By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CALIF. — Shuttle Computer Group is adding a new line of completely configured computer systems to its XPC line of small-form-factor, bare-bones computers. Starting in April, a full line of build-to-order XPC configurations will be available from the company's Web site, with a rollout of the new, customized computer systems to consumer electronics, PC and mass merchant retailers later in the year.
Included in the configure-to-order systems are solutions for home/home office, business, media center and gaming/content creation. Retail pricing will range between $799 and $2,999, depending on configuration.
The top-end gaming or content-creation system uses standard desktop computer components and features a 3.4GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor. It has as 200GB hard drive, 1GB RAM, an ATI Radeon 9800XT graphics card and a DVD+RW drive. The media center system features the "Zen" XPC model, Microsoft's Windows Media Center Operating System and a TV tuner card, all at a $999 suggested retail.
Shuttle is continuing to develop and market its XPC bare-bones computers to end users, resellers, distributors and system integrators. It is also planning a launch of LCD monitors to be available with the complete system solutions later this year.
PLEASANTON, CALIF. —Tentoe is launching ChannelConnect, a new Web service that enables computer and consumer electronics retailers to instantly access complete and timely product marketing content on hundreds of products from a wide range of vendors. The free service, immediately available, is a single sign-on solution for retailers who need fast access to product/promotion data, images, accessory lists and other critical information on products sold through their outlets.
ChannelConnect allows each retailer to tailor its portal for the products and vendors it sells. The secure Web site supports multiple users from the same retailer, each with his or her own customized vendor/product list, as well as single sign-on capability, so the user can move from one vendor to another without repeatedly entering passwords. Users can easily navigate to individual vendors or product pages, and menus for each product or category provide access to launch kits, white papers, product datasheets and images, advertising materials, press releases and more.
From the vendor perspective, ChannelConnect enables companies to instantly distribute and synchronize any amount of product marketing content to scores of channel partners, using a single easy-to-use interface. Able to coordinate content for unlimited SKUs per vendor, ChannelConnect lets vendors instantly update price lists, distribute digital brochures, syndicate interactive/rich media to reseller Web sites, design and send channel-specific HTML e-mail campaigns, create custom portals, or manage and collaborate work assignments among internal work teams.
The platform is offered at four different subscriber levels to accommodate the needs of individual vendors at every level of size and sophistication. Depending on the subscriber level chosen, users can deliver content to ChannelConnect's base of nearly 200 top retailers, including Amazon, Buy.com, CompUSA, Office Depot, PC Connection, RadioShack and Wal-Mart, or they can build their own custom partner portals.
DIAMOND BAR, CALIF. — Advanced Media, the American subsidiary of Taiwan-based Ritek, is launching the company's Ridata-brand line of optical products. The initial product line includes CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, DVD-RAM and flash cards. Included in the flash category are CompactFlash, SmartMedia, SecureDigital and MultiMedia memory cards in a variety of popular storage capacity sizes. The Ridata-brand also features a USB EZ drive.
PITTSBURGH — Cardo Systems is launching a universal Bluetooth adapter for the Cardo Allways, a Bluetooth-mobile phone headset that fits over a user's ear or uniquely clips onto eyeglasses or sunglasses. Once plugged into the audio jack of the phone, the compact, streamlined adapter converts virtually any standard mobile phone into a Bluetooth-capable device.
Both the universal adapter and Allways headset come factory-paired with 2.5mm phone jacks and additional connectors for many older models. The universal adapter also comes with two Velcro adhesive pads that attach to the back of any cellphone, eliminating the need for cumbersome buckle attaching. An LED light signals the charge and power status for users.
Cardo's Allways headset features noise-cancellation technology, a separate mute button and a single multifunction control button for easily receiving, initiating and terminating calls. Attachable colored front panels let users personalize the headset, and it comes with a personal carrying case for protection when not in use. The Allways Bluetooth headset has a suggested retail of $99.99, and the headset + BT adapter has a suggested retail of $164.99.
BERKELEY, CALIF. — Freecom Technologies is introducing four new USB-based external-drive products, including the Classic Hard Drive, a low-noise, USB 2.0 hard drive in capacities of 80GB, 120GB and 160GB. The Classic HDD SL is a USB 2.0 hard drive in a slim-line design with 40GB capacity, and the FHD-XS 1.8-inch HDD is one of the world's smallest bus-powered external USB 2.0 hard drives, with integrated cable and a 40GB capacity.
Also making its debut is the FS-50 Multi-Super DVD Drive, a 4x DVD+/-R/RW USB 2.0 bus-powered external drive in a slim-line, notebook-size design that includes an integrated battery pack. The new products join the company's recently launched 2.5-inch FHD-2 PRO, a fast, quiet, external hard disk with one-button data synchronization and memory capacities of 20GB, 40GB or 80GB.
WALLED LAKE, MICH. — The Express Group is spotlighting its customized marketing support services for retailers and manufacturers. With more than 22 years of experience in the field, the company combines program development with high-quality account management and customer service.
Its sophisticated reporting and data management system allows clients to capture important real-time data from their programs, and the company offers dedicated divisions focused on rebate management and fulfillment, distribution services, rewards and loyalty programs, as well as complete printing and bindery services.
MELROSE PARK, ILL. — Peerless Industries is highlighting its Articulating Wall Arm, with a sleek, aluminum design that may be mounted on kitchen or bathroom cabinets or directly onto a wall. The unit is fully adjustable to turn, swivel, fold flat and extend outward to the desired viewing angle.
