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Hot gadgets for fall
Wish-list for Santa: DVDs, digital cameras, flat-screen TVs and a cell phone with an MP3 player.
September 22, 2003: 1:47 PM EDT
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Chocolates, CDs, ties and cute mugs are old hat. To score big points over the holidays, go for the credit-card-size digital camera, or a wireless phone with a built-in MP3 player.

Industry watchers say these are some of the high-tech gadgets that should be hot gifts in this year's holiday season.

Casio EXM20 digital camera, priced at $329.99 (Courtesy:Casio)  
Casio EXM20 digital camera, priced at $329.99 (Courtesy:Casio)

"Several of our exhibitors are showing mobile devices, digital phones and flat-screen TVs," said Melissa Hoffman with Pepcom, organizer of this year's DigitalFocus and MobileFocus 2003 expos in New York City.

According to Hoffman, more than 40 technology companies, including Microsoft, Gateway (GTW: Research, Estimates), Palm, Panasonic, Casio and Sony Ericsson, were set to display the latest gadgets and gizmos at the media-only event late Monday.

"There are a couple of trends building this year," said Scott Cameron, editor of technogadgets.com. "The most obvious one in the consumer category is DVD recorders, which are affordable to more people now."

Palm's wireless keyboard, priced at $69.95. (Courtesy:Palm)  
Palm's wireless keyboard, priced at $69.95. (Courtesy:Palm)

"Plasmascreen and LCD TV screens and computer display monitors are really taking off as prices have fallen to about $500 from several thousand dollars a year or two ago," he added.

Steve Baker, technology analyst with market research firm NPD Group, said notebook computers, digital cameras and multi-functional cell phones could be some of the hottest sellers in the fourth quarter.

In fact, Casio chose to showcase its new card-sized range of digital cameras, the latest additions to its Exilim line of compact digital cameras.

Casio's EX-S20U carries a suggested retail price of about $280 and the EX-M20U model costs $330. Both models are about 3.3 inches wide and 2.1 inches high, about 10 percent smaller than predecessor models. Both cameras will be available this October.

The new Casio digital cameras also feature a built-in microphone and speaker for voice recording.

Palm's 1.3 megapixel camera card takes 24-bit color photos up to 1280x1024 resolution. Priced at $99.95 (Courtesy:Palm)  
Palm's 1.3 megapixel camera card takes 24-bit color photos up to 1280x1024 resolution. Priced at $99.95 (Courtesy:Palm)

Hollywood, Fla.-based Concord Camera Corp (LENS: Research, Estimates). unveiled a whole array of low-priced digital cameras, ranging from $99 to about $180.

"Digital cameras are going to be very big this Christmas," said Rod King, spokesman for Concord. "But with the economy the way that it is, consumers don't want to spend $300 to $400 on one."

Said Baker, "The real key in technology are the chips in these instruments. As they get smaller and smaller, the products will become sleeker and smarter, and will carry more information."

Michael Lasky, senior editor of PC World, said many more companies are striving to achieve technology convergence because consumers want multi-functional products.

Panasonic SC-HT100 home entertainment unit, featuring a DVD recorder. (Courtesy: Panasonic)  
Panasonic SC-HT100 home entertainment unit, featuring a DVD recorder. (Courtesy: Panasonic)

For example, Nokia (NOK: Research, Estimates) in August announced a wireless phone -- the Nokia 3300 -- for music lovers. It has a built-in FM radio and MP3 player. The phone also comes with a keyboard that users can use to send text messages and e-mail, as well as play games over the Internet.

AT&T Wireless (AWE: Research, Estimates) sells the Nokia 3300 for about $200.

"The trend also is to go wi-fi or cellular and offer customers instant wireless Internet connection," said Lasky.

Palm (PALM: Research, Estimates) launched three tech accessories at the show-- a wireless keyboard for a Palm handheld for about $70; a multifunction Stylus that's a pen, laser pointer and flashlight for $20, and a camera card that fits into the handheld device for taking high-resolution color pictures.

The camera card will set you back about $100.

New Motorola MPX 200 smartphone with Microsoft Windows mobile software. (Courtesy: Motorola)  
New Motorola MPX 200 smartphone with Microsoft Windows mobile software. (Courtesy: Motorola)

Meanwhile, Panasonic displayed its ultimate home theater package, which is also the company's first to include a DVD recorder. The entire system is about $1,000.

Motorola (MOT: Research, Estimates) and Microsoft (MSFT: Research, Estimates) debuted the new Motorola MPx200 smartphone, a cellphone with Microsoft Windows mobile software.

The phone functions as a PDA, while users can also browse the Web, download and listen to digital music and videoclips. Motorola did not offer a suggested price but the new phone will be distributed next month through AT&T Wireless.  Top of page




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