Empeg Car Player
When we discovered this in-dash MP3 player from Empeg a few months ago, we thought it was a radical technical feat to mount a hard-drive equipped Linux box in your dashboard. But, now that MP3 has gone mainstream, the empeg player still seems cutting- edge even amongst all the MP3 and AutoPC offerings at Comdex. For a price starting at $1099, it includes nifty features like a built-in FM tuner with credit card sized remote, and a pull-out anti-theft design. What puts this in the "Oh, wow" category, however, is its 4 to 20 gigabyte capacity that accommodates even the most massive, hours-long playlist downloaded from your PC via its USB or serial port.
Largan Digital Lmini 350k Flip
This inexpensive ($179) VGA resolution camera comes in your choice of colors: Cobalt Blue, Gemstone Blue or three shades of silver. Its 2MB onboard memory and 3-mode "flip" flash (auto/on/off) make the Lmini a low-cost choice for taking quick, screen resolution (640x480) snapshots indoors or out.
Aqcess Qbe tablet
Ever tried using your laptop while standing waiting for the train? Or to take notes in the field with no desk in sight? Aqcess set out to design a PC for all you "stand up guys" (and gals) out there such as doctors, architects, warehouse workers, and journalists that need to compute on your feet, as it were. The Qbe is one of the first modern PCs to apply PDA virtues to a full- powered, desktop class computer. The 14" x 10" x 1.5" tablet PC is a 400 Mhz to 450 Mhz Pentium workstation housed in a rugged yet graceful magnesium, plastic, and rubber case. What makes the Qbe special is its three senses: touch, hearing, and vision. Its TouchPen interface and handwriting recognition mean you can leave the keyboard at the office. Or, you can use the built-in microphone and speech recognition software for input. Also, cleverly tucked into the top of the tablet (where the clip in a clipboard might be) is a full-color digital camera capable of taking snapshots or video. Complete systems including a Porticle (stylish easel docking station) start around $3500. The Qbe is an amazing sythesis of form and function that creates a new category of portable computing appliance.
Photo Courtesy of Xybernaut Corporation.
Xybernaut Mobile Assistant MA IV
Perhaps the mobile computing news of the show was that IBM and cyber-outfitter Xybernaut are in serious talks about jointly promoting wearable computing. The news validates that the Xybernaut Mobile Assistant is no lab stunt but a mature system already finding commercial use wherever hands-free access to data is essential. You can strap on one of these belt-worn Pentium computers yourself along with its XyberView head mounted display (640x480) for around $7500. IBM ViaVoice software is supplied so that this assistant takes dictation and spoken orders even when you can't use the wrist keyboard. An optional headset XyberCam video camera is also available.
© 1999 Stephen R. Jones All rights reserved.