Also being demonstrated is the Universal Ceiling Projector Mount, which offers a compact, easy-to-adjust design to help line up the projected image on the screen. The universal design fits virtually every projector on the market.
VAUGHAN, ONTARIO — Ideazon is introducing the Zboard, a gaming keyboard designed to enhance the PC gaming experience, and the world's first keyboard with interchangeable key sets. Designed to allow consumers to quickly learn and master complex PC games, the Zboard includes a USB base, gaming key set and standard key set with Internet Explorer feature set. Ideazon will release a special Zboard Doom 3 key set and EverQuest II key set in tandem with those soon-to-be-released PC game titles.
BALDWIN PARK, CALIF. — Buslink is unveiling the initial products in its entry into the consumer electronics business: two 42-inch plasma monitors. The VPM421WW-5 and VPM421W-6 are HDTV and EDTV models, respectively, featuring a one-year onsite warranty included in the price. LCD televisions, set-top boxes and digital video recorders will follow the plasma monitors.
Buslink has also expanded its offerings in external hard drives and DVD drives. Included in the selection is a three-way hard drive interface of USB 2.0, FireWire, and Serial ATA connection, offering true disaster recovery in the event of an internal hard drive or system crash through the SATA. The company's lineup also includes new Dual Spec 8x internal and external DVD drives, CD-RW, Slim optical drives, and combination CD-RW and DVD drives.
LAS VEGAS — Keystone Marketing Specialists is demonstrating its Retail Access technology training Web site, whose total membership has reached 15,000 active members. Designed to help technology companies increase awareness and sales in retail stores, Retail Access educates retail sales staff and quizzes them on the topics presented. The interactive, Internet-based training site provides product training; new technology training; updates on manufacturers; products and promotions; opportunities to win products and prizes; and an ability to source not-for-resale, demo and seed products.
The program will soon be joined by Reseller Access, a sister site designed to train reseller, distributor and online catalog sales representatives. Keystone is also highlighting the results of its internal research showing that in-store demonstrations increase consumer technology sales. The company found that stores featuring onsite vendor field representatives performing demonstrations and answering questions consistently experience 30 percent to 40 percent higher sell-through rates than stores that don't have a representative at the point of sale.
CONCORD, MASS. — TomTom is introducing TomTom GO, an all-in-one car navigation device that integrates the company's personal navigation software into a portable, cable-free design that fits in any briefcase, handbag or backpack. Said to be easy to install and easy to use, TomTom GO fits neatly into the included car mounting kit, which can be mounted on a car windshield or dashboard. Users simply install their desired maps and can immediately use full door-to-door navigation capabilities, color 3D navigation views, as well as voice-guided instructions.
TomTom GO offers touch-screen activation, enabling a route to be planned with just a few taps on the screen. Its built-in GPS receiver features Assisted Satellite Navigation, providing virtually uninterrupted navigation in tunnels and urban canyons. Several different colored front plates are available to complement a car décor.
In addition, TomTom GO can be further enhanced with the addition of the professional docking kit. Intended for professional car accessory installers, the kit allows a direct connection from the device to the vehicle's power, optional external GPS antenna and audio system, so that its voice instructions can be heard over the vehicle's built-in audio system while the background music is automatically muted. TomTom GO will be available in June.
SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — Roxio is launching its Easy Media Creator 7, a comprehensive, integrated digital media suite for the PC that brings together full-featured photo, video, music, burning and authoring applications. The product seamlessly combines features and functionality of the company's Easy CD & DVD Creator, PhotoSuite 7 Platinum, VideoWave 7 Professional and online music service Napster into a single suite of tools for digital content management.
Easy Media Creator 7 offers a common user interface design and workflow model designed to deliver consistency and reduce the learning curve, regardless of the type of digital media being used or the task being accomplished. It provides a set of shared utilities for common media tasks, such as copying discs, importing photos, capturing video and making labels, as well as a central utility for easily organizing, finding and accessing files. In addition, it enables users to seamlessly pass and share media files and file information between components.
The product includes the all-new StoryBoard component, which provides both a simplified Storyline view as well as a powerful Timeline view for creating slide shows with favorite photos and video clips that include transitions, narration, background music and special effects. Also included is a Motion Pictures feature, which brings still images to life by adding pan, zoom and a motion path to still photos. Users can automatically archive large data files across multiple CDs or DVDs, and create DVDs from the entire content of a DV-camcorder using just two clicks.
Suggested retail for Easy Media Creator 7 is $99.95. VideoWave 7 Professional and PhotoSuite 7 Platinum, both of which are included in full versions in Easy Media Creator 7, also will be available separately for suggested retail prices of $79.95 and $49.95, respectively.
CHICAGO — Digital Innovations is demonstrating its new AirDR Air Blaster CO2, an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional air dusters designed to remove dust and dirt from sensitive electronics, including computers, DVD players and stereo equipment. By utilizing carbon dioxide gas, the AirDR Air Blaster CO2 eliminates the negative environmental impact of other canned air products while providing a higher velocity airflow.
In addition, when the AirDR is empty, users need only replace the recyclable CO2 cylinders instead of the entire unit, reducing the amount of disposable waste. The Air Blaster CO2 sells for a suggested $12.99 and comes with two 16-gram CO2 cartridges.
GROVEPORT, OHIO — StarTech.com is showcasing its new Mutant Mods, a comprehensive line of retail-ready computer modification products that includes such items as the Cool Cathode Kit, Luminous LED Fan, and Unreal USB 2.0 Cables with LEDs. The mod products allow computer users to customize the look of their PCs by replacing existing parts with new parts that add light and unique designs to their CPU. Some products have a functional purpose, such as the LED fans that illuminate a PC while cooling its components, and others are strictly for appearance, such as the Electro Luminescent Wire that adds a glow to the inside of a PC.
