Sony has unveiled a camcorder that is not only the smallest of its kind on the market, but can also connect to the Internet and send e-mail over a wireless network.
The DCRIP7 Network Handycam uses in-built Bluetooth connectivity to allow users to connect to their ISP via a Bluetooth-enabled phone or an enabled modem adapter connected to their PC. It is not much larger than a business card and weighs just 310 grams.
"It is the introduction of what Sony calls The Broadband Entertainment Network Era and in that era, audio and video contacts are the key," explained Sony Australia's mobile network marketing group manager Toru Shimizu. "It will mean multiple devices that are always on and available anywhere."
The size of the new camcorder meant Sony had to develop a new tape format, MICROMV, which uses MPEG2 data-compression technology to store up to 60 minutes of digital footage. The format is often used in digital broadcasting and DVD videos.
"The size of the media is 70 per cent smaller than a MiniDV tape," said assistant product manager Cary Lo. "It also includes a Memory Stick slot for still images and MPEG files and a USB port.
"You are talking about universal mobile connectivity. Now a handycam can go directly to the Internet without a PC."
Users can view the footage using a back-lit LCD screen. The camcorder can also connect to a PC via an i.LINK cable for quick transfer and editing.
The product will hit retail shelves in early November with a retail price tag of $4499. Sony will provide a number of in-store demonstrations around the country to help educate customers about the new technology. As well as Sony's traditional retail channel, the product will be sold in camera houses and through Sony's computer dealers.
"All the dealers that sell the VAIO will have access to the product," Lo said.