On the Road, Again
At Sony’s Interaction Lab in Tokyo they’re working on a product called “Gummi.” In German, Gummi means rubber. This product is a rigid TFT LCD color panel mounted on a flexible base. Sony intends to use bending as a means of interfacing with a credit card sized computer. Bending data is received from tow sensors attached to opposite sides of the prototype. The base is rigid enough to return to its flat state when there is no force applied. Because organic light emitting diode displays can be made flexible, there are possibilities for this type of device.
Tablet PC makers are pushing to get their product into the hands of consumers to move beyond the corporate market. Hewlett-Packard will start selling its TDV V800XPT Tablet to retail customers. The V800XPT has an 800 Megahertz Transmeta Crusoe processor, 128MB of memory, a 30 Gigabyte hard drive, and an 8.4-inch screen. The V800XPT sells for $899. TDV Vision (from China) is planning to sell the VS200XP for $999 with a Via Antar 1.2 Gigahertz processor, 216MB of RAM, a 30 Gigabyte hard drive and a 14-inch screen. Also in this race are Acer, Toshiba America and Motion Computing.
In the thin and light notebook department are entries from IBM, Hewlett-Packard,
Velocity Micro, Polywell and Systemax. IBM has the ThinkPad R40 with a
1.3 Gigahertz Pentium M processor, 512MB of DDR RAM, a 40 Gigabyte hard
drive, a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, a 14.1-inch screen, ATI Mobility Radeon
graphics with 16MB of memory and a weight of 5.6 pounds. The cost of this
unit is $1,664.
Velocity Micro claims the NoteMagix B50 with a 1.7 Gigahertz Pentium M processor, 1 Gigabyte of DDR RAM, a 60 Gigabyte hard drive, a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, a 15-inch TFT screen, Radeon 9000 graphics and a weight of 6.3 pounds. This unit sells for $2,780.
Polywell has the PolyNote 3000N with a 1.5 Gigahertz Pentium M processor,
512MB of 266 Megahertz DDR RAM, 40 Gigabyte hard drive, a DVD/CD-RW
combo drive, a 14.1-inch TFT screen, Intel 82852 graphics and weighs 3.9
pounds. The selling price for this unit is $1,499.
Palm, Inc. has introduced a foldable wireless keyboard that links to any Palm device by an infrared connection. The keyboard is available for $69.95. Also introduced by Palm is the Zire lighted Stylus Pen Pack. The pack comes with a standard stylus and a stylus with a small flashlight on the end. The price for the pack is $14.95.
Have you heard of the Trilobite? Well it’s a computer (sort of). The Trilobite is a new, autonomous vacuum cleaner that uses ultrasound to navigate through a room. All you have to do is press the start button. The Trilobite sends out an ultrasound signal that hits the walls and furniture and gives the machine an accurate picture of the room. After the machine maps the room, it automatically starts vacuuming the room. When it’s finished, it automatically turns itself off. If it loses its charge while it’s vacuuming, it returns to the charging station. It seems to me that I saw a device like this in the Sharper Image in the mall. Sounds like my kind of gadget.
Chuck Horowitz, a HAL-PC member, can be reached at email@example.com for questions or comments.