Many of the Mutant Mods products are available in a variety of colors and styles, allowing users to mix and match for a unique look. All are constructed with high-quality components for maximum performance and reliability. The full line includes Luminous LED Fans, Unreal USB 2.0 Cables with LEDs, Electro-Luminescent Wire Kit, Cool Cathode Kit, Laser Cut and Clear Fan Guards, Anodized Thumbscrews, UV Reactive IDE and Floppy Cables, the Furious Fan Controller, Cases with built-in Windows and Illuminated Power Supplies.
SAN MATEO, CALIF. — Avanquest USA, formerly Elibrium, is unveiling a new program designed to reduce the hassles of testing new products for retailers. The Software Test Program provides retail buyers with information about Avanquest publishing services that can be passed along to small developers, and also commits marketing dollars to retailers for in-store space to test new products. The program is designed to alleviate retailer risk and reduce product evaluation time for buyers.
Avanquest is also debuting new PC utilities and digital media software, as well as demonstrating its leading products, including Power DVD 5 Deluxe, the latest version of the company's DVD software program designed to offer maximum video and audio playback entertainment on a PC. Power DVD 5 Deluxe comes complete with numerous customizable video/audio controls and features SRS TruSurround XT, DTS Digital Surround, Dolby Digital EDX 5.1/6.1/7.1, full-range color adjustment, and system diagnostic tools to optimize picture quality and performance. Its suggested retail is $69.95.
GhostSurf Pro allows users to surf the Web anonymously by routing their information through anonymous hubs around the world, so that Web sites can't identify them. It offers IP address security, pop-up and banner ad blocking, spyware removal, cache and cookie management, complete file removal and more. Suggested retail is $29.95.
MyMailList & AddressBook enables users to organize contact information, sort and filter lists, import popular database files, and print labels and envelopes, among other features. It offers a newly improved user interface, enhanced design tools, a new mail design wizard and background image support, and sells for $29.95. Design & Print-Business Edition lets users create brochures, newsletters, stationery sets, business cards and more by selecting from over 1,800 professionally designed layouts and 2.6 million photos and images, then customizing with their own company logo. It features a built-in address book and Web-publishing feature, and sells for $39.95.
HACKENSACK, N.J. — BDI Laguna is showcasing its full range of technology products, encompassing everything from desktop and notebook computers to digital cameras and photo printers, plasma displays, LCD high-resolution projectors and large-screen televisions, as well as handheld devices and networking solutions from many of the industry's leading brands.
In addition to its distributed products, the company offers customer fulfillment services, targeted marketing and sales programs, 24-hour drop-ship service, an in-house call center and white glove delivery service through its Enroute subsidiary. Products are shipped from three strategically located warehouses across the country.
BALTIMORE — Strategic Vista is introducing a new range of digital broadband security solutions under its Sylvania, Lorex and Home Sentinel brand names. Included are 1-camera to 4-camera Local Observation systems featuring built-in digital video recording and 1-camera to 4-camera Local and Remote Viewing Observation systems featuring USB connectivity to any PC. Also included are 1-camera to 4-camera PC Based Surveillance systems featuring USB connectivity to any PC, with local and remote viewing, and 1-camera to 4-camera Wireless PC Based Surveillance systems with local and remote viewing.
Among the products being demonstrated is the new Lorex DVM2100/2101, a powerful digital broadband solution for security and life-safety protection. The DVM2100/ 2101 incorporates advanced professional-grade video security technology, Microsoft Windows-certified product reliability and a complete system package. It can be easily installed on any home or business PC, and comes complete with a high-quality color camera, plug-and-play video-capture device and graphic user software. Users can monitor video images locally or from a remote PC anywhere in the world, and store and manage video images on their PC hard drive. Video-motion alarm notifications may be sent automatically to a user's PDA, cellphone or e-mail.
EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. — Digital River is showcasing its e-commerce outsourcing capabilities, which include building and managing online businesses for nearly 34,000 companies worldwide. The Digital River international e-commerce suite includes site development and hosting, order management, fraud prevention, site merchandising, reporting and analytics, product fulfillment, e-marketing and multi-lingual customer service. The company also offers try-before-you-buy e-commerce solutions to clients, presenting a collection of trial-ware titles from the Digital River library via a link from the client's Web site. Software includes computer utilities; games; and business, graphic and Internet applications.
INDIANAPOLIS — Energizer is launching its newly redesigned portable DVD battery kit, the ER-DVD, a universal secondary power supply for portable DVD players. The Energizer ER-DVD provides extended run time, extreme portability and built-in cord management in a uniquely styled, patent-pending design. Its extended viewing time ranges from 120 minutes to 360 minutes, depending on model and use, and the kit includes a 4500mAh nickel metal hydride battery, AC adapter for recharging, car adapter and five universal plug tips.
SAN DIMAS, CALIF. — Norcent Technology is exhibiting its new 4.8GB 1-inch hard-drive storage device compatible with CompactFlash II, USB and IDE interfaces. Smaller than a poker chip, the hard-drive storage device allows playback through most desktop or notebook computers, as well as through television sets. The company also offers 1-inch hard drive models with 2.2GB and 2.4GB capacities.
