CeBIT: Brief highlights from the show

MPEG-4 looking SharpSharp rolled out a pocket-sized Internet video camera at CeBIT Thursday -- the first such device to use MPEG-4 compression.

The VN-EZ1 Internet ViewCam, which will ship this summer for a still-undisclosed price, is about the size of a compact mobile phone at 8cm x 8.8cm x 4.2cm and uses an LCD screen in place of a viewfinder. The lens and LCD can be twisted 270 degrees enabling users to even film themselves. The ViewCam weighs 240g, including batteries. Sharp said users will be able to record up to an hour of video on a 32MB SmartMedia card, which can then be connected to a PC through a floppy disk adapter.

Is it a scanner, a phone, supermarket gadget?

Symbol Technologies introduced three new scanning products at CeBIT including one device that combines a mobile phone, voice over IP and bar coding. The NetVision Data Phone integrates voice, a bar-code laser scanner and the company's Spectrum24 wireless networking LAN card. The 8 ounce phone can use the network to place calls or use the phone network. It is designed to enable workers to scan in products and then make quick verbal checks of inventory or shipping.

Symbol also launched its first Windows CE-based product -- a pen-like scanner with a mini-terminal -- and a handheld scanner designed for use in home shopping schemes.

Wireless savvy from Psion

Psion Industrial launched three new versions of its Workabout portable computer that feature integrated wireless networking. The models, which vary in size depending upon the type of bar code scanner required, use the 2.4Ghz band, with a data rate of about 1Mbps and a range of 300 meters from the nearest base station. The Workabout is aimed at vertical applications such as warehousing and healthcare.

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