Inspecting gadgets

ACN rounds up the latest and greatest executive gadgets, from designer mobiles to business toys masquerading as consumer.

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By  Brid-Aine Conway and Eliot Beer Published  March 29, 2008

Creative Zen Stone+

Ok, so hear us out on this one - yes, it's a consumer MP3 player; no, it's not an Apple; and no, there's no new advanced technology involved.

The Creative Zen Stone+ is in fact a fairly unremarkable music player in many respects - a part of Creative's Zen range of relatively popular (possibly) low-cost (definitely) portable music players.

Packing 2Gbytes of flash memory and able to cope with most popular music formats - MP3, WMA, OGG and unprotected Apple AAC - the Zen Stone+ ticks most of the basic boxes for a modern MP3 player.

What makes it potentially quite interesting is the feature that merits the '+' - a built-in speaker. This, combined with a voice recorder and the Stone+'s curvaceous looks, could turn an innocuous MP3 player into a useful corporate gadget.

Instead of turning up at meetings with stylistically-deficient dictaphones and voice memo sticks, the modern executive could cut a dash with the Stone+, in one of its various shades chosen to match the suit of the day.

Not only can you record your meetings or pearls of wisdom, you can also play them back to an assembled company without messing around with cables and amplifiers, thanks to the integrated "room-shaking" speaker.

And should the meeting be unimpressed by your audio presentation, you can get your own back by putting on some Prodigy.

Asus M930

Expected to begin shipping this month, the Asus M930 appears to be a Nokia E90 Communicator imitation, with Windows Mobile 6 as its operating system (OS).

But that's Windows Mobile 6 Standard, not Professional, so there's no touchscreen action, perhaps a serious error given the fanboy zeal for the touchscreen revolution.

However, it does provide a substitute for those who like the E90, but want a Windows OS (we won't speculate on why they would) and also featuresAsus' own business functions - iCam, ClearVue Document Viewer, Remote Presenter, Voice Recognition and Network Auto Configuration.

Asus have mirrored the E90's double screen design with an external 2 inch LCD screen, but a disappointingly small internal screen of just 2.6 inches, which isn't much bigger, particularly given the space they had to play with (see picture). The clamshell design, again like the E90, allows for a QWERTY keyboard of decent size inside.

The phone supports GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA, HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.0 and Wi-Fi on the connectivity front and also has USB 2.0.

Memory is at 256Mbyte Flash and 64 Mbyte SDRAM, with the usual possibility of adding a MicroSD card for extra capacity.

The specs are relatively decent but with a standard OS, only 2 Megapixel camera and bricklike dimensions only slightly smaller than the E90, this is by no means a product which is going to take over the Communicator's market.

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