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Cut-down smartphones from T-Mobile and O2

The Vario and Xda mini S arrive

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Tech Digest Certified gadget obsessives Tech Digest and Shiny Shiny scour Gizmoville for the oddest digital goodies, Bayraider keeps tabs on the best and worst of eBay and Corrie blog keeps you up to date as to what’s happening on the street...

Cut-down Windows smartphones from T-Mobile and O2

T-Mobile MDA VarioIf you like the look of one of those HTC Universal (like the T-Mobile MDA Pro and Orange SPV M5000) devices with their sizable keyboard and great connectivity options, but are put off by their pocket-bulging size then O2 and T-Mobile might have something for you. This week both have launched the latest in the seemingly never-ending series of Windows Mobile devices from Taiwanese manufacturer HTC which they are billing as the MDA Vario (T-Mobile) and Xda Mini S (O2).

Both phones, which are virtually identical, sport a much smaller form factor than the Universal, yet they do boast a full QWERTY keyboard which is accessed via the user sliding the bottom half of the unit. Unlike the Universal there’s no 3G connection, but the phone features Wi-Fi as well as GPRS and comes with the full suite of MS applications that are served up by the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system.

Other niceties include Bluetooth, a 1.3 mega pixel camera, a 2.8inch 64K-colour TFT-LCD touch screen and an external Mini SD card slot. The O2 Xda Mini S is available from £260 for pay monthly contract customers, while the MDA Vario sells for from free to £149.99.

Projectors get seriously small

Samsung Pocket ImagerNo presentation is complete without a huge projector and a projectee suffering severe arm strain from having to lug it round. Those days however might soon be history as Texas Instrument’s new range of pocket DLP (Digital Light Processing) models hit the stores.

The company has made a fairly significant breakthrough in that it has replaced the lamp, the mainstay of the projector, with LED technology. This has the twin benefit of significantly shrinking the size and weight of the models, while emitting much less heat – so for example users won’t be able to fry eggs on them as they almost can with lamp-based projectors.

Three DLP Pocket projectors are due to reach the UK in the next month with the very striking and ultra tiny Samsung DLP Pocket Imager leading the charge. There are also slightly chunkier projectors – but we are still talking models you can hold in one hand- from Mitsubishi (PK10) and Toshiba (FF1). All the models will sell for between £500-800.

Texas Instruments reckons they might have a life too beyond the board room with users hooking them up to their digital cameras and camcorders to show image and footage and using them to seriously expand the screen size of Sony PSPs. Future models are likely to feature wireless technology built in to enable fast and cable-free connections with devices.

One thing they aren’t ready for is High Definition TV. The projectors all have pixel count of 800x600, which is apparently HD compatible in that it will show a HD in standard resolution, but not footage in its full 720p 0r 1080i glory.

Designer digital radios

Matt Williamson IntempoYou can keep your Stella McCartney coats (satin trenchcoat? She'll be designing a cardboard kettle next) and odd high-heeled lace-ups – the designer treat that's giving the girls at Shiny Shiny goosebumps is Matthew Williamson's latest DAB dooling for digital radio overlords Intempo. The KTM-02 is MW's follow-up to (have a guess) the KTM-01, whose peacock feathers had us all agog last summer. For the sequel, Matt's gone even more girly-swirly with a print called Tokyo Georgette from his new autumn/winter fashion collection – like a bling explosion in a retro wallpaper factory. The radios are exclusive to John Lewis and cost £125, a wodge of which goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

PC tip of the day from Propellerhead

Hidden desktop file finder

Here’s another one of those weird and wacky undocumented features in Windows and this one is well worth getting to know. This tweak puts new Toolbars on your desktop that lets you quickly search your PC’s filing system using fast access drop-down menus. It works on any Windows PC using Internet Explorer 4 or later and to set it up drag and drop the My Computer icon to the extreme right hand side of the screen. A new vertical toolbar will appear displaying the contents of My Computer (quite handy on its own) but it gets better. Next drag and drop the C: drive icon to the top edge of the screen and a new horizontal toolbar appears. On the far right of the new toolbar there’s a double continuation arrow, click on that and a menu bar appears on the right side of the screen. Just hover the mouse pointer over the folders icons and the contents will be shown in drop-down menus. To hide or get rid of the new toolbars just right-click into an empty area and select Close or Auto Hide. There are plenty more great Word tweaks in the BootLog Top Tips archive here.

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