The 25 Most Innovative Products of the Year
Mobile and Wireless
Airgo True MIMO Gen3
WI-FI CHIPSET Wireless networking at 10/100 ethernet speeds: That's the pitch for products (specifically the Linksys SRX400 and Netgear RangeMax 240 lines) based on the latest chips from Airgo Networks, and--amazingly, given the hype surrounding most Wi-Fi speed claims--that's what we've observed, at least at close range with encryption turned off. Airgo has been wowing the Wi-Fi world with its True MIMO spatial multiplexing technology for a couple of years now, but the company has outdone itself here, enabling a future in which streaming video from the den to the bedroom will be commonplace.
REMOTE ACCESS and FILE SHARING (Free) Avvenu's new, free service provides ready access to files on any Avvenu-enabled computer from any other computer, Web-enabled phone, or PDA. After installing Avvenu's software on a Windows PC, you can browse through all the files on that computer, or search using Google Desktop, by logging in to the company's Web site. Download any given file via the site; or share files or entire directories by sending someone an e-mail with a Web link to (only) that folder or file. Want to show all those great travel pictures on your phone? No problem: Avvenu resizes photos on-the-fly for mobile devices.
Fujitsu LifeBook P1510D
NOTEBOOK ($1649) At 2.2-pounds, the LifeBook P1510D from Fujitsu (see picture
SATELLITE MAPPING SERVICE (Free) One of the search king's handful of out-of-browser experiences, Google Earth lets you pan and zoom over satellite images of the far-flung corners of the globe. Then when you're ready to find a cheeseburger in Paradise, Michigan, simply check the Restaurant option in the Layers panel on the left to view specific locations (the same goes for hotels, gas stations, parks, schools, government buildings, and millions of other points of interest). And if you're getting ready for a road trip, just enter your start and end points to view the route superimposed over the satellite image, along with turn-by-turn directions in the left pane. Fun, practical, and free--that's a tough combination to beat.
CELL PHONE (around $700) Nokia takes cell phones to the next level, with the hard-drive-equipped N91, the first of its kind in the United States. (Samsung was the first to announce a hard-disk-based phone, but for now the company plans to sell it only in Korea.) That's certainly exciting news given the amount of files that are being stored in phones these days, including photos, music, video clips, contacts, and text messages. Although the N91 (see picture
BATTERY ($4 for four AA batteries) For the same price as disposable alkaline batteries, Oxyrides can keep your portable devices going significantly longer than today's top-of-the-line alkalines. That's great news given the proliferation of high-drain battery-powered devices these days, such as cameras, MP3 players, and handheld gaming devices. In PC World tests using the Canon A400 digital camera, the Oxyride disposable AAs lasted more than twice as long as alkaline AAs. What's behind the power boost? Panasonic uses a patented process and a combination of new and improved electrolytes to manufacture these AA and AAA cells. Latest prices (if available)
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