Philips Introduces Smart Display
The Philips DesXcape 150DM smart display lets you access your computer anywhere in your home, but must compete with laptops because of its high price.Anytime Philips introduces a new product, its likely to be stylish and well-designed, and thats just the case with the DesXscape 150DM ($1,500 street), a wireless smart display tablet that accesses your desktop PC apps and the Internet. The trouble is that the smart displays in this first generation are pricy for their limited uses, and thats not something Philips can fix single-handedly. Smart displays are wireless tabletsbut not tablet PCsthat take control of a host desktop or notebook PC. Even though smart displays are intended for use with home computers, they require Microsoft Windows XP Professional on the host computer (the device itself runs Windows CE). Since a smart display is, in effect, simply a portable monitor, no one else can use the host PC when the smart display is running. The idea is that no matter how many desktop PCs you have, you can access your information anywhere in your home or office without having to transfer data to a tablet PC or notebook.
Against that backdrop, the DesXcape, which comes with a portable keyboard, does what it should and does it well. Within the 100- to 200-foot range of the 802.11b wireless connection, you have a seamless extension of your desktop computer. You can be sitting on the sofa, at the kitchen counter, or in a shady part of the backyard (sunlight reduces the screens visibility) and still be connected for about 5 hours with a relatively compact (1.1 by 14.7 by 12.1 inches), though not exceptionally light (5.1 pounds) display.