Lights, Camera, Conference!
You don't have to own a large corporation to afford teleconferencing. You don't even have to own a PC. All you need is a TV, a phone line and the C-Phone DS-324 "set-top box" videoconferencing unit. Controlled by an embedded operating system running on an internal 32-bit CPU, the C-Phone contains a built-in videocamera, a full-duplex speakerphone and a 33.6 Kbps modem, as well as an ISDN interface that speeds up video frame and data transmission rates for systems equipped with a high-bandwidth phone line. The 4-pound C-Phone can be upgraded by downloadable software, and is operated by an infrared remote control (included).
street price: $1,000
Having a single PC with an Internet connection may be economical, but that excuse will cut zero ice if your partner or employees have to wait in line for a chance to access e-mail messages. There is another option: Intel's InBusiness Internet Station, a multifunction communications device that lets LAN users simultaneously share a single analog or ISDN modem, phone line and Internet access account. Installing InBusiness is a cinch with the included Networking Basics handbook, quick-installation poster and CD-ROM; all you need is a 10Base-T network hub and PCs that run Windows 95, 98 or NT 4.0.
street price: $499
Driving in circles again? Get back on course with Garmin's StreetPilot GPS. This portable car-navigation system uses global positioning satellites to pinpoint your exact location anywhere in the continental United States and offer a direct route to any destination you choose. SteetPilot's backlit, easy-to-read LCD screen displays speed, distance to destination, moving maps and step-by-step directions. The device is programmed with millions of miles of rural and urban roads, and Garmin offers a series of MetroGuide add-on cartridges (not included) that allow StreetPilot to show more details for residential and business locations.
street price: $600