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Last Updated: Friday, 17 March 2006, 17:59 GMT
Cebit show unveils tech nirvana
David Reid
By David Reid
Click reporter

Cebit, the biggest technology show in the world, is a very real showcase for what is coming in the rest of the year. David Reid went traipsing through the 27 halls of the exhibition in Hanover.

Crowds at Cebit show
More than 400,000 people attended the Cebit show in Hanover
Cebit celebrated its 20th birthday this year.

In two decades, it has gone from a minor display category in an office equipment fair to the world's leading technology trade show.

More than any other show, Cebit has reaped the whirlwind of the digital revolution.

Despite the Siberian weather conditions unceremoniously dumped on this year's show, the snow did not deter the usual avalanche of visitors from getting out of the cold and seeing the show.

That said, there was one notable absence from Cebit. Sony had perhaps pushed the boat out a little too far at Berlin's consumer electronics fair IFA, earlier this year, and was a no-show.

However, for others, such as Samsung's David Steel, Cebit is still centre screen. "It is still the number one IT show in the world", he says.

"What we are seeing is really a convergence of technologies, so here at what is traditionally an IT show we now have many more televisions, MP3 players and video-type devices.

"The other big show in Europe is IFA, which is now getting much more of the IT platform going in."

New revelations

Samsung featured in one of the main roll outs: hoping to exploit a gap in the market, the company launched the Q1 as an ultra-portable or ultra-mobile PC to nestle between PDAs and laptops.

Samsung Q1
The battery life of the first Q1 is expected to be about three hours
The device has had mixed reviews. Some say it walks and quacks like a tablet, others that the 3.5 hour battery life might leave you reaching for the playing cards on a long-haul flight.

And the launch of the Q1 has finally solved the mystery of Origami: the Microsoft operating system that has been kept under wraps until now comes with a user interface consisting of an on-screen keyboard for your thumbs.

And if you are all fingers and thumbs then you might be interested in Toshiba's Tecra S3 which, according to their promotional video, is protected against falls, fools and felons.

Drop it on the floor and all is well. Give it a dousing and you have three full minutes to save your work.

It also comes with security features that prevent others getting their fingers on your secrets.

Toshiba's Thomas Teckentrup says: "We have sealed the product in a way that there is sufficient time for the user to save his data. Usually we say it lasts for about three minutes, at least, so that you can really protect your data.

"In real cases it might even take longer, because that really depends on the type of accident you are involved in, so we can't always say that it is 100%, but at least you have time to run down the system so you don't lose your data."

From strength to speed

A number of manufacturers are now putting dual-core processors in their laptops. Their increased efficiency is freeing up designers to make sleeker models, says André Tegtmeier, from Acer.

"The heat created from the processors is less so you can design actually slimmer, lightweight notebooks and, last but not least, the mobility aspect has increased.

"Because of the lower power consumption you can come up with longer battery life."

On the subject of battery life, do you fancy running your laptop on alcohol? On show at Cebit were a number of alternative power sources.

The companies Antig and AVC have come up with a fuel cell run on methanol. Solar Style is already re-charging mobile phones, and there is a version for your laptop in the pipeline.

Other nice little numbers included a left-handed mouse from Logitech, which is already putting smiles on the faces of VoIP users.

They have also come up with Harmony, a programmable remote that purports to do away with all the other remote controls hidden behind your sofa.

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