The Millennium Continues
by Jim Bennett (January 6, 2001)
On Saturday evening, I attended the "DigitalHome Experience" event at the new Aladdin Hotel. It was a product and information rich, "hands on" environment, away from the show floor. I was able to see several products that companies will be bringing to marketplace. Being less crowded than the convention centers, I could give a longer look to the new products being shown. Here are some of the companies and products I saw:
Users who are facing data overload and require better data management will welcome the innovative and high capacity modular drive platform from Iomega - the Peerless Drive System. Read more about Peerless Drive.
Pocket Zip media (formerly Clik!) will soon be available with pre-recorded content at selected music stores this month. I like the use of the proven 40 MB Pocket Zip disks with colorful labeling, should appeal to the music and e-book crowds. Its small size can't hurt either. The prototype version of Iomega's stereo receiver component looks very cool. It makes sharing of digital audio files between devices an a network much easier.
Motorola makes good use of their T900 Talkabout hardware for 2 way messaging that can reach almost 90 per cent of the US population (metro and suburban areas only) for under $10 a month. When the company representative demonstrated his typing speed on that tiny keyboard of the T900, it was quite impressive. I look forward to a day when I can use voice dictation as well.
They demonstrated a wireless tablet information appliance running on the robust and stable Linux OS using the Transmeta 5700 chip. The 10.4 inch touch screen looked ok and the hand writing recognition was easy to use. It weighed about 4 pounds and is intended for several vertical markets such as health care, education, real estate and travel. The 802.11 wireless capability and open source Java applications were important features, but "Instant on" was its best feature. Not having to wait for a computer to "boot" is great.
U.S. Robotics demonstrated their growing number of new wireless PC adapters and broadband interface cards. These wireless 802.11 network interfaces, along with cable and DSL modems are quickly becoming part of their office and home solutions, while U.S. Robotics remains the world's number one modem brand.
Wireless 802.11 products shown include the U.S. Robotics Wireless PC Card, Wireless PCI Adapter and Wireless Access Point. They provide cost effective wireless connectivity solutions for the home and small office and will ship in the first quarter of 2001. The wireless PCI Adapters and PC Cards can be used without an "access point" and can create a peer-to-peer network of up to three computers that can simultaneously share Internet access, files or attached printers. If greater connectivity is needed, up to 20 computers can be connected using the U.S. Robotics Wireless Access Point. Product pricing ranges from $150 for PC cards, to $400 for Wireless Access Points.
Beta units of Broadband cable and DSL modems were also demonstrated and are expected to ship during the second quarter of 2001. The ADSL USB Modem is a multi-mode device that supports G.DMT as well as G.lite. The Ethernet Cable Modem is DOCSIS 1.0 certified and will be upgradeable to DOCSIS 1.1. An ADSL Ethernet Router is also planned.
This company seems to be everywhere at the show. They (along with their competitor Sirius) want to be across all of North America and in every vehicle. The sound quality is quite good and they provide a 100 channel choice, for about $10 a month.
This Taiwanese manufacturer demonstrates several HDTVs. The 27 inch SCE27PH16 is under a thousand dollars and their 42 inch plasma, multimedia master unit sells for slightly under NINE thousand dollars. The images were reasonably good considering the price, but HDTV needs to be more affordable before it appeals to the masses.
They showcased their high speed broadband capabilities and gateway services. These services include very fast unified messaging, home networking and automation, video messaging and the long awaited video on demand applications.
Kodak had a full array of products and services including the DC4800 digital zoom camera, the rugged DC5000, EZ200 and the DC3800.
Read more about the DC4800 camera and the DC5000 camera.
Their "smart" picture frame was quite stylish and eye catching. The Advantix Preview camera system was also demonstrated - I felt best feature was the convenience of its "flip" flash. Read more about the Advantix Preview camera, a film camera with a digital display.
The company offers 900 MHz telephones now with an attractive base station starting at $399 in the near future they hope to offer a BT enabled device that will have a 150 foot range!
Heavy DVD watchers take note. The deal is great - for less than $20 a month, you get to see all the DVD flicks you can consume. 7500 titles are currently available. This is good winter fare for the cold and snowbound Midwest, East and Southern regions of this country. I have my copy of the Matrix extended play, if I can only find the time to watch it.
Sony showed their new memory stick with 128 MB of storage, doubling the capacity of earlier versions. They have now eclipsed SmartMedia's largest capacity. Cost is $280. The 256 and 512 mb version should be available next year with a whopping 1 gig capacity in 2003. It just goes to show that you can never have enough storage and it can't be too small.
Gateway demonstrated their stylish Transmeta based information appliance. Its key feature is ease of use.
BeOS has teamed up with Sony in the audio field.
IBM rocks by providing the backbone infrastructure--servers and storage for the new radio broadcast service for XM satellite radio.
Read about all the products we saw at CES 2001.
© 2001 Jim Bennett All rights reserved.