Manny Camacho, a fashionably dressed employee of the Sharper Image in Beverly Hills, withdraws an object the shape and nearly the size of a checkbook from his inside coat pocket. In minutes, he convinces a skeptical consumer that this electronic accessory could change her life forever.
Camacho is holding the Sharp personal organizer, a tiny computer that is to the '90s what the Filofax was to the '80s. For success-oriented individuals, Camacho believes, this is the way to keep track of every aspect of their lives, from telephone numbers to airline schedules to bank balances. The device knows the time in cities around the world and can beep to remind him when to leave for an appointment.
As electronics companies scale down the size of telephones, fax machines and the like, and expand the range of miniaturized products, even people who relate better to quill pens than computers are warming up to these tote-size gadgets. Their mini-ness makes them as enticing as sweets. (Picture a Twinkie-size telephone or a talking computer as big as a Hershey bar.)
First purchases are likely to include a camcorder that fits in the palm of a hand. Advanced collectors may move on to such special-needs items as a pocket translator that speaks 65,000 phrases in six languages.