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Wireless Technology Will Flood CES

Look for mobile TVs, wearable computing devices, portable media players, wireless in-vehicle technology, next-generation networking equipment, and much more.

If there is one key trend that probably will dominate the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show next week in Las Vegas, it will be wireless. Among the more than 2,700 exhibitors showcasing products in over 30 categories, wireless technologies are expected to make an appearance in a wide variety of products.

Although many of the top phone makers, including Nokia, Motorola, and Research In Motion, will be at the show, none of them have officially disclosed plans to introduce new mobile devices. That doesn't mean the show won't be packed with other mobile and wireless innovation likely to hit the mass market over the next year or two. This includes wearable computing devices, portable media players, wireless in-vehicle technology, next-generation networking equipment, and much more.

It seems like mobile TV disappeared off the radar for a while, but some of the largest technology vendors are making a comeback with new devices that they hope will put mobile TV in the pockets of millions of wireless users.

Motorola will showcase its Mobile TV DH01 device, launched earlier this week. The pocket-size media player allows consumers to access live, on-demand, and recorded programs saved on a DVR. It comes with a 4.3-inch Wide Quarter Video Graphics Array Screen that uses up to 16 million colors, a five-minute memory buffer for pausing programs during live viewing, and a four-hour rechargeable battery.

The DH01 is based on the DVBH broadcasting standard, so it's compatible with different devices, networks, and application service platforms, according to Motorola. The company said the new media player represents a natural extension for Motorola from video and mobility to mobile TV.

Meanwhile, LG Electronics also has mobile TV on its road map. The company has developed a Mobile Pedestrian Handheld system for mobile TV broadcasts in North America. MPH serves up a high-quality video feed even in vehicles moving at speeds of about 55 miles an hour. It also allows users to get local news and weather information.

In addition, Motorola will preview its CPEi 100 WiMax customer premises equipment. The CPEi 100 is a 2.5-GHz device that sits on a desktop and connects a computer and a WiMax network. It will be available this year to WiMax network operators that have deployed systems in the 2.5-GHz band, said Motorola.

As for phones and other mobile devices, there are some practical and high-impact ones to watch for at CES.

OpenMoko, a community-driven effort to create an open platform for mobile devices, will introduce a mass-market version of a mobile phone based on open source principles. The phone, called Neo FreeRunner, is an improvement to OpenMoko's Linux-based Neo 1973 phone, which became available to developers last July. FreeRunner comes with 2-D/3-D graphics and a 500-MHz processor for better performance and video and audio processing, according to OpenMoko.

There will be two types of FreeRunner phones: an 850-MHz tri-band version and a 900-MHz tri-band version. Both versions also will have integrated Wi-Fi for high-speed Internet access and motion sensors that can detect a user's activity.

OpenMoko and parent company FIC, in partnership with Dash Navigation, launched this week a consumer Internet-connected GPS device called Dash Express. The device, which will be showcased at CES, uses Neo mobile hardware and software. It's priced at $600 and will start shipping at the end of next month.

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