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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

January 29, 2007 at 2:43 PM

Vista’s here, where’s the remote?

Nvidia’s working on what may become the must-have Vista accessory: A tiny, color Bluetooth remote control that lets you view photos and control your PC music collection from around the house.

NVIDIA

The credit-card sized gadget uses Sideshow, a feature in Vista that lets hardware companies build auxiliary displays. The displays can be on the lid of a laptop, for instance, so you can check messages or song lists even when the system is powered down.

Nvidia built the remote control as a reference design to show hardware companies what they can do with Preface, a Sideshow-based display system that it developed. LG and Asus are using Preface in laptops, for instance.

An Nvidia spokesman said several manufacturers are interested in the remote-control design and may introduce similar products in the second quarter. Pricing won’t be available until then, but I’d guess they’d sell for around $250.

They’ll be an interesting competitor for Nokia’s $400 Linux-based Internet tablet and the Sonos wireless digital music system, the gold standard in wireless home audio but a system the doesn’t display email.

Meanwhile, Nvidia is working with other companies to add Preface/Sideshow systems to clothing, wallets and backpacks.

Could Ford’s in-dash Sync system be made to work with Sideshow and possibly Preface? It already works as a sort of Sideshow display system for Bluetooth phones and wireless media players. Why not make it work with Bluetooth Vista laptops as well?

But then, all these information displays could become overwhelming. Especially if they start making Sideshow corneal implants.

Comments | Topics: Gadgets & products, Microsoft

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