And you thought notebooks couldn't get more versatile.
Talk about a split personality: Xentex Technologies' Flip-Pad Voyager has one huge 20-inch display that splits to serve two masters. Just rotate the right half 180 degrees, attach a keyboard and mouse, and you and a friend can separately surf the Web, read e-mail, or work on a project—or you can play a game head-to-head. If you're computing solo, the two halves complement each other with, say, a Web page on one side and a document on the other. At 12 pounds, it takes the two-laptops-in-one theme too far, but it double-folds into a diminutive 14- by 10- by 3-inch package.
Prototype: Tell Schweineschnitzel from Schweinemagen with this PDA.
Don't know your Schweineschnitzel (steak) from your Schweinemagen (pig's stomach)? IBM's menu and street-sign translator may prevent a culinary catastrophe. The prototype is a PDA with a clip-on camera. Pictures are sent wirelessly to an IBM server, characters identified, and text sent back. Not the best way to read Molire, but it does translate the basics with few errors. The device could be available in two years.
Never forget to make a print or e-mail a photo again.
How's this for instant gratification: Snap the perfect shot with Hewlett-Packard's 4-megapixel HP 812 ($499) or Kodak's 2-megapixel EasyShare CX4230 ($299) camera, then immediately decide—via a preprogrammed address book—who you want to e-mail it to. The next time you dock with your PC, the pics are automatically sent. You can mark photos for automatic printing as well.
Color us impressed.
Throw away your stirrers and say hello to the first paint container upgrade in decades. Dutch Boy's plastic Twist & Pour Paint Delivery System, otherwise known as a paint can, has a twist-off lid, internal pouring spout, and mug handle. Need to remix? Just close, shake, and pour. Initially available for gallon cans of latex-based paints; quarts will soon
A notebook transforms into a desktop with a wireless keyboard and mouse.
The size of a briefcase and weighing in at more than 10 pounds, Toshiba's Satellite 1955 didn't engender much interest at first glance. But then Masa Okumura, Toshiba's director of product marketing, casually removed the keyboard from the base-and explained that it'll work as far as 3 feet away. There have been laptop prototypes over the years that turn into full-feature desktops, but this is the first that actually delivers.
Smart functions at your fingertips
Watches are hopping on the tactile bandwagon. With six electrodes in its sapphire face, the Tissot T-Touch puts smart functions at your fingertips: thermometer, altimeter, chronograph, compass, alarm, and weather. We'd like to see a larger LCD, but smarts and good looks make this watch appropriate for the office or the Appalachian Trail.
You can now send text directly to any cell number.
If your cousin's cellphone is on Sprint PCS and yours is on Voicestream, in the past you couldn't send text messages. But with Intercarrier messaging, rolling out now, you can send text directly to any cell number. The service is limited to text for now. Enhanced Messaging Service, which supports graphics, and Multimedia Messaging Service (pictures, audio, and video) are still available only to intra-carrier subscribers.
—Suzanne Kantra Kirschner
For movie buffs, 5.1-channel sound makes sense. But what about 6.1 or even 7.1 channels?
For movie buffs, 5.1-channel sound makes sense. But what about 6.1 or even 7.1 channels, which are now hitting the home theater market? We say don't bother.
Why buy: Some filters improve taste, others remove impurities. Here's how to pick the right one for your tap.
If you lived on a deserted island, would you buy a home security system? Consumers do the aquatic equivalent every day, purchasing water filters without knowing if there's anything worrisome in their water. So always test your water first.
Robotics: Sony backs off a hacker and robotics hobbyist known only as Aibopet
"Vogue!" bleats Madonna's voice, and three robotic dogs stare straight ahead, slowly lifting their front paws above their heads to the '90s hit. Perfectly in sync, they flip their paws inward and, yes, strike a pose. The dogs (which can be seen at ) are Sony Aibos, and they learned to vogue courtesy of a passionate hacker and robotics hobbyist known only as Aibopet.
Digital development: Hands-on Indian kids master computerese with zero instruction.
From fishing villages on the coast of the Arabian Sea to New Delhi slums teeming with people and poverty, children are learning the basics of computing—all by themselves. It's an experiment in what Sugata Mitra calls Minimally Invasive Education. "We often make the incorrect assumption that a teacher is required everywhere," says Mitra. If he's right, it could be a boon in India, where more than 40 percent of 6- to 14-year-olds (some 79 million kids) are unable to attend school.
Four new ways to seize control of your favorite game.
1. BUST OUT THE BUTTONS
Capcom's Steel Battalion, an irresistible giant-robot warfare oddity, comes with a more irresistible three-panel custom Xbox controller that's festooned with 40 buttons, two joysticks, a slider bar, and a trio of foot pedals. Available this fall for $150.
By the end of the year, GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox will all support peer-to-peer gaming over the Internet. Here's what each will offer.
Availability: This fall
Price: $49.95 for a one-year subscription and headset
Access: DSL or cable
Player Matching: Included in subscription (with other services)
Titles Expected at Launch: Unreal Championship, MechAssault, Whacked, NFL Fever 2003, and Midtown Madness 3
What the world's top developers are working on.
Doom III (PC)
The next iteration of this venerable shooter title from id Software stole the show at this year's E3 gaming convention, with its gruesomely realistic graphics (courtesy of programming legend John Carmack) and convincingly creepy soundtrack from macabre rocker Trent Reznor.
And if that's not enough, a game arrives from a galaxy far, far away.
The two most highly anticipated online games in history are just months away. And after getting a sneak preview of The Sims Online and Star Wars Galaxies, it's fair to say that both have a good chance of luring newbies into the online gaming arena-even at $10 a month.
Scheduled for November, The Sims Online is a wired adaptation of the bestselling computer game of all time (more than 6.3 million copies sold). It's like Tamagotchi on steroids, a contest in which