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December 2004 Gadget Roundup

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Alexander Grundner has sorted through all the most recent product announcements to give us a sneak peak at products available this holiday season. Looks like we'll have to pull out the largest stockings we can find.
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Home entertainment takes the spotlight in this edition. Microsoft and partners have been busy releasing Windows Media Center Edition 2005 PCs, Windows Media Center Extenders, Windows Media Player 10, and compatible PlaysforSure devices. With so much coming out this holiday season for PC enthusiasts, it will be difficult to decide what to buy first.

Sharper Image e-Vac Robot Vacuum

Sharper Image appears to be diving headfirst into the robot vacuum-cleaner craze. One of the first sellers of the now popular Roomba, Sharper Image has decided to create their own machine called the e-Vac (doesn't stand for evacuation). The handsomely designed $199.95 vacuum (see Figure 1) is capable of cleaning both hardwood floors and low-pile carpet. And, like its competitors, the machine is equipped with an intelligent robo-navigation software brain and sensors to efficiently clean rooms and gently work around furniture.

Figure 1Figure 1

Feature highlights:

  • Weighs only seven pounds

  • 5.5-inch profile

  • Integrated carrying handle

  • Rechargeable (NiMH) battery (six-hour charge lasts about 45 minutes)

  • Can be manually navigated using its included radio frequency remote

  • Removable dustbin tray and washable filter

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