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One of the obvious big guns in the touchscreen remote control market, Philips this year displayed two highly anticipated new products that likely wonít be out until the beginning of 2003.
First up is the Pronto TSU3000. This new model replaces the current TSU2000 and actually represents an entire new platform for the Pronto series: no longer is it based on PSOS and the venerable Motorola Dragonball processor. You can find full specifications on this new model mentioned in this news update, but to summarize, the TSU3000 features a new LCD touchscreen with 16 greyshades, light sensor, blue backlighting for screen and buttons, 4 megabytes memory, 4-way menu cursor pad, USB communications and an option to use rechargeable batteries. The new model also features many new operational enhancements, such as complete time and date, full-screen configurability, plus bitmap transparencies. Other items that will make future appearances are conditional macros, timers, new design objects, adjustable IR transmission times and more.
Also shown at CEDA was the new $1699 iPronto TSi6400. Once again you can find full details in this news update. The TSi6400 is more than just a big remote Ė itís actually three products in one. First, itís obviously an advanced home theater remote control. Second, itís a portable web browser with 802.11b wireless internet access. Finally, itís also an electronic television program guide.
Although surprisingly large and heavy, the iPronto is nevertheless comfortable to hold. It features a build-in stand for tabletop use, rechargeable LiIon battery, 6.4Ē active matrix screen with 640x480 resolution and 16-bit color, Intel X-Scale processor, 64 megabytes RAM, PCMCIA slot and MMC memory slot. Various hard buttons make navigating the remote and controlling your home theater easy. The iPronto is, surprisingly, one of the lower cost products in this category.
While on display at CEDIA, the iPronto unfortunately proved that it still required more development time. Several times the unit simply locked up, while at other times it was infuriatingly slow (though to be fair the environment, packed with electronics, wasnít ideal for wireless internet access). Being active matrix, the screen is positively stunning, but smaller and lower resolution than I would have liked to see (8Ē and 800x600 resolution would have been good). Still, it could prove to be a very useful device. Iíve come across many situations when I would have liked to quickly check something on the web while watching television, or finally browse an EPG for analog cable (in a truly readable way).
Needless to say, youíll find full reviews of both products on Remote Central when they become available. New estimates place the release of these remotes in Q1 2003. Also look for at least one hardware upgrade beyond the original published specifications for the iPronto.