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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Tech Toys

Compiled by Gannett News Service

A DVD player for karaoke fans

Sure, you can watch DVD movies on Vialta's new ViDVD player. But that'll seem so ordinary once you see all of the other things the player can do. With this device, you can play music CDs, including those recorded in the popular MP3 format, surf the Internet via its built-in 56K modem, send and receive e-mail and put on a slide show with its digital photo viewer. If that's not enough, you can pick up the mike and sing along on its karaoke player.

The Vi200-CR Model is about the size of a kid's pencil box and costs $279. The Vi200-FR Model, which includes the player, a remote and a laptop-size wireless keyboard, costs $299.

Information: www.vialta.com

A purr-fect robot companion

Omron, a Japanese electronics company, will launch this month NeCoRo, a robot cat that looks (and apparently acts) so real you might mistake it for the real thing.

NeCoRo is cuddly, thanks to its synthetic fur, and features a variety of touch, light and sound sensors that let it interact with its environment. Like most cats, it will let you know when it wants attention, even purring when you pet or play with it. NeCoRo doesn't come cheap at $1,400. It is only available by order and comes in gray or tan tabby cat colors.

Information: www.omron.com

A good technical read (really)

TechTV, a cable channel that's all tech, all the time, has teamed with QUE Publishing/Pearson Education to create a series of books on computing. The books are written in a clear, conversational tone that novices will appreciate, but are also loaded with enough comprehensive information to appeal to techies. The lineup of titles includes "TechTV's Upgrading your PC," and "TechTV's Windows XP Home Users Guide." Each book costs about $25.

Information: www.techtv.com/shopping

Ring in the New Year with hot new phones

Motorola's new iDEN i80s ($120) and i90s ($200) are some of the smartest new wireless phones to arrive in time for the holidays. Both models operate on Nextel's wireless network.

These phones are more compact than their predecessors and are programmable in a miniature version of the Java language.

Other hot phones to check out include Samsung's N200 flip phone ($179) that works on the Sprint network, LG Telecom's ultra-compact T510 ($149) for Verizon networks, and Motorola's Timeport 270 ($179) that supports VoiceStream's high-speed General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) data network.

Information: www.motorola.com, www.verizon.com, www.sprint.com, www.voicestream.com

Zoom, zoom, tunes

A road trip — be it across the country or across town — demands good music. And with Blaupunkt's new car stereo, your road trip music can now include a mix of traditional audio CDs, as well as discs containing your favorite MP3 and Windows Media (WMA) tunes.

To help sort through the hours of compressed music stored on these discs, the player features ID tags that can help you search for your favorite tunes by the album, song and artist. You also can create play lists that let you pick which songs you want to hear, or simply let the device play the tunes at random.

The Blaupunkt San Jose MP41 comes with a credit-card sized remote and costs just under $400.

Information: www.blaupunkt.com