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Posted on: Wednesday, January 24, 2001

AV/IT Gateway due in U.S. later this year

By Vicki Viotti
Advertiser Staff Writer

You know all those people walking around outside glued to cell phones? Sony is hoping some of them may be walking around their homes, glued to their "gateway."

The AV/IT Gateway is the working title for a bit of digital hardware that is out now in Japan, where it’s called an Airboard, but is due in U.S. stores late this year. Hawai‘i techies got a preview of it (and a home webcasting unit paired with a webcasting Internet service) at last week’s Pacific Telecommunications Council Conference at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It made its U.S. debut only a week or so earlier, at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Gateway works something like a cordless phone in that the detachable monitor operates within 100 feet of its base unit, and something like a remote control. You can watch, say, your TV in another room and use it to surf the Web. And, of course, you can multitask: Take in that DVD movie in one corner of the screen while you finish up that e-mail. It also works as a display, showing photos and other digital images that you’ve stored (of course) on your Sony Memory Stick.

Pricing is still uncertain, but the units were selling for about $1,100 in Japan. So, it appears that a fairly deep pocket will be the key to this particular "gateway."

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