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Gadget to go ... the EO ultra mobile personal computer.

Gadget to go ... the EO ultra mobile personal computer.

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May 13, 2006
Page 1 of 2 | Single page

Lia Timson rounds up the coolest gadgets at the latest technology trade show.

Tech heads and early adopters must have had a field day at CeBIT, Australia's largest technology trade show. It wrapped up this week, clearing the way for the latest hardware and software to be embraced by consumers and businesses. Some of the gear is already available, other devices will arrive later this year. Much of it capitalises on the trend toward mobile work.

Among the stars of the show was the ultra-mobile personal computer (UMPC) - between a tablet PC and a personal digital assistant (PDA) - with full PC capabilities at half of the price of a tablet. The new $1650 EO from TabletKiosk is 50 per cent bigger than the average PDA, runs Windows XP and ditches Pocket PC applications in favour of full Windows software versions.

It's handier and lighter than a tablet or laptop and more useful than a PDA, primarily because of its 17cm touch screen. The UMPC will come with hard drives from 30GB to 160GB, and with memory up to 1GB. It is Wi-Fi and internet enabled, but does not have a mobile phone, although we are told one can be connected via Bluetooth.

Hugo Ortega, the principal of Tegatech Australia (http://www.tegatech.com.au), distributors of the EO, says demand has already outstripped initial estimates, with 250 units sold in the first two hours of orders opening. It arrives in June.

"From what we've seen, there is demand for digital ink to take notes on the screen and have it transcribed to Word or other [program]," Ortega says. He says it will finally do away with paper notebooks carried around by students and note-taking professionals.

Samsung and Asus also have ultra-mobile PCs on the way soon.

Still on the portable stakes, a new credit card-size USB flash drive has arrived.

The compact Wallet Flash (http://www.walletex.com) has a double-sided USB port that sticks out and is small enough to fit snugly with other cards in your wallet.

Gilad Grinbaum, the director of G-Innovations (http://www.ginnovations.com.au), distributors of the Israeli-developed device, says it is waterproof, and starts from $30 for 128MB of storage.

If you're a mobile worker in tough and secret conditions, Panasonic's Toughbook CF-51 arrives in September (http://www.panasonic.com.au). It is water and shock resistant and comes in a magnesium-alloy case. The 80GB hard drive is removable for security, and fingerprint and smart-card readers are optional. The series was designed to meet US military durability requirements.link...

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