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6/28/2007
12:12 PM
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A Preview Of This Summer's Tech Toys

Perhaps it was because the humidity was so high in New York that it felt like I was swimming through Manhattan's streets, or perhaps it was because my thoughts were drifting longingly to summer vacations by the beach, or perhaps because my cell phone recently took a disastrous dip in the Atlantic Ocean -- but I couldn't help noticing a trend toward water-resistant technology at the Digital Experience press event last night.

Perhaps it was because the humidity was so high in New York that it felt like I was swimming through Manhattan's streets, or perhaps it was because my thoughts were drifting longingly to summer vacations by the beach, or perhaps because my cell phone recently took a disastrous dip in the Atlantic Ocean -- but I couldn't help noticing a trend toward water-resistant technology at the Digital Experience press event last night.Digital Experience is one of those events where a bunch of vendors get together to show their wares to journalists, bloggers, analysts and other professionals eager to take a look at what's coming and what's here. No long presentations, no stages, no movies -- just folding tables and whatever products the vendors want to show. And some food and drink -- well, these are journalists, after all.

(For a look at the scene at Digital Experience and some of the products on display there, click over to our Image Gallery.)

At least three of those vendors had filled fish tanks or bowls on their tables, demonstrating how safe it was to take their technology for a swim.

- Casio was showing off its G'zOne Type-S cell phone, a ruggedized phone that, according to its marketing manager, is "virtually indestructible." To illustrate that, the phone was shown sitting in a tank of water and a tank of sand.

- Belkin, long known for its PC peripherals, has gotten into the act with its Washable Mouse. (I personally am waiting for a really good washable keyboard, since that particular peripheral has to be the grimiest piece of equipment that I own.)

- And Sanyo, which was showing some new digital video cameras, drew the most attention with its Xacti E1, the "world's first waterproof camcorder."

In fact, video (accessed either on your desktop system or via your mobile device) was the word of the day as far as many of the vendors were concerned -- especially if that word started with "V." For example, a company called Vudu showed its video download service, another broadband video service called Vongo was introduced by the Starz Entertainment Group, and VideoJug offered a menu of professionally-produced how-to videos.

You didn't have to alliterate, however, to be offering a video service. A company called mywaves showcased its new streaming video service for cell phones, and blinkx offered a preview of its broadband video platform, which features the ability to search via the videos' speech tracks.

The sad fact, though, was that you didn't have to be a vendor to get attention -- at one point, the other products in the hall were eclipsed by the journalist who had managed to get his hands on an iPhone, and was exhibiting it to his eager colleagues.

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