Vendors demonstrate Intel-based devices

Between the keynote speeches and technology briefings, attendees at the Intel Developer Forum had a chance to wander about the convention floor and check out new and existing products that make use of Intel Corp. hardware. Following is a small selection of the many devices on show here.

-- ViewSonic Corp. demonstrated its Tablet PC V1100, which is expected to debut when Microsoft Corp. releases its Windows XP Tablet PC Edition in November. The size of a small laptop, it weighs 3.4 pounds (1.53 kilograms) and lets mobile workers take handwritten notes on a touch sensitive screen. It uses Intel's Mobile Pentium III processor and has a 20G-byte hard drive and 256M bytes of SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM). Data can be entered using a stylus or a fingertip, and the V1100 shows high-resolution images on its 10.4-inch TFT (thin film transistor) XVGA (1024 pixels by 768 pixels) screen. Users can access the Internet via an 802.11b wireless LAN connection. A ViewSonic representative at the company's booth said the device would be priced at "more than US$2,000 but less than $4,000."

-- Symbol Technologies Inc. showed a number of handheld devices for mobile workers including the PDT 8100, which uses the Pocket PC operating system from Microsoft for several different applications. Delivery drivers for PepsiCo Inc. use the device to record inventory and order information, according to Symbol. It uses a 206MHz StrongARM processor from Intel, and comes with 64M bytes of RAM.

-- Several add-ons were shown for Hewlett-Packard Co.'s iPaq that transform the personal digital assistant (PDA) into a GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) phone. The plastic add-ons were somewhat bulky in appearance but allow iPaq users to access always-on 2.5G networks in Europe and Asia, and will also work on 2G GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) networks. A model is available at HP's Web site for $399, and similar products for the U.S are expected in October.

-- Shown off during at least two keynote speeches, Intel's SmartDisplay serves as a portable second monitor and home remote control, or a "cordless PC," in the words of an Intel representative at the company's booth. The product is a reference design, meaning Intel won't sell the device but expects that other manufacturers will. It wirelessly connects to a desktop PC, allowing users to play PC games or surf the Internet while sitting on the couch. By itself it has limited computing power and is designed only to work in conjunction with a desktop. It runs Windows CE .Net. and will be available from other manufacturers by about the end of the year, Intel said. Pricing has not been announced.

-- One of the new products taking advantage of USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 was a Flash drive from Lexar Media Inc. The small data storage unit connects to a PC or notebook through a USB 2.0 port and allows data to be read at an average speed of 6M bytes per second and written at 4.5M bytes per second, according to Lexar. Users can transfer photos from PCs to handhelds, or quickly back up important data. The product will cost $150 for the 256M-byte version, and will be available in time for the Comdex tradeshow in November, according to a Lexar representative at the company's booth.

-- Intel placed PCs made from wildly different materials and form factors at the entrance to the convention floor. One, a menacing "Alien Head" design from Marc "Geezer" Weitz, uses an Intel 2.53GHz Pentium 4 processor. It is about twice the height of a normal desktop PC and its exterior, molded from Styrofoam and fiberglass, alternates between irridescent purple and green. Weitz has developed several unusual PCs for competitions. The mouth of the Alien Head is actually a CD-RW drive, and power switches are concealed beneath the Alien's breastplate.

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