In production: devices that make digital formats accessible anywhere sans PC

In production: devices that make digital formats accessible anywhere sans PC

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

Distributed Internet devices now in the production pipeline will make a variety of digital formats accessible from almost anywhere.

The forthcoming StoryBox platform from Weave Innovations Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., combines the StoryBox Connected Frame'an LCD inside a picture frame'with an online service called the StoryBox Network. The network lets multiple users share digital camera images and customized content without using computers.

The platform directly links digital camera output to other networked picture frames. It creates a new way to view personalized information, such as weather and traffic, anywhere by hooking up the picture frame directly to the Internet. The frame will sell for about $300 when it is released later this year; the cost of monthly service has not been determined.

Kerbango Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., and AudioRamp.com of Tustin, Calif., plan to market devices for push-button access to Internet audio.

The $299 Kerbango device, shown at the Demo 2000 conference in Indian Wells, Calif., last month, will play audio content via five buttons set to chosen Web stations.

For $100 more, AudioRamp.com's iRad device will do the same thing but also tune in on-air AM and FM broadcasts and play CD-ROMs. The iRad can store about 1,000 MP3 audio format songs on a built-in 6M hard drive.

Mass distribution of such devices would change the use and application of broadcast technology, as well as create new ways for government agencies to deliver their message to narrow audiences'for example, Webcast channels for farmers, pilots and other groups.

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