hello to next-generation
by Alan Zisman (c) 2002
First published in Business in
Issue #644 February 26-March 4, 2002 GearGuide Column
players, versatile phones and printers
of electronic gadgetry brings a new generation of toys, ever
smaller and more versatile than their predecessors.
in small packages
MP3 music players
continue to get smaller and more affordable. A case in point is RCA's
player. Weighing a mere 1.5 ounces (about 42 grams), and
measuring about 1.5" x 2" (whatever that is metric), it sports 64 MB of
memory, allowing it to store an hour's worth of music. An optional
card can double that. It is priced at $229, with a 32 MB version
for $199, but spring for the extra memory; 30 minutes worth of music
doesn't cut it.
does the music get into the player? It comes with MusicMatch
and Real Player software (PC only), that allows users
to "rip" songs
from their CDs, turning the songs into compressed MP3s or Windows Media
files stored on their PC. The same software can then be used to create
playlists of desired tunes, and shoot them, via USB to the k@zoo.
on five to 10 minutes to send over an hour's worth of tunes. With its
size and no moving parts, it's a nice option for skip-free music for
(RCA is supporting
computer-oriented MP3 and Windows Media digital music across much of
product line, including CD boom boxes, portable stereos, and home
CD components. A CD made in a computer's CD-burner can hold 100 or more
MP3 tracks, letting a five-disc changer provide 60 hours or so worth of
enough to fit in the palm for your hand. That's Motorola's V101
Communicator, the company's latest entry in the
wireless messaging market.
V101 can connect to GSM cell networks, such as Rogers/AT&T,
making it a cell phone, complete with voice dialing. As well, its
design opens up to a small screen and keyboard. Two-fingered typists
use the tiny but standard QWERTY keyboard to send and receive Internet
e-mail and short messages to pagers using the Sonar Middleware Standard
New to this
product category is the V101's ability to be used for ICQ chat. (Any
will be able to tell you that this is a popular Internet instant
program, for sending messages back and forth in real time to others who
are from your personal "buddy list," and who are online right now).
users can chat with up to five other V101 users at a time.
V101 can record up to three minutes worth of memos. Its price: $99
but think of the space it saves
Hewlett-Packard's PSC950 ($599) won't fit in
the palm of anyone's
hand, except maybe,
the Friendly Giant's. But the desktop all-in-one may still turn out to
be the space-saver you need.
others in the all-in-one product category, it prints, copies, faxes,
scans. As well, it's the first all-in-one to include digital
features -- no computer necessary.
Insert a digital
camera's memory card into the slot, and the printer outputs a proof
of thumbnail-sized photo prints. (Compact Flash, SmartMedia,
and Sony Memory Stick memory cards are all supported).
sheet can then be marked to select photos, and after you scan it back
the system, full-sized prints of the selected photos are printed
up to 2400 x 1200 dots per inch (using high quality photo paper) result
in near-photo quality pictures, while speeds up to 10 pages per minute
for colour prints keep waiting to a minimum. Even without a computer,
PSC950 can be used to make a page of wallet-sized prints from a single
original. And unlike many all-in-one models, it offers a flat-bed
so it can be used to scan books or other 3D objects.