its 120GB SimpleDrive High-Speed USB 2.0/FireWire Desktop Hard Drive, designed to enable fast and easy storage expansion, system backup or file update. Versions offering 250GB and 500GB of storage will be added later in the year.
The 120GB SimpleDrive plugs into any computer with a USB or FireWire port, and delivers ultra-fast transfer speeds of 480Mbps for USB 2.0 and 400Mbps for FireWire. The drive operates at 7200 RPM for fast throughput. It is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems, is hot-swappable and offers plug-and-play installation. With its compact design, it can be positioned horizontally or vertically on the desktop. Suggested retail is $199.99.
SimpleTech is also demonstrating its broad selection of high-speed, competitively priced portable USB Flash storage devices. One of these, The Bonzai USB Flash Drive allows users to increase storage capacity by simply upgrading the removable Secure Digital (SD) or MultiMediaCard (MMC) Flash card inside, for expansion up to 512MB. Suggested retail for Bonzai, in capacities of 64MB to 512MB, ranges from $49.99 to $349.99. Embedded Flash Drive pricing ranges from $49.99 to $179.00.
PLEASANTON, CALIF. — Pegasus America is launching PC NoteTaker, the company's initial handwriting capture device. The product combines a pocket-sized pen and clip with advanced digital technology that allows users to write in their natural handwriting on any piece of paper and instantly capture their handwritten notes and illustrations as image files that can be used to enhance documents, e-mail and Instant Messages.
Once the software is loaded on a PC running Windows 98 or higher, users need only attach the clip to a piece of paper, and take notes with the proprietary electronic digital pen. As notes are written on the page, they appear on-screen in the user's natural handwriting, and are saved within the application.
In addition to saving files for future use, PC NoteTaker lets users capture notes and drawings in real time, instantly inserting them in programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel. When the PC NoteTaker toolbar button is pressed, a movable box is highlighted within the open document, and handwritten notes and drawings appear within the box, which can be moved elsewhere in the document and ultimately saved within the file. The device also allows users to create "sticky notes" on their desktop or paste them into other programs.
BEACHWOOD, OHIO — Levin Consulting is showcasing its ability to quickly assess where vendors are, where they should be going and how they can get there, with successful solutions for any assistance technology vendors need.
Levin Consulting offers experience and knowledge to strengthen its clients' teams, with consulting services ranging from strategic planning, to brand and technology licensing, to mergers, sales management, product launches or Channel Marketing Optimization Tools. With an average of 22 years in the industry, the company's senior team's understanding of the channels gives its clients deep insight into the competitive landscape. Dedicated to the profitable sell-through of technology products since 1988, Levin Consulting has worked with over 150 technology firms, including IBM, Intel, H-P, Canon, Microsoft, Xerox, Case Logic, Cisco, U.R. Robotics, and many others.
PLEASANTON, CALIF. — Visioneer is demonstrating its new Strobe XP 450 USB, a compact work group scanner that can scan 20 pages per minute and holds up to 50 documents at a time.
The Strobe XP 450 USB is a fast, simplex scanner that can be connected to any computer or laptop quickly and easily via the Hi-Speed USB interface. It has a resolution of 600 by 1,200 dpi with 48-bit color, and includes a built-in 50-page automatic document feeder (ADF) that can scan 20 pages per minute. The ADF can handle paper and photos from business cards up to legal-size documents, and the scanner includes Visioneer's award-winning OneTouch software and a TWAIN driver.
The Strobe XP 450 USB measures 6 inches by 13.25 inches by 12.25 inches, giving it one of the smallest footprints of any ADF scanner on the market. Suggested list price for the scanner is $699.99.
FAIR LAWN, N.J. — Maxell will conduct a "double-barreled" presentation strategy at RetailVision, focusing on future technology roadmaps and cross-category selling.
On the technology side, Maxell is showcasing advances in optical and mid-range tape technologies that will bring storage capacities up to 200GB in two years, and up to 600GB by 2007. Among the technologies featured are Blue Ray DVD, Advanced Optical Disc, Holographic Disc and future generations of LTO and SDLT.
The company is also presenting retailers and resellers with a cross-category merchandising strategy that focuses on how end-users address their product needs, emphasizing Maxell's brand strength and breadth of product portfolio. The merchandising strategy being outlined by the high-technology marketer of digital media, accessories and batteries addresses the fact that consumers looking to satisfy their home entertainment and recording memory needs are often also looking for data storage and accessory solutions for their home office or small business.
