EXEC TECH : Insight Europe

Held from 4-9 September, IFA had over 1164 exhibitors all highlighting the latest trends in technology. The big news was 3D television, with Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and others (with the exception of Toshiba) showcasing 3D.
Last year’s initial forays into connectivity have produced hybrid televisions fuelled by the desire to watch internet content on demand on large, HD, flat screen television. Just think, while watching rugby match, you could simultaneously pull up window with some stats on previous games, or player’s history.
Other consumer electronics trends to watch include the now mature Blu-ray Disc market; networking; mobile entertainment, communication and navigation; and flash memories with huge capacity replacing mechanical storage. Energy efficiency is core component that all manufacturers are now considering so your new products should start consuming less energy and be cheaper to run.
NZ Management picked few show highlights.

Boosting mobile communication
Cell phone signal booster company Wi-Ex, showcased its international product line including the zBoost-ONE UMTS 3G signal booster and the zBoost International Dual Band.
The zBoost-ONE UMTS 3G signal booster consists of one base unit with no external aerials and extends 3G voice and data zones for single or multiple users in homes or offices using UMTS/HSPA (2100MHz).
The zBoost International, dual band unit, works with all phones on the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequencies and allows increased indoor cell signal coverage up to 20 square metres.
Designed to create an indoor zone for 3G data services and supporting UMTS data protocols at 2100MHz, the zBoost-ONE UMTS can significantly enhance the throughput of mobile data, and in some cases allow data to work in areas where data access would otherwise not be available.
Internationally, the high data speeds of UMTS are now most often used for internet access making the zBoost an ideal product for people with smart phones like the iPhone, Blackberry and Palm. It finds the mobile network and automatically begins reducing dropped calls and increasing data throughput.
Another model, the zBoost International allows multiple users to operate their phones simultaneously (including both data and voice). It retails for an introductory price of US$499.

Mobile printing
Smartphones mean you can conduct business relatively seamlessly while away from the office, maybe not while actually in the air, but at every step in between. But every now and then digital isn’t enough and you need to print contract or e-ticket. PlanOn’s new Web Server Printing for Blackberry enables you to do just that using one of its PrintStik wireless mobile printers.
A self-contained thermal printer complete with 20 8.5-inch wide pages and battery, the PrintStik weighs 513 grams (including the paper cartridge) and measures compact 25mm x 48mm x 280mm. That’s small enough to easily fit into laptop case. Bluetooth connectivity negates the need for carrying around cables and the battery (good for printing 30 pages up to 600dpi at three pages per minute) can be charged from car if necessary.
Thermal printing is also ‘suit-safe’ – the PrintStik doesn’t leak, dry up or become unstable with temperature and pressure changes. XP, Vista, Blackberry and PocketPC are all supported so you’re not restricted to Blackberry.
Price: US$199.99 up to US$349.99, depending on model.

Travel relief
Sennheiser’s new show release, the MM 450 Travel headset features NoiseGard 2.0. Originally developed for pilots, the NoiseGard system blocks out up to 90 percent of disturbance noise, so it’s good choice for frequent flyers. This works by reversing the ambient noise signal (picked up by tiny microphones) by 180 degrees, creating corresponding anti-noise wave that almost totally cancels out the original noise.
Bluetooth wireless transfer technology lets you connect to your mobile phone or computer to take call or access music. Realistically, some airlines may restrict the use of Bluetooth in flight, so versatile cabled adaptor system enables you to connect to all standard in-flight entertainment systems, MP3 players and other audio sources.
Tired of always having to remove your headphones when the flight attendant wants to take your meal order or the person next to you asks you question? The TalkThrough function enables you to do just this at the touch of button.

Portable connections
The Journ.E is home multimedia tablet that lets you do all the social and practical things you normally would online, but is highly portable and allows you to access information instantly without having to boot up. With this device, Toshiba is hoping to be first to market with what it believes will become “the fastest growing product category in the overall consumer electronics space”. Like many others, Toshiba was all about connectivity and usability, introducing Digital Media Controller software for easy content sharing between connected devices. Expect to see simple connectivity between all your devices, both at home and in the office. Toshiba was unable to say when the Journ.E would be available in New Zealand and Australia.
RRP: €249.

Powering down peripherals
In keeping with the dual desire to save the planet and one’s bank balance, the HiSaver (available in TV and PC version) is multi-outlet power strip and motion sensor that automatically powers down your PC peripherals and electric appliances in your absence and turns them back on when you come back.
The PC version has master/slave relationship to maximise energy saving of your peripherals after 10 minute absence while the TV version allows you to power down your home entertainment appliances after one, two or three hours. Both offer Zero (0.2W) Standby Power when switched off by the user.
According to HiSaver, the savings potential of the product is between €75 and €95 year (based on €0.20 per kilowatt hour) while the product itself will set you back €99. An added bonus is that it also features powerful 3180 joule surge protector.

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