Also on display is an assortment of advanced home entertainment products, including new 42-inch and 50-inch plasma TVs, both available in standard- and high-definition. Both sizes feature anti-reflective coated glass screens, a 16:9 aspect ratio and high contrast ratios. A new line-up of LCD TVs includes seven sizes ranging from 15-inch to 30-inch models. The 17-inch set has an integrated DVD player, while the 20-inch set has a DVD player attached to its lower front portion. The 20-inch and higher sets are widescreen. Plus, a new DVD player, model DP501M, features HDTV up-conversion capability and MPEG4 technology.
Norcent's complete line of affordably priced home-theater-in-a-box systems includes a new 300-watt system. Other units include slim-design construction, built-in Dolby Digital and DTS surround-sound technologies; full compatibility with DVD, CD, MP3, HDCD, Kodak, CD-R and CD-RW; and AM-FM stereo tuner. Each system comes with balanced wattage distribution and subwoofers to product realistic dialogue and music.
A new selection of portable media centers encompasses several models, including a 1.8-inch color TFT panel and 20GB hard disk drive, a 3.5-inch color TFT panel and 20GB HDD, and 6-inch color TFT panel and 40GB HDD. The top-of-the-line unit features 1-megapixel CMOS technology, video recording capability and PMP function. All the devices use Windows Mobile software for Portable Media Centers, based on the Windows CE.NET operating system.
Norcent is also demonstrating the new VastView NICE (Natural Image & Color Engine) video chipset added to all its 2004 plasma monitors and LCD TVs. The NICE chipset offers virtually 30-bit (1.073 billion) natural color performance for exceptionally high-clarity images, while providing truer skin-tone images. It also provides color tracking and de-tracking, local detail recovery and over-driving capability. Its power consumption is under 0.2 watts.
SANTA ANA, CALIF. — MediaGear is demonstrating its new Flash-HD, a 120GB external hard drive with media reader slots that support all flash media. This includes the newest eXtreme Digital format and its new Flash-HD to Go, a wallet-sized, battery-powered portable hard drive that copies photos from any flash format with the push of a button. Both products are designed to quickly and easily store photographs from a digital camera without a PC, freeing up the flash memory for more photos to be shot.
The external Flash-HD comes with a 120GB hard drive in an attractive retro design with copy-button store on the face; while the portable Flash-HD to Go comes with a 20GB, 40GB, 60GB or 80GB hard drive in a sleek design with copy-button store on the face. Flash media ports on each product support CompactFlash Type I & II, MicroDrive, MemoryStick, MemoryStick Pro, SmartMedia, SecureDigital, Multi-MediaCard and eXtreme Digital. The drives connect to any PC with a USB port, and operate with Windows 98 or higher and Mac 9.1x or higher. Suggested retails are $199.95 for the Flash-HD or Flash-HD to Go with 20GB.
MediaGear is also spotlighting its Keychain USB Reader/Writer that transforms flash memory cards into the memory of a Flash Drive to transfer and store photos, music and data to a PC. The product comes in four different form factors and small sizes that support all nine of the current digital-flash media formats. It sells for a suggested $9.95 retail.
BEACHWOOD, OHIO — Levin Consulting is spotlighting the experience, industry relationships and successful track record of its team of strategic marketing consultants. With an average of 24 years in the industry, the company's senior team offers clients understanding of the competitive landscape, helping assess where vendors are, where they should be going and how they can get there. Levin Consulting services include assistance in market-share gains, top-line growth, improved ROI from the channel, geographic expansion and start-up strategies, with a focus on the profitable sell-through of technology products.
SANTA ANA, CALIF. — Ingram Micro Logistics is showcasing its abilities to help companies deliver to their customers through supply chain solutions services for retail and Web fulfillment. The company works with software publishers, hardware manufacturers, consumer electronics companies, brick-and-mortar retailers and Internet retailers, and offers its services to both established and new companies interested in leveraging Ingram Micro's scale and 25 years of experience.
Retail services include retail routing guide management, retail launch management, retail merchandising, consigned and manufacturer-owned inventory management and accounts receivable management. Web fulfillment
services include transparent personalization of packing slips and labels with client logos, and gift-wrap. Customizable services include order management and fulfillment, transportation management, assembly, customization, postponement, information technology and partner integration, product procurement, reverse logistics, customer care, credit and collections.
OAKDALE, MINN. — Imation is demonstrating its new line of USB 2.0 Swivel Flash Drives, available in capacities ranging from 128MB to 512MB. Designed for business users and consumers, the Swivel Flash Drives combine flash-memory technology with the convenience of a USB connection and a unique "never-lose" swivel cap design to deliver an easy, portable means of protecting, transferring and sharing digital information.
Weighing less than one ounce, the Swivel Flash Drive plugs directly into the USB port of any computer and can easily store digital information including documents, music, presentations, photos and more. The drive reads at 8MBps, writes at 7MBps and features a plug-and-play format that allows users to drag and drop files between desktop and drive. Optional public/private drive partitioning and password-protection software (available free at www.imation.com) can save data from accidental erasure or unauthorized access. Small (about the size of an AA battery) and lightweight, the Swivel Flash Drive fits conveniently onto a supplied lanyard or attaches to a key ring.
Imation is also highlighting its recently announced strategic license agreement with Napster. Under the agreement, Imation is the exclusive distributor of Napster-brand optical media products in North America, and will also provide sales, marketing and distribution services for Napster-brand blank CD and DVD products.
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. — ColorVision is demonstrating ColorPlus, the newest addition to the Pantone ColorVision product line. ColorPlus is an affordable monitor calibration tool for consumers and photo hobbyists that calibrates a monitor to produce accurate color reproduction of photos in a few easy steps.
