Classic Cameras Back in Focus

Classic cameras are back in focus, with models such as the Holga attracting renewed attention with their looks and unique features. Rollei's new MiniDigi AF 5.0 digital is a replica of the 1929 Rolleiflex camera, with some classic features that could make it a good conversation starter in an awkward social moment. Jumping to the future, specialist computer maker Glacier Computer has introduced a tablet PC with a heater under the touchscreen that saves the panel from freezing over. And not to be outdone by top headset companies, rapper Dr. Dre has launched his own headset through Monster Cable.

Classic camera takes on a new look

The classic Rolleiflex camera, first introduced in 1929, shows a new face in the MiniDigi AF 5.0 digital camera, the latest version of a product originally announced in 2004.

The camera, which is 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) high, is notable for its classic stand-up look. Though fully functional, the camera doesn't replace your normal digicams, the company says. It includes a 3-megapixel sensor and a 1.1-inch LCD that sits on top of the camera, an uptick from the earlier version, which had a 2-megapixel sensor and a 0.9-inch LCD screen.

But does it work like a classic? Yes, the company says. It comes with a hand crank that prepares the camera for the next shot, just like on the classic Rolleiflex. The shutter locks after each shot, so you turn the crank to advance to the next frame. As with classic cameras, the viewfinder is square and on top of the camera.

It is "an attention-getter and conversation piece," the company said. Priced at US$399, it's available worldwide through Direct Source Marketing.

Touchscreen heater

Glacier Computer has introduced a handheld tablet PC that includes a specially designed heater that protects a touchscreen from retaining moisture when you move it from a cold environment to a warm environment. The heater adapts the screen temperature to the surrounding environment, preventing moisture on the screen from condensing.

In a frigid environment, such as a food warehouse, a computer screen gathers moisture that could remain on the screen if the PC is moved to a warm environment abruptly. The heater in Glacier's tablet PC heats up the screen to evaporate any water crystals that have collected, said Dan Poisson, director of engineering at Glacier Computer.

The heater sits right under the screen and consumes 18 watts of power. The PC can withstand temperatures between minus 30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit) and 55 degrees Celsius (131 degrees Fahrenheit), Poisson said.

The tablet is available in models with a 10.4-inch (26.41 centimeters) or 12.1-inch LCD touchscreen and Intel Mobile Pentium M or Celeron processors. It includes internal graphics, 802.11 b/g/n wireless networking and Bluetooth, and it supports as much as 1G byte of RAM. In addition to a hard disk drive, the company offers the option of solid-state drive (SSD) storage.

Mobile conferencing gadget

Spracht has launched the Aura Mobile BT, a hands-free device that wirelessly transforms mobile phones, cordless phones and computers into conference phones. In a world of tiny in-ear hands-free phone headsets, the Aura Mobile BT seems like the boom-box of hands-free devices, measuring 5.5 inches by 3.125 inches by 1 inch.

Oval, with two speakers in the center and button controls around the edges, the device connects wirelessly to a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone or computer, after which users can hear from or speak into the device to conference with others. It can sit on a table or attach to a visor in a car. It cancels unwanted noise, a handy feature as the device could easily take in sound from surrounding areas. The device works with PCs and Macintosh computers.

Priced at $129.99, the device is available on Spracht's Web site.

Dr. Dre's own headsets

Hip hop fans: Rap artist Dr. Dre has announced his own brand of headphones in collaboration with Monster Cable. "Beats by Dre" comes with an extra-wide headband, a push-to-listen mute and a carrying case, and delivers "unequalled performance, with remarkably natural sound, incredible transient response and rich, deep bass -- a Dr. Dre trademark," according to Monster.

The headphones will be available later this year for -- hold your breath -- a whopping $399.95.

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