Gadget lovers that visited last week's SEK exhibition in Seoul, South Korea, likely left the show feeling satisfied. The show, which opened on Wednesday and closed on Saturday, provided a chance to play with the latest mobile phones, MP3 players, flat-panel televisions and all sorts of other gizmos.
Among several USB hard-disk drives on show by GenNetworks was the Prizmer, a portable hard-disk drive that includes a media player function. Like a normal USB drive it can be plugged into a PC and data can be transferred between it and the PC.
The media-player functions means it is also possible to plug the unit directly into a television to watch video stored on the device and into an audio system to listen to music. It can play DivX, Xvid and MPEG1, MPEG2 and MPEG4 video and MP3, Windows Media and Ogg audio files. Gennetworks put it on sale in South Korea in May, and is planning to expand sales worldwide before the end of the year. A version with a 40GB drive costs about US$200 and the enclosure without the drive costs half the price.
Mobile satellite broadcasting receivers
The start of commercial mobile satellite broadcasting in South Korea in May had people crowding around the booth of programming-provider TU Media. The company sends a package of seven video and 24 audio channels to portable devices.
Four mobile phones compatible with the service were on show including LG's LG-SB120 handset. The phone is a clamshell style handset in which the top half can fold around on itself to face outwards for viewing. Another company, Ubistar, was showing a soon-to-be-launched portable receiver. The Ubistar Sensio doesn't include a cellular function so it slightly cheaper at about $500 and will be launched in South Korea in July.
Reigncom, the company behind the IRiver digital-music players, had the largest booth at SEK and it was crowded with people eager to see the company's latest MP3 players, which were launched at the show.
At the head of the lineup was the sleek U10, which does away with navigation buttons in favor of a pressure-sensitive front panel. The panel can be pushed in four areas, each at the middle of the panel's four sides, to control the device. The buttons change their function depending on the menu and the user interface guides their current function.
It plays MP3, Windows Media Audio, ASF and Ogg Vorbis audio files and MPEG4 video files. There is also an FM radio, voice recorder and photo album. Two versions will be available: a 512MB version will cost 286,000 won (US$283) and a 1GB version will cost 339,000 won. A launch schedule has yet to be disclosed for the player.
For the truly active, or perhaps just those prone to spilling drinks on high-tech gadgets, Hantel. has produced a water-resistant and shock-proof MP3 player. The QoolQee X (pronounced 'cool key X') goes on sale this week in South Korea and Hantel is planning to sell it in Europe from July. There are three versions – 256MB, 512MB and 1GB players – and they boast all the usual features like support for MP3, Ogg, Windows Media Audio and ASF playback, USB 2.0 and an FM tuner. The internal lithium polymer battery can last for 10 hours after a 3-hour charge. Prices range from 90,000 won to 150,000 won.
If you've ever thought about setting up a network camera to constantly stream video onto the Internet you might have discovered that its not a cheap thing to do. Cameras typically cost several hundred dollars but what if you could do it with that £30 Web cam sitting on top of your monitor?
Netami's Homecam II is an all-in-one camera server that can be used with conventional USB Web cams to stream video across an Internet connection without a PC. It's based on embedded Linux and the current version includes drivers for web cams based on Philips chips, which include about 90 per cent of Logitech-brand cams, said a company representative at SEK.
There's also an FTP (file transfer protocol) server inside so you can allow access to files stored on a connected USB hard-disk drive. It's available now in South Korea for 99,000 won and the company hopes to expand sales overseas within the year.
Dajin home-security robot
As it rolled around the floor of a mock apartment on KT's booth at SEK, the RU robot attracted a lot of interest. Produced by Dajin System, the RU has a built-in camera and can trundle around the house at the owner's remote command to check-up on things. Video from the camera is streamed across the network to either a Web browser or mobile phone Internet connection. There are various security sensors that can detect unauthorized entry, gas leaks or fires and it can program your VCR! KT is promoting for use with its broadband and NESpot wireless Internet service. No price was available.
Samsung thin mobile phone
Samsung has been doing a pretty good job of staying at the forefront of the mobile-phone market in the last year. The company has a long line of "firsts" behind it so it makes a change to see Samsung following someone else's lead.
The company's SCH-V740 is its answer to Motorola's Razr mobile phone and was on show at SEK. It's almost identical in size to the Razr. Both phones are 98 millimeters (mm) long. The Samsung handset is 51mm wide against Motorola's 53mm, and the Samsung is 14.5mm thick against Motorola's 13.9mm. The Samsung handset weighs 98 grams, which is 3 grams heavier than the Razr.
Samsung representatives were keen to compare it favorably to the Razr and pointed out several areas in which it exceeds the Motorola handset: its main screen is QVGA resolution (240 pixels by 320 pixels), it has a 1.3-megapixel camera and 256MB of internal memory. Other specifications include an MP3 player, the ability to capture MPEG4 video, Bluetooth wireless, GPS (Global Positioning System) and PictBridge printing technolo