PC Cameras/Software Dominate At RetailVision

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Orlando, Fla. -- PC cameras were at RetailVision in full force with Intel, Broadcom and Xirlink showing their wares, while software developers brought an array of anti-virus and Web development titles.

Broadcom Corp. demonstrated Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) products designed to ensure rapid availability and deployment of consumer-friendly, low-cost home phone-line networks. Broadcom is a member of the non-profit alliance, comprised of more than 150 companies.

Users who purchase home networks, typically for less than $100, and CE products that can "talk to each other" are able to save on equipment costs by sharing one printer or computer, save service costs by sharing Internet access, and slash network setup time for multi-user gaming throughout the house.

Broadcom demonstrated that HomePNA's new networking technology is faster than the first generation, while maintaining compatibility with existing home phone-line technology.

In addition to promoting the HomePNA specifications, the alliance offers point-of-purchase displays for retailers.

Intel is shipping its Pocket PC Camera, which takes pictures and records video, whether or not the camera is tethered to a PC. At a suggested retail of $149, the camera plugs directly into a PC or travels on the road.

A digital camera and a PC camera in one, the product holds up to 128 high-quality VGA (640 x 480) pictures, with 8MB of memory, records up to two minutes of video, makes video phone calls over the Internet, and allows users to create their own movies.

In addition, the Pocket PC Camera lets users create and send video e-mail or e-mail postcards, play camera games and build a home page.

Com21 introduced the DOXport 111 cable modem, said to be 100 times faster than standard telephone modems.

The unit, which has a suggested retail of $299, eliminates the delays of phone-modem dialing into an Internet service provider. Once users connect to the Internet through cable, the modem is always on, and as soon as they turn on the computer, they have Internet access without disrupting TV service or incoming phone calls.

The modem can support up to 16 computers, depending on the cable service available in a particular area.

InfoUSA, a database marketing company, offers data on CD-ROMs and DVDs listing sources such as doctors, lawyers and real estate agents. Consumers are able to see what a business is like from their PCs, the company said. The software can be used for sales leads, business credit reports, market research, job exploration, travel planning and directory assistance.

Among InfoUSA's software, Expanded Caller ID ($59.95 suggested retail) enhances caller ID services to include a caller's full address, fax number, call blocking, mapped location, etc.

The 104 Million Businesses & Households title includes virtually every U.S. business and household phone number, giving users nationwide directory assistance on their PCs. Suggested retail is $29.95.

Streets USA, at a suggested $9.95 retail, contains almost every U.S. street, highway and road. The software offers 10 different levels of mapping detail and over half a million points of interest.

Enova Software is targeting first-time Web developers, home users and others with its Namo WebEditor 4 website creation software that includes database access, spreadsheet importing, chart creation, XML support, image editing tools and other productivity-enhancing features.

Enova said a user doesn't need to know HTML or JavaScript to build a cutting-edge website: If they know how to use a word processor, they will be able to use the Namo WebEditor 4, add dynamic effects, and manage and publish the site.

Selling for a suggested $89.95 retail, features include 9,000 clip-art images and a $20 competitive upgrade.

The title's Site Wizard helps users complete professional-looking websites in minutes through a choice of 200 predesigned themes, and the Database Wizard quickly gets the user up and running with database-driven pages.

System requirements in-clude Windows 95/98/2000/ NT, 32MB of RAM and an Internet connection.

The VoiceLink+ product from inChorus.com allows users to combine their voice recordings with high-quality music and multiple photos within a single, integrated e-mail message.

At a suggested $39.99, after a $10 mail-in rebate, VoiceLink+ provides a simple interface and headset microphone to record voice along with point-and-click ability to import MP3 files, photos and graphic images.

Messages created with e-mail VoiceLink+ perform like a photo album by creating a multiple-page message that automatically flips through the pages based on the timing cues.

Once messages are complete and the send button is selected, the message is compressed for compatibility with any modem speed. Download for any e-mail VoiceLink+ message takes place within seconds, the company said.

PromiseMark is offering its PromiseGuard Virus Service Plan for Windows 95/98/2000/NT. If a virus causes damage to a user's computer, PromiseMark will fix it.

For an an-nual charge of $24.95, users are covered for one year of computer repair, access to a 7,000-plus service center network, online and telephone support, virus 911 e-mail alerts, technical support and online software downloads.

The company uses Norton AntiVirus 2000 Software for the initial protection.

For $44.95, PromiseMark offers a hacker-protection plan, which includes fraud resolution service.

IBM introduced ViaVoice for Windows, a family of voice-recognition software titles that make talking to a user's computer easier, faster and more accurate, the company said.

ViaVoice for Windows, Release 8.0 includes four products designed to meet the needs of the first-time or most advanced computer user.

Enhancements include a USB noise-canceling microphone, faster setup time, improved correction capabilities, and expanded command and control features for voice navigation of the desktop.

ViaVoice for Windows, Personal Edition, is IBM's entry-level speech recognition solution that features improved accuracy and performance, and includes a headset microphone. Suggested retail is $29.95.

The Standard Edition is ideal for users who primarily are interested in dictating text into Microsoft Word or ViaVoice SpeakPad, IBM's speech-enabled word processor. The product offers improvements to the voice engine, as well as Direct Dictation into Microsoft Word 97 and 2000. Suggested retail is $59.95.

The Advance Edition offers a USB digital microphone adapter for digitized or analog USB connectivity, making it a powerful USB speech solution. It also provides Natural Language Commands for control over voice-recognition dictation. Suggested retail is $99.95.

ViaVoice for Windows, Pro Edition, offers maximum efficiency and productivity, the company said. It includes a digital USB adapter and microphone for enhanced audio quality, and improved recognition and accuracy. Suggested retail is $199.95.

Qualcomm introduced Eudora 5.0, software that allows e-mail messages to be sent and received directly from a Palm OS device. Eudora includes an e-mail client for Palm OS, a Windows conduit to sync mail with a PC and the EudoraWeb browser for Palm OS.

Selling for a suggested $49.95, with a $10 mail-in rebate, the Eudora also offers powerful filters to eliminate spam, faster and more powerful searches and formatting of e-mail messages. Availability is October.

Xirlink, which makes digital camera products, is offering an IBM PC camera. The product, at a $39.99 suggested retail, is ideal for creating video e-mail clips, shooting digital photos and video conferencing over the Internet.

The camera delivers up to 30 frames per second and features a CMOS sensor for sharp image quality and color fidelity, and a 6-foot USB cable. A $19.99 discount is available.

An IBM Net Camera from Xirlink offers a high-definition VGA (640 x 480), CMOS imaging sensor and a 10-foot USB cable. Suggested retail is $79.99 with a $29.99 discount.

The IBM Net Cameras are used for Internet video streaming, video conferencing, video mail and snapshots.

At the top of the line is an IBM Net Camera Pro, which has the same VGA as the Net Camera but includes a CCD imaging sensor. Suggested retail is $99.99 with a $19.99 discount.

The Pro version also adds video input, which enables users to capture video from their VCRs, camcorders or DVD players, in addition to all the benefits of the Net Camera.


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