ColorPlus is a Windows-compatible hardware color sensor that corrects CRT, LCD and notebook monitors for accurate, reliable and consistent color, producing a wider range of colors, better flesh tones and more defined shadows and realistic highlights. It connects to a computer using USB and is attached to the monitor during the calibration process. Included software guides users through a few simple steps, delivering precise color in the widest range the monitor is capable of producing. The software automatically calibrates the monitor to industry-standard settings for gamma, white point and luminance targets so that results are accurate and consistent.
ColorPlus comes bundled with Adobe PhotoShop Album Starter Edition and sells for an estimated street price of $99.
WEST KINGSTON, R.I. — American Power Conversion (APC) is demonstrating its new Biometric Password Manager, a personal fingerprint scanner that makes it easy for PC and laptop users to manage their passwords. Based on the leading fingerprint- sensor technology, the solution allows users to biometrically secure their PC or notebook, as well as eliminate the need to memorize passwords.
The APC Biometric Password Manager permits up to 20 different fingerprints or 20 different users to store passwords on a single computer system. Each user enrolls using a finger as his or her identification source. The product comes equipped with a 6-foot USB cable and easy-to-use software, and is compatible with Windows XP, ME, 2000 and 98 operating systems. The software stores an unlimited number of login names and passwords, and when using Windows XP, it allows for fast user switching with each user's personal configurations and passwords recognized with the touch of a finger. Estimated resale price is $49.99.
APC is also showing its redesigned SurgeArrest power protection line, including the Essential, Home/Office and advanced Performance series, with a unique design and enhanced features, such as increased number of outlets, data line protection, longer cords and innovative safety features. The Performance and Home/Office series include plug-activated safety shutters that protect users from accidental contact with unused outlets, a removable cord management guide and a 180-degree rotating cord for flexibility in positioning the unit. Estimated resale prices range from $9.99 to $39.99.
CHATSWORTH, CALIF. — Alera Technologies is introducing a major enhancement to its Digital Photo Copy Cruiser, a device that copies digital photos directly to CD from camera memory cards of any capacity, without a computer. The newly enhanced Digital Photo Copy Cruiser supports Disc Spanning, allowing users to seamlessly copy photo files from one disc to the next, enabling the copying of photo memory cards of any capacity.
With an estimated street price of $229, the Digital Photo Copy Cruiser allows users to add photos to a CD in multiple sessions, so that the entire 700MB storage capacity of the CD may be used. The Copy Cruiser supports CF Type I and II, SD, MMC, SM, MS, MS Pro and Micro Drive; each package comes with the software suite, UBS cable, power adapter and user's guide. The device is equipped with a USB 2.0 port, enabling it to be connected to a computer and used as a 36x CD recorder. A new Mobile Cable Kit provides an additional source of power in cars, boats or planes.
Alera is also showcasing its new Duplicator Grade DVD Recording Media, available in 25-pack spindles. The media is available in DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW formats, with the packs' estimated street prices ranging from $34.99 to $54.99, depending on format.
LAKE FOREST, CALIF. — Western Digital Corp. is demonstrating its new Media Center storage peripheral, which combines a 250GB WD Caviar SE hard drive, 8-in-1 memory card reader, USB 2.0 hub and the company's exclusive Dual-option back-up feature in one external storage device. Versions offering 160GB and 200GB are also available. Also being shown are new external USB 2.0/FireWire hard drives with Dual-option Backup in storage capacities of 120GB, 160GB, 200GB and 250GB.
The Dual-option Backup system gives consumers the option of backing up data either automatically or on demand with the simple touch of a button. Using an easy setup wizard, users can schedule a recurring backup, which is confirmed by a glowing blue button. The Media Center and external drives are also capable of backing up data from multiple sources for consumers with more than one drive or computer.
Both the Media Center and external hard drives feature a built-in USB 2.0 hub and USB port on the front for easy connection of peripherals, two FireWire ports, Dantz Retrospect Express software, setup wizard, extra data protection with Safe Shutdown, front-mounted power switch, heat-dissipating case and Kensington security lock connection. The Media Center is compatible with eight major media card formats and sells for a suggested $399 for the 250GB version. The 250GB external hard drive sells for a suggested $349.
Western Digital is also demonstrating its changeable metallic-colored faceplates for its USB 2.0 external hard drive product line, as well as the enterprise-class Serial ATA 10,000 RPM WD Raptor hard drives and D Caviar Special Edition 7,200 RPM Serial ATA hard drive.
RICHMOND, CALIF. — Keyspan is introducing its USB Server, which connects USB devices to a Mac or PC via a wired or wireless Ethernet- based LAN. Much like a USB print server, the USB Server enables attached USB devices to be used and shared by client PCs on a LAN. In addition to printers, it supports other USB devices, including scanners.
The USB Service provides four ports for connecting to USB devices at Full Speed USB (12MBps). It connects to 10/100 Ethernet networks via an RJ45 connector and supports static IP, DHCP and Apple's Rendezvous address assignment. Client PCs must be running Windows 2000 or XP, or Mac OSX 10.2.8 or higher. Suggested retail is $129.
HORSHAM, PA.— Motorola is showcasing its VT1000v Series Voice Terminal, which enables broadband subscribers to make phone calls over the Internet through a Voice-over IP (VoIP) service provider using a traditional analog phone. The VT1000v initiates calls using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), allowing multiple service providers to leverage the platform for voice service, and in turn providing consumers with a choice of service providers. The product supports two telephone lines; contains two Ethernet ports; and features three-way calling, Caller ID, call forwarding and voice-mail messaging capabilities.
