As in previous years, the IFA international consumer electronics show in Berlin has been a platform for manufacturers to launch innovative gadgets aimed at tech-savvy consumers. This year's event, which runs through to Wednesday, is no exception.
Texas Instruments introduced an enhancement to its DLP (digital light processing) projection technology that enables HDTV sets to display 3D (three-dimensional) images. Viewers, however, need to wear special "shuttered" glasses that allow each eye to see only alternate images.
Koninklijke Philips Electronics demonstrated a 42-inch 3D display that can be viewed without special glasses. The prototype is equipped with a dual-mode control that allows users to display HD content in both 3D and 2D formats on the LCD (liquid crystal display) screen.
Displaylink showed how its network display system can be used to connect up to three wide-screen HD monitors to a single PC over a USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 connection. The ability to connect up to six monitors is planned, the company said.
Digital photo frames appear to be in demand, judging by the number of new products unveiled at IFA. Toshiba launched the seven-inch DPF7XSE digital photo and video frame. The aluminium plate frame contains an 800 x 480 pixel display that can show MPEG-4 and DivX video files or photos accompanied by sound from MP3 or WMA audio files played through a pair of one-watt speakers. It is also equipped with 256M byte of internal flash memory, a USB 2.0 port and a multi-format card reader.
Philips showed seven and ten-inch digital photo frames powered by integrated rechargeable batteries. The frames have USB ports and slots for an array of cards formats, including SD (Secure Digital), Compact Flash, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Duo.
Parrot SA's DF7220 digital photo frame can display pictures transferred by card, USB or via a Bluetooth wireless connection.
Sandisk unveiled several new memory cards in Berlin, including a 4GB Ultra II SDHC Plus card and the 8GB Ultra II Memory Stick Pro Duo, featuring read and write speeds of up to 10M bits per second. The SDHC card will retail for around $80 and the Memory Stick for $160. Worldwide availability is planned for October.
For mobile phones such as those from Sony-Ericsson Mobile Communications , Sandisk announced an 8GB Memory Stick Micro (M2) card. It has begun shipping the card to phone manufacturers and mobile phone network operators for evaluation, and plans to sell it in the fourth quarter. Pricing has not yet been determined.
For mobile phone users who need to use two different mobile phone networks, Matsunichi Communication Holding in Hong Kong unveiled a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) mobile phone equipped with two SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) slots. Both can be active at the same time: dual-SIM adapters for other phones simply select one of two SIMs each time the phone is powered off and on again. The D620 also comes with features found in most higher end phones, such as a camera and media player.
For consumers on the go, Philips introduced a new range of slim rechargeable power packs to power up MP3 players, notebook computers and other portable devices. The Power2Charge line of chargers, which use Universal Serial Bus sockets to connect the devices, can provide up to 15 hours of portable power for applications up to five volts. The chargers are designed with folding plugs and LED indicators. The Power2Go range includes a charger that can provide 60 hours of backup power for applications up to 20 volts.