FREMONT, CALIF. — Antec is unveiling four innovative new products to meet the surging demand for do-it-yourself computing. The P160 case, the new flagship of the company's standard-setting Performance line, is carved out of strong anodized aluminum and packs 10 drive bays. It also features a convenient swiveling control panel, as well as a host of ultra-quiet features adapted from the award-winning Sonata, including a low-speed 120mm fan, rubber mounting grommets and isolated HDD bays.
The portable Super LANBOY case features an anodized aluminum body that conceals nine drive bays, ideal for avid PC gamers. Two 120mm fans deliver cooling, and a windowed side panel provides a view of whichever components the user chooses to install.
The latest addition to Antec's Lifestyle series is the miniscule Minuet. It is designed with a slender footprint and includes a bracket that allows it to fit vertically or horizontally into even the tightest spaces, making it an ideal solution for casual PC users, small businesses and schools or anyone who needs a compact, inexpensive case.
SANTA ROSA, CALIF. — Lowepro is introducing the CompuTrekker AW, a new backpack designed specifically for digital photographers on the go. The backpack offers a compact way to safely store and transport digital cameras, accessories and a notebook computer. Its reinforced construction, shock-absorbing closed-cell foam padding and tough, water-resistant outer fabric protect its contents from moisture and sudden impacts, while offering users balanced comfort and hands-free access to their equipment.
The CompuTrekker AW's main compartment is dedicated to storing cameras, lenses and other accessories such as memory cards, battery packs and chargers. Adjustable padded dividers allow photographers to customize the compartment based on their selection of equipment. For added safety and security, a built-in, quick-release buckle fits snugly around the zippered compartment to further protect the computer from accidental damage. For comfort, the backpack features an adjustable harness with padded, contoured shoulder straps, quick-release sternum strap and waist belt. Also incorporated is a quick-access, hideaway tripod mount, SlipLock attachment loops and laminated zippered organizer pockets. Suggested retail is $179.
Lowepro is also spotlighting its new Edge Collection of camera bags. Constructed from durable, water-resistant fabric and trimmed with reflective piping, the Edge Collection includes three bags and two pouches, all available in classic black or bold blue. Suggested retails range from $14.99 to $39.99.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Jasco is highlighting a new advanced line of GE-brand surge protectors offering innovative technology with stylish designs. Available in two-tone colors of black and silver or white and computer beige, the surge protectors feature a cord manager that extends out from the end of the unit, and a slim, right-angle plug that fits easily behind furniture. The units also feature auto shutdown, dial-up and DSL modem protection, 3-line phone protection, 2 or 4 coax line protection, and RJ45 protection for Ethernet/CAT-5. Their power outlets are spaced to accommodate bulky adapters and have sliding safety covers to protect unused outlets.
The GE-brand Surge Protectors are available in six different joule ratings, and in both block and strip housing designs. They come in sturdy clamshell packaging, or optional box packaging that allows for easy stacking or hanging. Suggested retails range from $12.99 to $39.99.
Jasco is also introducing three new GE-brand MP3 accessories. The GE brand Wireless MP3 Transmitter is a wireless solution for playing computer or MP3 music through home stereos, boomboxes and headphones. It comes with a transmitter that plugs into the computer soundcard or MP3 player and a receiver that connects to the stereo system. The wireless system provides quality transmission up to a 100-foot range. Suggested retail is $39.99.
Jasco is also demonstrating its new GE-brand 5.1 Surround Sound Headphones, which come equipped with six built-in driver units and two vibrating devices, and a 5.1 amplifier box with built-in hi-fi amplifier and an in-line volume control. Complementing the headphones is a 5.1 USB Sound Adaptor that connects through a standard USB port and separates sound into all six channels necessary to support true 5.1 surround sound. Suggested retails are $49.99 for the headphones and $39.99 for the USB adapter.
ASUZA, CALIF. — Seasonic is introducing the latest models in its series of next-generation power supply products designed to offer a complete solution for upgrading OEM power supplies.
The Super Versatile SFX 12V Micro ATX Power Supply features an all-in-one "magic" bracket that easily adapts to different OEM designs for simple PC upgrades. The free customized bracket supports ATX, uATX and PS3 form factors. Designed for Intel SFX 12V version 2.2, the Super Versatile provides high efficiency, up to 75 percent. Its Dr. Cable cable management kit tidies up cluttered wires, eases access to connectors and streamlines airflow to improve cooling. Featuring a 200-watt voltage, the power supply is priced at a suggested $39.99.
The Super Silencer ATX 12V Power Supply is an ultra-quiet, highly efficient product that includes Seasonic's patented S2FC (Smart and Silent Fan Control) technology and a soft-mounting rubber cushion fan for quieter operation, as low as 25 db. S2FC technology reduces noise without increasing temperature, while extending fan life by eliminating unnecessary rotation. The Super Silencer carries a three-year warranty and comes in voltages ranging from 300-460 watts, with suggested retails ranging from $59 to $119.
