Comdex Fall 2001 Show
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The ImageScape 2001 report
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Tuesday, November 13, 2001 - 18:37 EST)

This year's press-only breakfast noticeably smaller than last year, but still some interesting products on show...

The panel discussion at the ImageScape press breakfast event. From left to right, Ryan Slack (Sprint PCS), John Lynch (OmniVision), Paul Miller (Motorola), Tim Bigoness (Equilibrium). Copyright © 2001, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

This morning we attended the ImageScape press-only breakfast event which runs alongside Comdex Fall 2001, at the Flamingo Hilton hotel. Unusually, there was no keynote speaker for the event this year, and with the topic for panel speakers revolving around wireless imaging, two of the four panelists were from companies not normally associated with imaging. The panel discussion, whilst still of some interest, really wasn't up to the normal standard we've come to expect from the ImageScape events. Four panelists were present: Tim Bigoness, VP of Marketing at software company Equilibrium (well-known for its Debabelizer application); Paul Miller, General Manager, National Account for the Wireless Messaging Division of Motorola PCS; John Lynch, VP of Sales and Marketing for OmniVision Technologies; and Ryan Slack, Senior Director of Product Planning and Strategy for Sprint PCS. A significant portion of the discussion degenerated into advertising of each panelist's products, however the panelists did offer suggestions for the future of wireless imaging - most notably that the bandwidth or 'pipe' available to users must become bigger and cheaper, whilst software technologies must be advanced to make the maximum usage of this bandwidth.

Following on from the topic of the panel discussion, it seemed quite appropriate that the first exhibitor table we looked at was that of ActivePhoto, a company which offers wireless imaging services used by the likes of SurplusBid.com and Kemper Insurance. We didn't see any new products or services on display, but did see the same impressive demonstration of images being sent wirelessly from a Ricoh RDC-i700 digital camera (shown below)...

ActivePhoto's wireless imaging service being demonstrated on the Ricoh RDC-i700 digital camera, seen in the lower left of the picture. Copyright © 2001, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

Another interesting product on display at ImageScape was LTU Technologies' image analyzer software which recognizes the contents of image files, and can do a number of things based on what the image contains. ImageWatcher 1.0 finds images containing copyrighted photographs, logos and the such-like on the Internet, allowing the copyright owner to confirm that these images are licensed. ImageSeeker 3.1 is an image search-engine that allows the user to find similar images to one they already have, or to submit an image or drawing which they wish to base their search on. Image Indexer annotates images with keywords or places them in categories based on their content, whilst ImageShopper 2.2 allows users to click on or submit an image of a product to be presented with purchasing information for the product the image contains. Finally, the company has a content filtering program which can be used to prevent users from seeing pornographic images, whilst still allowing other images less adult in nature to be viewed.

Nixvue's Digital album, shown with docking station and remote control alongside the newly announced portable dock. Copyright © 2001, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

Nixvue had their Digital Album on display on their table, which features the ability to be connected to a TV and printer (via the docking station) to print digital images without the need for a computer. Also on show was their tiny new portable dock, part of the 'TravelJack Kit', which connects to the Album device and allows USB, power and video connections when you're not at home and don't want to bring the full-sized dock with you. It comes with a pouch, car cigarette lighter adapter, and a holder for 8 AA batteries at a price of $59, and should be available in December. The portable dock sample had just arrived from Singapore for the show...

Sony's Cozette Phifer and Mark Weir demonstrate the company's products to a crowd of interested attendees at ImageScape. Copyright © 2001, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

Digital camera manufacturers were represented at the show as well... Sony in particular had quite a crowd around their table at times, as they demonstrated the Cyber-shot DSC-F707 and DSC-P5 digital cameras and their tiny DPP-MP1 photo printer. They also had three new software products targeted at digital camcorder and camera users, the EZ Audio Transfer & Restoration Kit, EZ Editor Digital-8 Home Editing Kit, and EZ Memories Photo Editing Kit. Fuji meanwhile had their FinePix 2800 Zoom, a 2 megapixel 6x optical zoom that retails for $399 - a superb price, and Dave's first chance to get hands-on with the camera (shown below). Also present were several other FinePix camera models including the 2600 Zoom, which is apparently selling like hotcakes - due no doubt to its $299 price and a very generous feature-set...

Fuji's Andy Laguardia talks to an attendee as our own Dave Etchells examines the new FinePix 2800 Zoom digital camera. Copyright © 2001, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

OmniVision, which makes camera chips and reference designs, had several interesting products on display (all shown below). The first was a reference design for a 1.3 megapixel camera, mounted for display purposes inside a clear plastic case that allowed the contents to be viewed. There was also a 1.3 megapixel tethered video camera being shown out of its case, with live video on a monitor below it - spot your humble news editor hiding behind his digital camera in our photo. ;) In front of the tethered camera in the picture, you can see a remotely controllable tethered video camera, which allows the viewer to aim and zoom the camera on whatever subject they choose.

OmniVision's 1.3 megapixel digital camera reference design, front view. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

OmniVision's 1.3 megapixel digital camera reference design, rear view. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

OmniVision's 1.3 megapixel webcam reference design, with output. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

OmniVision's 1.3 megapixel webcam reference design, shown close-up. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

Finally, Pacific Image Electronics had their line of film scanners on display. New for the show is the PF1800 AFL (Auto Film Loader), an 1800 dpi 35mm film scanner with USB connectivity which takes 23 seconds to scan a 35mm slide at maximum resolution in 42-bit color. The PF 1800 AFL scanner will ship in a couple of weeks time... Two further models, the PF1800 LAB and the PF3600 PRO, are still in development at the moment but will offer both USB and IEEE 1394 FireWire connectivity along with resolutions of 1800 or 3600 dpi respectively.

Pacific Image Electronics' PrimeFilm scanner lineup. All rights reserved. Click for a bigger picture!

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