Motorola's HDT300 High-Definition Digital Cable-Ready Receiver includes all the features of the company's HDT100, while adding an integrated digital cable-ready receiver. Since the device is compatible with the FCC's plug-and-play standards through the use of a CableCARD, consumers will be able to connect the unit to any cable service provider in the United States, starting July 1, 2004, when the new standards go into effect. The HDT500R High-Definition Digital Cable-Ready Receiver with Digital Video Recorder offers the same features but with the addition of digital video recording and a 160GB hard drive.
Also being demonstrated is the DCP600 Digital Video Home Entertainment System, a 6.1 channel audio/video processor that combines HD decoding and digital cable functionality in a home theater system. The system integrates a top-quality audio/video processor, AM/FM stereo receiver, HD decoding capabilities and an interactive digital cable-ready receiver — all into one plug-and-play unit. A similar model, the DCP601, includes a progressive scan DVD player as well.
The Motorola SBG900 is a wireless cable modem gateway designed to provide a simple way for broadband users to enjoy a wireless network in the home. It integrates a number of smart and functional features and includes a wireless access point, DOCSIS 2.0-compatible modem, 10/100 base-T Ethernet and USB ports, content filtering and parental controls, and wireless and network security. Suggested retail is $179.
FREMONT, CALIF. — M-Systems is demonstrating its DiskOnKey, a portable USB-enabled flash storage device containing an ARM7 CPU for driver-less operation with and between current operating systems, including Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP,
Ce4.0 and Mac OS 8.6/9.0+/10+ and Linux 2.4.0. Currently available in 16MB, 32MB, 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB and 1GB storage capacities, the device can be used to store and save anything from Word documents to MP3 files.
Made from high-grade plastic with high-grade internal components, the device is offered in a DiskOnKey Classic version, a more compact DiskOnKey Pro, and DiskOnKey Classic 2.0, offering USB 2.0 capabilities. M-Systems recently added EasyTrust, an intuitive security application for securing personal data, to the DiskOnKey devices.
EasyTrust requires users to enter a password once when they plug the device into a computer, with the option of designating that computer a "trusted" PC, thereby eliminating the need to enter a password in the future. The EasyTrust security application resides on DiskOnKey, where data encryption and decryption are done through the device's DOK T4 ASIC, impeding hacker attacks to information stored on the device.
M-Systems is also showing products that expand the DiskOnKey technology into new devices, developed through the company's SmartCaps subsidiary. The initial offering is an MP3 player and voice recorder, which offers high-quality, high-fidelity and high-speed capabilities. Users simply drag and drop songs on the DiskOnKey, disconnect it from the computer and plug it into the SmartCap. MP3s are copied at a fast 7MBps, and the product works with any operating system. Suggested retail is $129.99, which includes a 128MB DiskOnKey.
BRISBANE, CALIF. — Monster Cable Products is highlighting its new line of accessories designed to enhance Apple Computer products, including the iPod, iBook, PowerBook and desktop Macs. Included is the Monster iStudioLink, which allows users to plug their guitars, keyboards or microphones directly into their laptops or desktops. Used in conjunction with the Apple iLife application GarageBand, this 1/8-inch stereo mini plug to 1/4-inch mono provides an easy way to create and record music without a full-on studio, and retails for $19.95.
The iCarPlay Wireless is an FM transmitter for iPod with dock connection. It simultaneously transmits tunes from the iPod to a car radio, as well as charging the iPod while it is in use. Features include one-button FM channel selection with eight available channels, and Smart Digital Charger Technology for fast charges and maximum battery life. It retails for $69.95. A similar product, the iCarPlay for iPod, retailing for $19.95, includes a 40-inch cord that allows users to play tunes through their car stereo cassette players.
Also in the line is the Ultra-Low Profile iCharger for the iPod with dock connection, featuring Smart Digital Charger technology for fast charges and maximum battery life, and the iSportCase for iPod with dock connection. This is a protective carrying case that features a lightweight, durable construction plus belt clip, self-adhesive car mount and easy access to ports and jacks.
Others include the iCase Travel Pack for iPod, which offers a travel case, car-outlet iCharger and iSplitter to allow listening through two sets of headphones. The Apple accessories line also includes iSpeaker Portable, iTV Link for iBooks and PowerBooks, iCable USB, iCable Fiber Optic, iCable Ethernet and iClean Display Cleaner.
Monster Cable is also showing its Ultra-Compact Camera Pack, offering lightweight protection and storage for digital and film cameras, and the Procharger Digital Camera PowerPack 2100 with digital charger and eight 2100mAh PowerCells that are rechargeable . Others include Photo Lithium PowerCells, Rechargeable Lithium-Ion PowerCells for a wide range of digital cameras and camcorders, cables for connecting camcorders to a television or VCR, and a complete line of alkaline PowerCells.
GREENSBURG, PA. — IDParts is demonstrating Karview, a highly portable, 14.1-inch LCD monitor designed to be a "go anywhere" device for displaying output from gaming systems, DVD players, VHS players, computers, digital cameras and camcorders. The monitor comes complete with all the accessories and mounts necessary to easily transition from home to car to hotel or campsite.
Karview's features include a 14.1-inch TFT high-resolution monitor with built-in speakers, anti-glare coating for daytime viewing, desktop stand and patented quick mounting arm for attaching to the front seat headrest in automobiles. It is a gaming system ready for Playstation, Xbox and Gamecube, as well as DVD players and VCRs. Karview offers an ultra-thin, space-saving design and durable, lightweight construction and carries a 12-month warranty.
SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Global Hauri is introducing its ViRobot Expert 4.5 anti-virus software for desktops and servers. ViRobot's anti-virus technology performs real-time eradication of all viruses, and cleans any infected system without the need for extra downloaded cleaning utilities or system reboot.
Hauri's proprietary, multi-level scanning engines and 32-bit technology permit ViRobot to apply state-of-the-art virus-repairing algorithms to fight any new kind of unknown and polymorphic viruses, as compared to the "legacy" 16-bit anti-virus core engine of other programs.
ViRobot runs in Windows Explorer, scanning attachments and detecting new viruses on a real-time basis, while the user sends and receives e-mails. It also automatically downloads the latest software updates without users having to connect to the Hauri Web page. An Automatic Update notice function analyzes all recent update patterns and offers a scheduled function for regular updates.
ViRobot Expert 4.5 includes anti-spam and anti-spyware modules, as well as online customer support service and virus analysis reporting within 24 hours. It works with all Windows-based platforms.
NEWBURY PARK, CALIF. — Battery-Biz is unveiling its PowerPlus 60 universal laptop battery, a 60Wh rechargeable battery that is compatible with over 80 percent of the laptops on the market. It provides three hours to five hours of extended runtime and sells in the $149 to $179 range.
The PowerPlus 60 includes a universal AC adapter and uses Lithium Polymer cells, an energy source that provides maximum power in a slim, lightweight design with resistance to overcharge and leakage. It is engineered to outperform the traditional lithium ion technology used in similar products. The PowerPlus 60 battery will be available at the end of the second quarter.
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CALIF. — Battery Technology (BTI), is introducing the iPod Battery, a rechargeable battery for the Apple iPod line of products. The iPod Battery offers up to 40 hours of music play time or download time per charge, and comes with interchangeable cradles that allow the battery to easily connect to different iPod models, including the third-generation iPod, the iPod Mini and second-generation iPod (with dock connection).
The BTI battery has a USB port that allows users to also charge a cellphone, PDA or Palm device. The lithium ion battery can be charged an average of 350 times, and by design will send power directly to the iPod without charging the internal battery. It comes with a belt clip attachment and carries a one-year warranty.
PORTLAND, ORE. — Rentrak is highlighting its Retail Essentials system, an accurate and reliable source of retail sales performance information for the retail and entertainment industries. Through a secure, browser-based application, Retail Essentials users can access weekly and historical market-level sales performance, as well as individual SKU performance on videos, DVDs, console video games, PC software, peripherals, consumer electronics and books.
Rentrak's Retail Essentials gives users access to data for forecasting trends, analyzing product performance or tracking the industry. It ties the POS data to weekly competitor ad clippings, school schedules, local area events, weather and market demographics. This is designed to provide a better understanding of how sales are being impacted in the marketplace. The system also provides the necessary performance data to enable vendors to manage their relationships with the retail chains they supply.
FREMONT, CALIF. — Logitech is introducing an assortment of new controller products for computing and video gaming. The Cordless Desktop Express is a cordless keyboard/mouse combination that carries a suggested retail of $49.95. In white with a blue accent, the keyboard includes Web, e-mail and calculator launch keys, as well as media control buttons and a built-in groove to hold a pen or pencil. It is designed to be spill-proof and flat for optimal comfort. The white mouse has coordinating blue accents.
Logitech's new Cordless Optical Mouse retails for a suggested $29.95, and comes in four models with varying combinations of black, white and silver to match different PC color schemes. The mouse includes two buttons and a scroll wheel, and is shaped for use with either right or left hand.
For gamers, the new Cordless Action Controller for PlayStation2 features a smaller, lighter form factor than Logitech's original Cordless Controller for PlayStation2, while still providing fast response with its 2.4GHz RF technology.
A mini-receiver plugs directly into the console, and two AA batteries provide at least 50 hours of play with the vibration feature activated, or at least 100 hours without vibration. Similarly, the Cordless Precision Controller for the Xbox is designed with a smaller size and lower battery requirements (two AA cells) than its predecessor, and features a standard Xbox button layout and dual analog sticks. The PlayStation2 controller retails for a suggested $39.99 and the Xbox controller for a suggested $49.99.
Logitech is also demonstrating its new MX510 Performance Optical Mouse, which captures 5.8 megapixels of surface detail per second, delivers an improved 12-bit data path, and supports an acceleration of up to 15g. Designed to be fast, smooth, accurate and responsive, the mouse is coated with a reflective, red holographic finish. Suggested retail is $49.95.
Logitech's newest addition to its family of portable notebook mice is the Notebook Optical Mouse Plus, featuring an innovative, patent-pending cord wrap, enabling the thin cord to wind into a track built in the base of the mouse. Once the cord is wrapped up completely, a snap fastens the USB connector to the bottom of the mouse, protecting the optical sensor. The Notebook Optical Mouse Plus sells for a suggested $29.95 retail.
SUNSET BEACH, CALIF. — The CD Library is demonstrating its complete home disc management solution, designed to help consumers organize and control their media collections, including music CDs, DVDs and data discs. The coffee-table books showcase the CD artwork in the front cover and feature a proprietary indexing system.
Ideal for use as an indexing system with mega-CD carousel changers, The CD Library stores CD artwork and liner notes for each disc in a numbered sleeve that corresponds to the numeric slots within the carousel. This solution enables users to flip through the book and select a CD based on the cover art, or by utilizing the table of contents in the front of the book. The system also offers a media player interface that allows consumers to back up their discs to their computer hard drive in MP3 format. Track listings can also be printed onto labels for burned discs.