MINNEAPOLIS — Digital River is highlighting its enhanced Channel Partner Program for retailers and software publishers. By leveraging new technology, online retailers can easily integrate, market and sell Digital River's extensive catalog of downloadable software with their online merchandise. As a result, retailers can offer their end customers a wider variety of software titles in one seamless, branded shopping experience.
Digital River's Channel Partner Program is designed so retailers can recognize top-line revenue on software sales made via the catalog without carrying inventory. To enhance the marketing and sales of software products in the retail channel, Digital River is dynamically uploading its catalog of downloadable software titles as well as product images and descriptions to retailers that are part of the program. In return, retailers can display the catalog information through their e-commerce sites and manage all online sales using one shopping cart.
CHATSWORTH, CALIF. — Alera Technologies is unveiling its new DVD Quad Cruiser, an external DVD recorder based on Dual Standard 8-in-1 DVD+/-R/RW Technology. It supports all popular DVD formats, enabling users to use DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW and CD-ROM discs all with one product.
The DVD Quad Cruiser is an external 4X DVD recorder with USB 2.0 A-Connect strategy that can support optional IEEE 1394 FireWire or Cardbus/PCMCIA connections. It writes DVD+/-R at 4X, DVD-RW at 2X, DVD+RW at 2.4X, CD-R at 16X, and CD-RW at 10X. It is hot-pluggable, with an A-Connect USB 2.0 cable included, and comes with a software suite that includes Ulead MovieFactory, Ahead Nero Express Suite, MusicMatch Jukebox, and a DVD Movie Player. Estimated street price is $399.
Alera is also demonstrating its new DVD Copy Tower Dual family of duplicators, also based on Dual Standard 8-in-1 DVD+/-R/RW Technology to support all popular DVD formats. The family of multi-drive, multi-format 2X DVD duplicators offers standalone DVD/CD duplication in 3-recorder and 7-recorder tower configurations. The 1:3 DVD Copy Tower Dual has an estimated street price of $1,699, and the 1:7 Copy Tower Dual has an estimated street price of $3,299.
TORRANCE, CALIF. — Aspire Digital is introducing the AD-2100PLUS, designed to double as a complete receiver-less home theater system and a high-powered 5.1 surround sound system for a computer. Connected to a television, the AD-2100PLUS delivers powerful 5.1 surround sound and ultra-crisp images. Connected to a computer, it allows users to experience music and computer games in rich 5.1 surround sound.
The value-priced AD-2100PLUS includes a robust AD-100MTRS surround-sound mini-tower and center speaker set, a sleekly designed AD-130PSC powered subwoofer and the company's AD-1100 DVD player with progressive scan and bonus karaoke feature. It is packaged with a complete set of cables to connect the system to a television. It also is equipped with an audio combo cable for the subwoofer which splits the two-channel output from the computer into 5.1 surround sound audio output.
The mini-tower speaker set includes front and rear speakers and a center speaker totaling 500 real watts. The 130-watt subwoofer powers the entire speaker system and provides 5.1 Dolby digital audio output directly from the DVD player or six-speaker output from the computer via the audio combo cable. Remote controls and speaker cables are also included. The AD-2100PLUS has a suggested retail of $299.99.
LAWRENCE, KANS. — Griffin Technologies is unveiling SecuriKey Parental Control Edition, a practical way for parents to control their children's PC and Internet use at home. Featuring a small, convenient key-like device that plugs into the PC's USB port, SecuriKey Parental Control protects children from unsupervised online activity and ensures that parents are able to effectively govern PC and Internet use.
A variety of access options are available for the product, including two-factor (token and password) protection. The technology also enables partial access so that children can, for example, use the PC but not be able to access Internet functions such as e-mail, Web browsers, or online newsgroups. SecuriKey Parental Control Edition's USB token is small enough to attach to any key ring, and plugs easily into a computer's USB port, supporting USB 2.0, as well.
ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Orange Micro is demonstrating its new Blue2 Wireless Headset with Microphone, a Bluetooth wireless headset/microphone designed for use with any computer. Blue2 features the Jabra Freespeak headset/microphone and uses Bluetooth technology to establish a wireless connection between the headset and computer.
Blue2 comes with a USB Bluetooth/ USB adapter for easy connectivity. The headset weighs less than one ounce, has a built-in touch-intuitive volume control and on/off button, and offers a range of about 30 feet. The Jabra Freespeak headset will also automatically function with a Bluetooth-enabled cellphone, and the Bluetooth connection can be password-protected for additional security. Suggested retail is $129.99.
