Zing challenges iPod

Even cool guys like me can't get the scoop on everything before a Demo show; there are some latecomers that show up and knock 'em out of the park with the "ooh" factor. That's why we go to the show -- to make sure we find out about them. Here's two more products that impressed me at last week's DemoFallin San Diego.

Forget the Zune, the real iPod killer that starts with a Z could come from Zing Systems. The company teamed up with Sirius Satellite Radio to produce the Stiletto 100, a "live portable radio" device that streams Sirius programming and also has storage capabilities for a user's own MP3 and Windows Media files.

In addition to the satellite receiver, the Stiletto 100 has a Wi-Fi radio that can receive the Sirius stream when a user doesn't have a good satellite signal (such as a lot of indoor locations). I was very pleased that the device supports not only Wired Equivalent Privacy, but also Wi-Fi Protected Access, for users who have a secured wireless network in their homes.

Other Stiletto 100 features are about 2GB of storage for as much as 100 hours of content automatically recorded from favorite Sirius channels, the ability to schedule the recording of as much as six hours of talk or music, and a button that the user can press to save as much as 10 hours of favorite individual songs from Sirius broadcasts.

The Stiletto 100 is scheduled to start shipping this week for about US$350, with a US$70 vehicle kit and US$70 home kit available.

The Presto service and HP Printing Mailbox printer (US$150, plus a US$10 monthly service charge) won't be marketed to IT guys, but IT guys who have family members (Mom, Grandma, Uncle Lester) to support definitely will love this. The HP Printer Mailbox and Presto service lets people who don't have a computer receive printed e-mails, digital photos and other digital content.

No computer is needed -- the HP Printing Mailbox connects to a regular RJ-11 phone line and receives Presto content only from authorized senders -- so no spam will reach the user. Users sign up and receive a special e-mail address (for example, betty@presto.com). Then authorized family or friends can send e-mails to that address, along with photos and other attachments. At designated times (chosen by the owner), the HP Printing Mailbox will dial out to the Presto service to receive messages. The system has colorful templates that let family members send images and e-mails in creative ways, including on a cool photo calendar page. The system even monitors ink usage on the device, so you can order ink and have it delivered to Mom's device when it gets low.

While the device clearly is aimed at nontechnical users, I think techies may buy one for themselves to use as an at-home printer they can send e-mails to when they're on the road. Presto says the product will be released before the holidays.

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Keith Shaw

InfoWorld
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