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Kensington Enters Internet Telephony

Redwood Shores, Calif. – Kensington launched its first Internet communications product and introduced new features into its computing accessories line, which now includes an MP3 carrying case that doubles as a portable speaker.

The products, which ship in September along with a quartet of notebook carrying cases, will be followed in October by four notebook mice, including what the company believes is the industry’s first micro-size wireless laser mouse.

In entering the Internet telephony market, the company launched an $89.99-suggested Skype-dedicated Internet speakerphone that connects via USB to a PC. It’s said to be the industry’s first USB-connected speakerphone with dialing keypad. The company promises more Internet communications products at an unspecified date.

The Vo300 Internet speakerphone, which lacks a traditional phone handset, lets users make Internet calls through a broadband-connected desktop or notebook PC as if they were using a traditional phone. The device features a phone-like dialing keypad, LCD caller ID display, send and end buttons, echo-canceling microphone, headset jack, voice-mail and missed-call indicators, mute button, and access to all Skype features through an LCD-screen menu.

Kensington also launched a protective MP3-player carrying case with built-in speaker at a suggested $29.99. The water-resistant FX 300 Speaker To Go features a front-panel mono NXT-technology flat-panel speaker and volume on/off knob. The speaker, which connects to the headphone output of any MP3 player or iPod, plays for up to 10 hours on two AAA batteries. The case also features storage space for ear buds, keys, and other small items.

Among four new notebook mice, the wireless $49.99-suggested Si750m is Kensington’s first laser travel mouse and the industry’s first micro-size laser mouse, the company said. The mouse uses 2.4GHz RF technology to sever the cable connection to a notebook and operates for more than six months on a single AA battery. Laser mice track better than optical LED mice on glossy surfaces and are 20 to 25 percent more power-efficient, the company noted.

A second 2.4GHz-wireless travel mouse, the mini-size $39.99-suggested Si650m, uses optical LED technology and operates for more than six months on two AA batteries. It’s the company’s first travel mouse with four-way tilt/scroll wheel. Both mice are the company’s first wireless travel mice with internal compartment to store their companion 2.4GHz USB dongles.

Also new: two value-priced optical travel mice. They are the $19.99 minisize Ci25m with retractable cord and a 27MHz-wireless version, the Ci65m with battery indicator at $29.99. The companion wireless USB dongle slips onto the mouse’s bottom for storage. The Ci65m operates for three to six months on two AA batteries.

The mice, speakerphone, and MP3 carrying case/speaker follow Kensington’s mid-summer shipment of the industry’s first iPod FM transmitter/charger with Radio Data System (RDS) technology to display iPod metadata on an RDS-equipped car radio. Shipments of the $79.99-suggested transmitter coincided with the shipment of one of the industry’s first universal notebook-docking stations, a $179-suggested device that uses USB to connect to any notebook PC. Unlike rival docks, this one lacks the fraction-of-a-second delay between a mouse movement and cursor movement on a connected monitor, the company contended.