Techknow: Things to come ... Webpads

Techknow: Things to come ... Webpads - Webpads are touch- or pen-sensitive LCD screens that sit on your lap and let you use the web in a knees-up-on-the-sofa kind of way. Connected to web-enabled TVs by Bluetooth radio, webpads will make surfing easier th

by JAMES WOUDHUYSEN

Webpads are touch- or pen-sensitive LCD screens that sit on your lap and let you use the web in a knees-up-on-the-sofa kind of way. Connected to web-enabled TVs by Bluetooth radio, webpads will make surfing easier than peering at a gogglebox three metres away. More tasteful, too, than having a keyboard on the coffee table.

Intel will enter the fray with its Celeron chip and Linux software, and Microsoft has plans for web 'companions' running Windows CE. A full-scale product, complete with an 800 by 600 pixel colour screen made by National Semiconductor, will shortly be available from Qubit Technology.

First in the race, however, could be a firm named Transmeta. Its Crusoe chips run Linux and, because they require only very low voltages, can get away with very modest batteries.

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