ViewSonic demonstrated its Tablet PC V1100, which is expected to debut when Microsoft releases its Windows XP Tablet PC Edition in November. The size of a small laptop, it weighs 3.4 pounds and lets mobile workers take handwritten notes on a touch sensitive screen. It uses Intel's Mobile Pentium III processor and has a 20Gbyte hard drive and 256Mbytes of SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM). Data can be entered using a stylus or by hand and the V1100 shows high-resolution images on its 10.4-inch TFT XVGA (1024 x 768 pixel) 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 $2,000 (£1,286) but less than $4,000 (£2,572)".
Symbol Technologies 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 use the device to record inventory and order information, according to Symbol. The device uses a 206MHz StrongARM processor from Intel and comes with 64Mbytes of RAM.
Several add-ons were shown for Hewlett-Packard's iPaq that transform the PDA into a GPRS 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 networks. A model is available at HP's Web site for $399 (£256), and similar products for the USA 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". 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 the end of the year, Intel said. Pricing has not been announced.
One of the new products taking advantage of USB 2.0 was a Flash drive from Lexar Media. 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 6Mbytes per second and written at 4.5Mbytes per second, according to Lexar. Users can transfer photos from PCs to handhelds, or quickly back up important data. The product will cost $150 (£96) for the 256Mbyte version, and will be available in time for the Comdex tradeshow in November, according to a Lexar.
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 fibreglass, 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.