March 11, 2005
HANOVER, Germany - More is better at CeBIT, but not in terms of size. Instead, hawkers ranging from computer manufacturers to cell phone designers have crammed additional gear into smaller cases - part of an attempt, they say, to make the much-ballyhooed mobile digital lifestyle easier to carry.
Witness Samsung Corp.'s new line of camera phones. All are palm-sized, easy to use and have cameras with resolutions of at least 5 megapixels. The SCHV770 even has a seven-megapixel camera with an optical zoom lens that can be attached when a great photo opportunity arises.
Other companies were bringing new security methods to display and sell, such as the "palm vein" scanner exhibited by Japan's Fujitsu Ltd.
Using infrared light, the device, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, scans the palm of a person's hand. In doing so, it checks the person's vein patterns - and if they match those on file, can open a door or give them access to a computer.
"In the future it will be possible for a bank's customers to withdraw funds from cashpoints with a single hand gesture," the company said of the device, which doesn't require any contact with the hand.
Sony Ericsson, the joint venture between LM Ericsson and Sony Corp., launched a mobile camera, sort of, dubbed the ROB-1.
Sporting a small camera, the sphere-like device moves about on three wheels, steered via a Bluetooth connection to a cell phone up to 50 meters (165 feet) away. Its onboard camera can pivot upward by 70 degrees or down by 20 degrees. Snap a picture and it's stored in the device's onboard memory or sent to your phone.
"This is a great gadget for people who really like testing the latest technology firsthand and having fun with new applications," said Ulf Persson, corporate vice president and head of accessories for the company. "Just like the Sony Ericsson Bluetooth Car which appealed to a wide range of gadget fans, we believe that ROB-1 will become the 'must have' Bluetooth gadget to show off to friends and family."
The device is 11 centimeters (4.3 inches) in diameter and can move forward, backward and around corners. Its camera can transmit live images back to the phone controlling it. It's expected to go on sale by the fall, but a price wasn't disclosed.
In terms of keeping big technology small, Germany's Asus Computer GmbH debuted a 15-inch laptop that's just 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) thick.
International Business Machines Corp. offered attendees of the technology fair - the world's largest with more than 6,000 vendors - a sneak preview of its prototype memory chip using so-called nanotechnology that the U.S. company predicted would let consumers store the content of 25 DVDs on a postage-stamp sized chip.
About half a million visitors are expected at the Hanover fair, which runs through Wednesday.