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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March 2005, 18:28 GMT
Digital lifestyle on offer at Cebit
Spencer Kelly
By Spencer Kelly
Reporter, BBC Click Online

Situated in the German city of Hanover, Cebit is the largest IT tradeshow in the world. Spencer Kelly investigates some of the technology available.

Samsung's seven megapixel camera mobile phone with wide-angle lens
Samsung's camera phone has a wide-angle lens
We have been coming to Cebit for years, but every time we come, we are still struck by the sheer size of the place.

Set in over 300,000 square metres of the Hannover Messe-Laatzen business park, nearly 30 exhibition halls draw together all areas of the IT industry.

Unlike January's Consumer Electronic Show in Vegas, Cebit is not primarily a consumer show.

Although, fortunately for us, there is a decent amount of consumer electronics on display.

A mock-up of the digital home, or House Of The Future, is not an uncommon sight at this sort of event.

This year's was showing off the usual array of features. The home entertainment PC driving content in several rooms, wireless headphones, and a phone which uses Voice Over Internet Protocol.

Magnetic music

Creative's magnetic induction headphones
Magnetic induction allows batteries to be smaller and last longer
When you leave the home, you will want to take your digital lifestyle with you.

Creative unveiled their latest innovation: wireless headphones that use magnetic induction, instead of some of the more traditional wireless solutions.

Founder and CEO of Creative Simon Wong Hoo says: "Wireless technology has been around for a long time but to make it into a headphone there are several challenges. There was infra-red where you have to be in line of sight, then there was Bluetooth, which has latency and power consumption issues.

The beauty of magnetic induction is close proximity, so it's perfect for portable devices. And it's low power consumption. It's one fifth the power consumption of Bluetooth, therefore your battery can last very long or be very small and light"

Along with your music, you will also want your digital camera with you.

On display was an impressive 20GB portable hard drive that connects directly to your camera, so when your memory card fills up out on location you just move them across to the drive and carry on shooting without any need for a PC.

But of course you can take your computer out on location, and because some locations are more hazardous than others, you might like to use one of the latest line of all-terrain rugged PCs. Guaranteed to survive rain, rivers, and coffee spillages.

High density storage

IMB Zurich Research Lab's Millipede storage device
Millipede allows high data storage in small areas
It is always good to see scientific research come to fruition. The new type of storage device we reported on recently, Millipede, has finally made it out of the labs and into the trade show.

This kind of microscopic punched card reader and writer, is achieving fantastic data densities.

Dr Thomas Altebäumer from IMB Zurich Research Lab says: "The selling point of our storage device is the ability to store about one terabit per square inch, which corresponds roughly to storing the contents of 25 DVD's on one single stamp"

With mobile phone sales up 30% last year, it is no surprise that there are a few of them on display at Cebit.

Sony Ericsson have given the Walkman a new lease of life, inside the new W800 phone handset.

In conjunction with the supplied 512 MB memory stick, you can store around 130 MP3 files.

It also plays Apple's AAC music files, but, interestingly, not Microsofts' WMA format.

Samsung were showing off a handset which sports a 3 gigabyte hard drive, which can be used to watch video or as an MP3 player.

And there is a phone which Samsung claims is the first seven megapixel camera, complete with an extra wide-angle lens.

Despite its considerable size, it is interesting to note that Cebit is facing more competition.

With more specialist trade shows like the recent 3GSM mobile phone show popping up, companies could be finding more efficient ways to do business with each other.

And Cebit is, above all, still a show for business. The glitzy consumer gadgets are really just an add-on.

But let us face it, that is the part we all love.

Click Online is broadcast on BBC News 24: Saturday at 2030, Sunday at 0430 and 1630, and on Monday at 0030. It can be watched on the website from late Friday afternoon. A short version is also shown on BBC Two and BBC News 24 as part of BBC Breakfast: Saturday at 0645. Also BBC World.




SEE ALSO:
Cebit 2005: Highlights & gadgets
14 Mar 05 |  Technology
Cebit fever takes over Hanover
10 Mar 05 |  Technology


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