CES - Samsung announces phone PDA, media center

LAS VEGAS - Following the home-networking emphasis Microsoft Corp.'s Bill Gates put on his opening keynote here, Daeje Chin, president and chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s Digital Media Business unit, announced two upcoming products for the networked home during his keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Chin gave the audience a glimpse of the NEXiO, which he termed "a PDA phone converging with a PC," and of a media center for the home.

The NEXiO device, which looks like a handheld PC crossed with a tablet PC, features a 5-inch VGA (800 x 480 pixel) display, a built-in CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) 2000 module for high-speed wireless voice and data access, and a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port, according to information from Samsung.

The NEXiO, which runs Microsoft's Windows CE 3.0 on Intel Corp.'s 206MHz StrongARM processor, features 64M bytes of SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic RAM) and 32M bytes of ROM. The NEXiO also includes applications such as Pocket Word, a spreadsheet program, a PowerPoint Viewer, as well as voice recording and MP3 playback software.

Additional options include a camera, GPS (Global Positioning System) and wireless LAN modules. The NEXiO will be available "in a few months," Chin said.

Chin also showed the Samsung Home Media Center, a box for the living room that will hold media files including digital photos, MP3 audio files and video, Chin said. The Media Center will also allow users to surf the Internet from the living room and send information to networked displays throughout the home, including analog television sets equipped with an additional digital-to-analog converter, he said.

The Home Media Center will be based on FreeStyle, a technology announced by Microsoft's Gates Monday night which turns the Windows XP interface into a control panel that can be operated using a remote control-like gadget. Samsung expects the Home Media Center to be available within 12 months, Chin said.

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