Print 13 comment(s) - last by 9nails.. on Jan 3 at 12:32 AM

MSI's Mega Player 529 as a SideShow device - Image courtesy

Asus W5Fe with SideShow integrated into disply lid
Windows SideShow to highlight Vista notebooks

We've already seen Asustek's 12.1" SideShow-enabled W5Fe notebook along with Windows Vista Media Center remotes. It comes as no surprise that more SideShow devices are starting to break cover. In the case of the Asustek W5Fe, SideShow allows users to access emails, music and pictures without even turning on the notebook. The information is accessed from a small LCD screen mounted onto the lid of the notebook. Likewise, SideShow-enabled Windows Vista Media Center remotes allow you to access music, video clips and Electronic Program (EPG) information without booting into the Windows.

Windows SideShow takes advantage of PortalPlayer's "Preface" technology. Over 200 development kits using Preface have already been shipped according to Tech-On. The reference kits feature a USB interface, 32MB SDRAM/1GB NAND memory, 320x240 color display and a PP5024 microcontroller.

Some inventive engineers have taken Preface technology to another level by taking an MSI Mega Player 529 media player and integrating into a notebook as a SideShow device. The 1GB Mega Player 529 is originally spec'd to playback MP3 and WMA audio files as well as MJPEG files via its 2.5" display. As a SideShow device, the Mega Player 529 is able to take on some more important roles like viewing email and PowerPoint presentations.

We expect to see more SideShow-enabled devices next week at CES. The feature is expected to add about $40 USD to the cost of a notebook computer and is aimed at notebooks costing $1,500 USD or more.

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By UltimateDeath on 1/1/2007 5:47:30 PM , Rating: 2
It says it will cost about $40 to add this feature. That's one hell of a deal, i'm guessing that just adds the functionality and you have to buy this thingy seperately. Else i'm going to have to get one of those things, i need a new laptop anyway.

RE: $40?
By gilbertj99 on 1/1/2007 7:59:19 PM , Rating: 2
it is of almost no use for pictures emails and videos as the screen is so small, i can only see it being of use if can be attached on cable so that it can be held away from the computer while the computer is in a bag

RE: $40?
By subhajit on 1/2/2007 12:55:32 AM , Rating: 2
Or better, it can be a wireless device and can be charged from the laptop itself. Thus you have the whole laptop storage at your disposal with a little hand held device and access to your media player library.

RE: $40?
By oTAL on 1/1/2007 8:11:11 PM , Rating: 2
Nope... it is embeded into the notebook. It adds ~$40 to the manufacturing cost which is indeed a good value, depending on your particular needs.

RE: $40?
By kkwst2 on 1/1/2007 8:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
I think that $40 is for the SideShow hadrware/software. But the player in the picture looks to be docked and removable, and would likely add more than $40 in cost.

RE: $40?
By Pandamonium on 1/2/2007 1:01:37 AM , Rating: 3
An additional $40 to the manufacturing cost means an additional $50-150 cost to the consumer.

Would it be wrong for me to say...
By Visk on 1/1/2007 2:50:18 PM , Rating: 2
that this thing kinda cool?

By MrDiSante on 1/1/2007 4:18:58 PM , Rating: 5
Nope - it is! I've wanted computers to do things like playback mp3's when they're halfway turned off since 3.11. Wonder what took them so long?

By fxyefx on 1/1/2007 8:40:31 PM , Rating: 2
The integration of this sort of interface into laptops is definitely in keeping with a trend of portable devices to becoming intuitive, all-in-one lifestyle devices. Easy access to media via these small screens… without having to boot up the laptop, making for long battery life. Smart phones that allow you to make calls, access email, schedule appointments, even take pictures. High-storage mp3 players now able to play many types of media… all in a very small form factor… I like the way things are headed! No longer will 3-4 portables bust the seams of my pockets. This kind of thing on a laptop does seem kind of excessive... but it just goes to show that pretty soon we’ll have single electronic devices that do all the things that we’re used to a variety of electronic devices allowing us to do now.

RE: all-in-one
By 9nails on 1/3/2007 12:31:20 AM , Rating: 2
That's nice, but I still want a laptop that I can use as a portable monitor for emergency use on my servers! I would love to have a VGA video input that allows me to toggle between the laptop's video and an external video card from another computer. Think of it as a built-in video switch.

Is this an option here?

RE: all-in-one
By 9nails on 1/3/2007 12:32:48 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry - that wasn't meant at you, but at the article!

I replied to the wrong spot.

By ajdavis on 1/2/2007 11:29:19 AM , Rating: 2
If I've read this correctly some of you are making this seem a lot greater than it is. It doesn't say you can access your media on your laptop while it's turned off. It is implied that you can access the 1gb of NAND storage embedded in the device while your computer is off.

While all that is great it appears to me this is nothing more than an mp3 player with a nice screen stuck onto a laptop with a specialized video output.

Now you decide whether this is a worthwhile technology.

RE: Misinterpretation
By kibets on 1/2/2007 2:31:28 PM , Rating: 2
From the Microsoft web site:

Quickly access the key information you need like appointments, key e-mails, or notes without turning on your laptop using Windows SideShow.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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