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Hand-Helds

NexiCam Captures Still and Moving Moments

Attached to the back of a Compaq iPaq, the $199 camera shoots photos and can record up to 15 seconds of video.

January 24, 2002|MARK A. KELLNER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Nexian, a San Diego-based subsidiary of South Korea's Navicom Ltd., expects in February to ship the $199 NexiCam, a PDA camera that slips onto the back of Compaq Computer Corp.'s iPaq.

The camera shoots photos and short video clips at a resolution of 800-by-600 pixels.

There are many good reasons for combining a personal digital assistant and a camera. The iPaq already has a powerful processor, 32 to 64 megabtyes of RAM and, in its newest models, a slot for secure digital memory cards to store images.

Installation and use of the NexiCam is simple. Once software has been loaded on the PDA via Microsoft's ActiveSync software, you slide the iPaq into the NexiCam "sled." The device will recognize the camera and you can start the software controls from the Pocket PC drop-down menu.

The NexiCam offers an on-screen viewfinder, plus controls to brighten a picture. It works best in daylight or bright office conditions, but also functions well in lower-light situations. The lens can rotate as much as 180 degrees.

Once snapped, photos can be viewed on the hand-held screen as thumbnail images or as a slideshow. Individual albums can be created to organize pictures.

Transferring images to the desktop again takes place via the ActiveSync process, and a separate "My Pictures" folder is created on the host PC. The pictures, which are stored in the Web-friendly JPEG format, can be viewed with the standard imaging software supplied with Microsoft Windows or specialized programs such as Adobe Photoshop or JASC PaintShop Pro 7.

The NexiCam unit also has a Type I CompactFlash slot that can be used for added storage or a wireless antenna card, the latter being good for sending pictures when not at a desk.

You can record up to 15 seconds of video with the NexiCam, which can be played back on the screen or uploaded to a PC for playback as a video file. No sound is included, but the image should be good for a quick survey of something, such as a car being inspected.

The NexiCam offers a good value for money. During the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month, the item caused a stir at Compaq's demonstration area. Information on the device can be found at www.nexian.com.

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Mark A. Kellner is a freelance technology writer and hosts "Mark Kellner on Computers" at www .adrenalineradio.com from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursdays. He can be reached at mark@kellner2000.com.

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