CES: If it's digital, it's probably here
By James Niccolai
(IDG) -- Digital gadgets of every stripe are on display at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. Many of them could make life easier and more enjoyable, but others should probably never have seen the light of day.
Maxtor has unveiled a mammoth 160GB external hard drive that's to ship next week. It's priced at $399.
The Personal Storage 3000 XT connects to a PC using FireWire (IEEE 1394) for faster archiving of digital video and other multimedia content. Users with older PCs that don't support FireWire might pick up Maxtor's $99 DV Producer kit, which goes on sale next month and includes a FireWire PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) adapter card, a connector cable and ArcSoft's ShowBiz video editing software.
SonicBlue has launched the Rio Riot, its first digital music player with a hard drive.
The device can store 20GB of music, equal to about 400 albums, and is due to ship in February priced at $400, the company says. It comes with Real Networks and iTunes music software for both PC and Macintosh compatibility, and supports the MP3 and Windows Media Audio formats. It also has an FM radio and a rechargeable battery that gives 10 hours of playback.
Olympus America has announced two digital voice recorders due to go on sale in April. Each weighs two ounces including batteries and measures about 4 inches by 1.5 inches by 1 inch.
The VN-900 stores 90 minutes of voice recordings and is priced at $60; the VN-180 stores three hours of voice recordings and is expected to sell for $80.
SanDisk has announced Cruzer, a portable storage device that plugs into a PC's USB (Universal Serial Bus) port and reads both Secure Digital Memory Cards and MultiMediaCards, two popular flash memory storage formats.
The device allows users to load images, music and other data from their memory cards to a PC, and comes with a removable memory card in one of four capacities: 32MB, 64MB, 128MB, and 256MB. Prices vary from $60 to $200 depending on the card capacity; the product is to ship in April.
Moxi Digital, the company founded by Web TV creator Steve Perlman, is announcing a home entertainment system that combines VCR functions with an those of an Internet gateway, allowing users to download music, video and email from the Web and distribute it around the home.
EchoStar Communications, a large United States satellite TV provider, says it will incorporate Moxi's software platform in its satellite receivers. The Moxi Media Center should support Macromedia's Flash animation player and Real Networks' RealOne player for streaming content.
Nvidia has announced a new chip set, the nForce 415-D, designed to boost the performance of PCs based on Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon processor.
The 415-D includes nForce's Media and Communications Processor and its new System Platform Processor, intended to improve memory, networking, audio and general PC performance, the company says. The chip set is to be available on motherboards later this month.
Compaq has launched a keyboard that holds a smart card on which users can store logins and passwords for up to 50 Web sites, saving the hassle of typing them in each time.
The Netissimo smart card, made by Humetrix.com, will also dial a user's ISP automatically and launch several Web sites automatically for faster browsing. The keyboard and smart card were launched Monday as a $40 option with Compaq's Presario 4000 and 8000 PCs.
And Benq has unwrapped a 17-inch flat-panel LCD monitor with an 80-degree viewing angle, priced at $899. Expected to ship worldwide in the second quarter, the FP 781 has a resolution of 1,280 by 1,024 pixels and sits on a swivel mount or can hang on a wall.
Electronics get smarter, snazzier at CES
January 9, 2002
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