Searching for Small-Business Tech at CES

By Lauren Simonds
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Plasma TVs, DVD systems and multimedia gadgets weren't the only items on display last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Companies also took the opportunity to showcase the latest tools aimed at small businesses. While there were more products than we can mention in this forum, we've got a sampling of new hardware that might just help you run your business a bit more efficiently. Here's what we found.

HP Deskjet 460cb Mobile Printer
This 4.6-pound printer was designed to print wirelessly from any Wi-Fi hotspot (think home, office, Starbucks or airport) with the optional Bluetooth or 802.11b printer card and a three-point Wi-Fi profile switch. Print 4- by 6-inch to 8- by 11-inch images or documents at 17 pages per minute in black and 16 ppm in color. Price: $299.99.

HP Deskjet 460cb Mobile Printer
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USR8700 Serial ATA 4-Drive Network Attached Storage
This USRobotics storage box features four hard drive bays that can accommodate over a terabyte worth of data. It comes with both RAID hardware and software for storage across multiple drives, integrated Gigabit networking and print server capability. Scheduled for availability early in 2006, the NAS box will feature different models with various sized hard drives. Price: $399 without the drives.

RangeMax Wireless Router
Netgear designed the RangeMax Wireless Router to eliminate dead spots in a home or small-office wireless network. The router's seven internal smart antennas deliver extended wireless coverage and speeds — the company claims up to 10 times the area of 802.11g. Price: around $100.

Netgear RangeMax Wireless Router
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Skype Wireless Mobile Phone
Netgear's also offering what it calls the world's first Skype Wi-Fi mobile phone. It's designed to connect to any wireless access point anywhere — from home, work, in cafes, at hotels — without a PC. According to Netgear, the above-mentioned RangeMax router is optimized for use with Skype. The phone comes pre-loaded with Skype software and users can make free domestic and long distance calls to other Skype customers. The company charges a small fee for calls to non-Skype customers. The phone will be available in the first quarter of 2006. Pricing has not been announced.

D-Link SecureSpot Internet Security Device
D-Link designed the SecureSpot as a desktop Internet Security Device to protect networked PCs in home offices and small businesses against viruses, spam, spyware, pop-ups and hackers. You administer the device through a browser-based control panel. Price: $100.

Flexity Surge Protector PowerSquid
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Surge Protector PowerSquid
The PowerSquid Surge Protector from Flexity protects computer equipment from electrical damage. Its unique cephalopod design accommodates oversized plugs and also won it the "Best of Mobile Office/Home Office" in the 2006 CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards competition. Price: $49.99

We're Talking Wi-Fi

Buffalo Technology
The company's new AirStation MIMO Wireless Cable/DSL Router (model WZR-G240, $150) and AirStation MIMO Wireless Notebook Adapter (WLI-CB-G240, $100) will both ship in February and will feature Buffalo's own AOSS (One-Touch Secure System) to instantly turn on WPA2 security between client and router. The router supports not just standard cable and DSL broadband, but also fiber-to-the-home (FTTH).

Linksys has several new products including the Linksys Compact Wireless-G Internet Video Camera (model WVC54GC, $130), a unique-looking camera that makes video viewable on any Web browser using a dynamic DNS service. The Wireless-G Media Storage Link Router with Speed Booster (WRTSL54GS, $130) is a combination router and 802.11g access point that lets you connect USB drives directly to your network.

BenQ says its CP120 is the lightest and smallest projector available with built-in dual-band Wi-Fi. It weighs only 2.9 pounds, and measures 8.58- by 6.77- by 2.40-inches. It has XGA native resolution, with a lumens rating of 1500. It also uses the new sRGB (Standard Red Green Blue) specification from Microsoft and HP for color matching between software and hardware devices. It's out now, and sells for $1,800.

Brother's $250 MFC-820cw is a 600 by1200 dpi inkjet printer, copier, scanner, fax and PhotoCapture Center (reading photos from media cards), which also happens to support network connections via Ethernet and 802.11b/g — which must be Broadcom-chip based, because it also supports SecureEasySetup for one-button security activation. It has a built-in, flip-up 2.5-inch color LCD for previewing images and using menus and will be available in February. The company will also offer a sub-$200 unit, the MFC-640cw, with most of the same specifications. Although it lacks the color LCD (only two-line, backlit monochrome), it builds in a full-duplex speakerphone. It won't be out until the last quarter of 2006.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

Eric Griffith contributed to this story. Wi-Fi products originally reported on Wi-FiPlanet.com

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This article was originally published on January 10, 2006
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