Designed specifically for home use, The CD Library comes with a hand-sewn slipcase for storage and protection. A spine label can be generated from the company's Web site for ease of identification of the collection. Three sizes are available: 51-disc-capacity retailing for $24.99, 102-disc- capacity selling for $34.99, and 204-disc-capacity selling for $44.99.
OXFORD, MICH. — PC Treasures is demonstrating TalkItTypeIt speech-recognition software, which allows users to dictate directly into any Windows application, including Microsoft Word, Corel Word Perfect, Microsoft Outlook Express, AOL Chat and others. The program comes complete with a built-in 60,000-word vocabulary and the ability to add new words with ease.
TalkItTypeIt features quick and easy voice training and exportable voice profiles, as well as powerful navigation within documents. It enables users to easily correct errors and uses Microsoft Continuous Speech Recognition Engine. A noise-canceling headset microphone is included in the package.
Also new from PC Treasures is TalkItMouseIt, which provides complete hands-free control of all mouse functions in any Windows application. Users say the name of any object they see on the screen (window, toolbar, etc.), and pop-up hints guide them in positioning the pointer over anything clickable on the screen. They can then say "double-click," "right-click" or other commands to initiate the action.
TalkItMouseIt seamlessly integrates with TalkItTypeIt or can be used as a standalone program. It is ideal for those who have mouse-induced Repetitive Motion Injuries or want to prevent them, for computer users with fine motor dexterity difficulties, or for those who simply prefer mouse-less operation of their computer. The package includes a noise-canceling headset microphone.
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CALIF. — Regent is highlighting its Maxent MX-42V1 Ultra Bright Plasma TV, a 42-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio model that features a 1200:1 contrast ratio, 16.77 million colors and pixel resolution of 852 by 480. The model is NTSC Video system supported, and offers Digital Visual Interface (DVI) with HDCP support, side-mount speakers, detachable AC/TV box, dual HD component video input and tabletop swivel stand.
Regent's Maxent MX-27X1 is a multi-purpose 27-inch LCD TV offering a 500:1 contrast ratio, 16.7 million colors and pixel resolution of 1,280 by 720. It is ATSC signal compatible, and features multi-scanning PC monitor support up to 1,024 by 768 and Digital Visual Interface (DVI) with HDCP support. The MX-27X1 also features external speakers, detachable AV/TV box and tabletop swivel stand. It is HDCP Digital Content Protection System compatible.
Also being shown is the Maxent MX-RS215 DVD+R/ +RW Recorder, featuring a built-in TV tuner, built-in DV/IEEE 1394 input and picture quality/recording time adjustment. The unit is playback-compatible with DVD-Video, DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW (Video Mode), SVCD, CD, CD-R and CD-RW, and also plays JPEG image and MP3 music files. It features DV i-Link, S Video, composite video, audio and antenna inputs, as well as progressive/component video, S Video, composite video, audio, digital audio and VHF/UHF outputs.
SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — Netgear is introducing its 108MBps Wireless Media Router, which enables users to attach a USB hard disk drive or memory stick to their router and store all their files from any computer on the home network. From that point, users can remotely access their MP3s, photos and other stored files on the USB disk or memory stick from any wireless LAN notebook or desktop PC in their home or office, and from any Web-connected PC off-site.
When used with Netgear's 108MBps Wireless PC Card or 108MBps Wire-less PCI Adapter, the router delivers four times the range capability and up to 10 times the speed of 802.11b networks. It also protects information with more than 10 security and privacy features, including a double firewall. An included vertical router stand saves valuable desk space.
Netgear is also demonstrating its Wireless Digital Music Player that connects users' existing home stereos to their home computer networks, enabling them to listen to their PC-stored MP3 and Windows Media format digital music files through their stereo system speakers. Streaming Internet radio may also be played via the wireless device.
The Wireless Digital Music Player is compatible with any 802.11b or 802.11g wireless network, and is simple to set up and use. Easy-to-install software automatically finds all music files by title, artist, album, genre or playlist on any networked PC. It then collects them into one complete database for ease of accessibility. Music can be changed or selected easily from a clear, four-line display on the player with the included remote control. The player is protected with hardware-based Wired Equivalent Piracy (WEP) 64-bit and 128-bit encryption security, and comes with a free 30-day trial of Rhapsody Digital Music Service.
SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — The CasEdge division of Foxconn is unveiling its Diabolic Series ATX Gamer Chassis, the first product in an entire line of DIY component hardware the company is launching in the retail channel.
Designed with a unique look, the case offers a wealth of features, including a 120mm ceramic fan, cool blue cathode light, 400W power supply and tool-free assembly for one low price.
TOLEDO, OHIO — Unitrend is showcasing its Cablety cable and wire management system for the interior wiring of personal computers. Cablety is designed to lift internal wires and cables off the computer's motherboard and its temperature-critical microchips, holding them in an orderly, vertical position. This allows the heat that is normally trapped to escape, making the computer system more stable and reliable.
Made of static-resistant GE plastics, Cablety mounts directly to system motherboards or to any flat surface within the computer's enclosure using the company's exclusive mounting base. Configurations are limitless and will support any PC cable available. Inexpensive and easy to install, Cablety offers the additional benefit of reducing dirt and dust build-up within the processor well, which along with enhanced temperature control, can extend the life of the computer equipment and provide easier system maintenance. Each kit retails for a suggested $12.99.
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.