Expanding further in the Bluetooth arena, Orange Micro is also rolling out the Blue2 Bluetooth USB Adapter. Users install the required software, then plug the tiny adapter into an existing Bluetooth port, and "scan the area" for Bluetooth devices. The onscreen interface locates any Bluetooth devices and users can click on the device they want to connect.
The Blue2 Bluetooth USB Adapter is a class II Bluetooth device, providing a communication range of approximately 30 feet. An extension cable is included to expand its reach. Suggested retail is $39.
NEWBURY PARK, CALIF. — Battery-Biz is spotlighting the national rollout of its product line in retail stores under the Hi-Capacity label.
Among the products being highlighted at RetailVision are the Universal Laptop Battery Pack, offering a thin and lightweight structure, and engineered to fit over 80 percent of laptop models; and the Universal AC Adapter, which powers a laptop while charging its battery, and features a slim, lightweight design. Also, the Universal Ultra-Fast Camcorder Battery Charger and Universal Ultra-Fast Digital Camera Battery Charger are both designed to work with all 3.6, 3.7, 7.2, and 7.4V lithium-ion batteries, and are built with over-voltage, short-circuit protection for total charge safety. Both can be used with 100-240VAC or 12VDC power sources.
WEST KINGSTON, R.I. — American Power Conversion (APC) is introducing four new models in its recently launched TravelPower Case line of notebook power carrying cases. The cases combine a single power adapter that helps ensure mobile devices, such as notebook computers and cellular phones, are constantly charged and ready to use.
The four new models complement the existing synthetic leather and ballistic nylon cases and offer more space and style options. Two of the four models are larger versions of the existing cases, allowing for storage of three-ring binders and/or other office equipment in addition to a laptop, phone and PDA.
The remaining two new models offer not only more storage room, but also new case designs. The first is an 1,800-cu.-in. Roller Case, large enough to hold both a laptop computer and an LCD projector. Its sturdy wheels and long carry handle make it easy to roll equipment down corridors or through airports. The second, the TravelPower Backpack, features rugged construction and padding for full protection of electronics wherever users find themselves.
The new models are priced from $119.99 to $179.99, and will be available in stores in late September.
COSTA MESA, CALIF. — The Express Group is showcasing its wide variety of marketing support services for retailers and manufacturers. Its areas of expertise include rebate/product fulfillment, mass distribution and printing.
In fulfillment, the company leverages technology to increase redemption accuracy and reduce fraud, and reduces customer service issues by providing consumers with information they need, including redemption status, e-mail notification and check information. It also provides access to account information for both consumer and clients.
In distribution, The Express Group manages client-specific distribution needs, offers high-volume shipping discounts, and provides an account management team to handle every need — from program set-up through final reporting, among other benefits. The company also is a full-service printing provider servicing small to large scale/volume projects and it leverages promotional dollars by reducing high markups from third-party print sources, while eliminating distribution costs to move projects to the next phase.
IRVINE, CALIF. — Susteen is demonstrating DataPilot version 2.8.3, the latest version of its cutting-edge communications software that allows simple transfer of contact information between a user's mobile phone, PC, Palm Desktop and other PDAs. The software interfaces with the contact management software running on the PC, as well.
DataPilot supports phonebook management, ring tone editor, data connectivity (dial-up to the Internet) and screen saver editor based on phone models. It offers interoperability with the most widely used contact management software, including Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and ACT!, and is the only product in its class to allow users the ability to switch from any supported model/brand of mobile phone to another without the need to buy new software.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Verbatim is unveiling a new family of DigitalMovie 4X-speed DVD+/- media with the unique look of a movie reel. Following in the footsteps of the company's popular Digital Vinyl CD-R discs that look like 45-r.p.m. records, the new DigitalMovie discs are designed to add an element of fun to recording, viewing and sharing home movies.
The discs are available in 3-packs with a choice of 4.7GB DVD-R or DVD+R media packaged in clear DVD Super Jewel Box cases. They store nearly two hours of video on a single disc. At 4X speed, the industry's fastest write-once speed, an entire disc can be recorded in about 15 minutes.
The new discs incorporate revolutionary recording layer technologies and ultra-precise molding technology developed by Verbatim and its parent company, Mitsubishi Chemical. With these technologies, the discs not only support the high-speed lasers and drive speeds of today's newest DVD drives, but also maximize drive performance. Backed by a lifetime warranty, the DigitalMovie DVD+/- media are expected to have a street price of about $11.99 per 3-pack. They will be available in October.
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.