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Panasonic intros credit card camcorder

Plus: Turn your Palm into a radio

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Reg Kit Watch Panasonic announced three products based on SD Card technology, at the Consumer Electronics Show IFA in Berlin last week.

All three devices are small enough to fit in a trouser pocket: the world’s first MPEG2 SD camcorder, the world’s thinnest digital camera, and an all-rounder product with functions for taking films, taking photos, recording memos and listening to music.

The D-snap camcorder SV-AV100 weighs a mere 156g and is a small as a credit card. It attains the standards of the current large camcorders with 10x optical zoom and records in MPEG 2 format (which is also used in DVD videos), and in MPEG 4 format. A 512MB SD memory card can store up to 20 minutes of DVD-quality video, or 3.5 hours of standard MPEG 4 video. Photo snapshots are made by the camera in VGA quality (640 x 480 pixels).

The photo camera SV-AS10 shoots photos with a two megapixel CCD. Its lens can be turned by 180 degrees. The device also functions as an audio player for MP3, AAC and WMA formats.

The D-snap AV20, which accompanied Lara Croft in Tomb Raider: the Cradle of Life, combines all functions for €449. The AV20 has a rotating LC display and two Record and Stop buttons, making filming and taking pictures possible from any angle.

Panasonic hopes the products will boost the sales of the SD Card, which is becoming the leading format in memory card industry, largely because of its compact size, high capacity and transfer speed. The card is already available with a storage capacity of 512MB and a data-transfer-rate of 10MBps and will soon crack the gigabyte limit.

PDA Accessory

Palm PDAs can already operate as MP3 players thanks to a variety of software apps, including the free RealOne Player. Now they can be used as radios, too, thanks to iBIZ's plug-in FM receiver, which has just started shipping.

The receiver fits into an SD IO slot, so most Palm m series machines are supported, along with the i705 and Tungstens T, T2 and W.

The radio's software will auto-scan for stations, which can be saved into one of 18 pre-sets. Programming can be routed through the radio's own headphone socket or the PDA's built-in speaker - and presumably the Tungsten's own headphone socket. The software support's Palm OS 5's multi-tasking, so the user has access to the device's other applications while the radio is playing.

Available now, the SD Pocket Radio costs $49.95. iBIZ will ship outside the US. A CompactFlash version is also available for Pocket PC users. ®

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