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Smart Displays will make European debut in March

Microsoft and its hardware partners will use the CeBIT trade show in Hanover to announce availability of the first Smart Displays in Europe.

Smart Displays give users access to their PC through a touch-screen display that can be carried about the home. The display communicates with a PC using the 802.11b wireless Lan networking standard and allows users to read e-mail, surf the internet and use other applications as if they were sitting at the PC.

Smart Displays from ViewSonic and Philips will go on sale in the UK, France and Germany around 12 March, when CeBIT opens its doors. The products mirror those announced for the US market earlier this month.

ViewSonic will offer two displays, the airpanel V110, which has a 10-inch screen, and the airpanel V150, which has a 15-inch screen. The products come with a USB (Universal Serial Bus) Wlan adapter, which connects to the PC and allows it to communicate with the wireless display, and an upgrade to Windows XP Professional Edition, which is required for using a Smart Display.

Prices for Europe are not yet available, but in the US the V110 is priced at $999 (£609) and the V150 at $1,299

Philips' DesXcape 150DM can serve as a user's primary monitor when it is placed in a docking station. It is priced in the US at $1,499, where for a limited time it comes with a wireless keyboard.

Microsoft is preparing an upgrade to Windows Powered Smart Display, the software that runs on the devices. Enhancements will include the ability to stream video to the displays, although Microsoft has admitted that the quality of video playback is poor with the first iteration of products.

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