Windows Vista’s SideShow capabilities seem to be new to everyone, an untapped resource that is just beginning to evolve into the dynamic technology it will inevitably become. An ever-growing ecosystem of third-party vendors will eventually bring the SideShow potential to fruition, and Ricavision wants to represent the first wave of vendors who are taking to heart the vision of bringing SideShow-enabled devices into the homes of tech-savvy digital enthusiasts.
On Wednesday morning at WinHEC, I had a chance to chat with Ricavision’s Chris Im, who introduced me to his company’s first efforts in its partnership with Microsoft.
First up is the Ricavision Home eReader, a small handheld portable device, wirelessly connected to a Vista PC, that functions as a normal enhanced device for Windows SideShow. The display is of the reflective eInk type, optimized for reading documents. The eReader lets you cache large numbers of pages, including entire books, on the device so it can also be used out of wireless range of the Vista-based PC. The eReader also includes stylus capability. It uses SideShow as the primary GUI and Vista as the means by which pages are actually rendered for display on the device. “The eReader would be ideal for students, who will no longer need to buy gigantic books for classes, but instead will need only load books onto the device,” said Im. The device, as lightweight as a single book, lets you download any document and share with family, friends, and coworkers.
Next up is the MK140 eChatter, another small handheld portable device wirelessly connected to a Vista PC, functioning as an enhanced SideShow device. The eChatter features a QWERTY-layout thumb keyboard, letting you compose email messages and IM conversations on a 5” WQVGA LCD display. You can also use the device as an audio headset for voice communications. The eChatter’s internal battery offers a 16-hour minimum lifetime in normal use, as well as an external AC adapter/charger through a mini-USB.
The third announcement is the SideShow Scribbler, a portable home “scribbler” device that functions like an electronic notepad with SideShow capability. You can easily attach the Scribbler to your refrigerator, or wherever you need it, for convenience (for example, to jot down and store a favorite recipe). The Scribbler lets you create handwritten notes on a 3.5” QVGA LCD display using a stylus, and you can retain these notes on the device or send them to the Vista-based PC for further processing.
Im also talked briefly about the company’s Rica 100, a remote control device with a 2.5” screen for controlling your home media server. “All these products represent a great IT/CE convergence,” Im said.
Ricavision is looking forward to Q4 availability on all these devices, depending on OEM and manufacturer schedules. Watch for SideShow to explode around the holidays!
For more information, check out Ricavision’s Web site.