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Monday, September 03, 2007
 Gadgets at IFA
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Message Text: TV sets traditionally dominate the IFA consumer electronics trade fair but there is an abundance of new high-tech gadgets on display in Berlin this week aimed at making life simpler and more beautiful too.

Whether in the car, enjoying nature outdoors or even relaxing in the bath, reasons to be disconnected from the electronic matrix are becoming ever scarcer.

Creative minds at Dutch electronics group Philips presented a universal plug dubbed Power4life intended to be compatible with just about any portable device ranging from a laptop to a MP3 player that promises to put an end to batteries running out when it is least convenient.

The charger, which includes an LED indicator to tell how much power is left, is due to be available in December.

German company Sunload offered a greener approach to keeping portable devices fully charged at all times.

Its laptop bags contain a flexible solar panel that powers a charger inside. It also includes two USB cables and a storage battery pack.

A messenger bag starts at around 400 euros ($546) and a leather briefcase at around 1,000 euros. The laptop bags are available through the company Website (

Keeping mobility in mind, German firm Funkwerk Dabendorf showcased a portable, hands-free communications kit called EGO Cup that fits into a car's cup holder and plugs into a cigarette lighter's socket.

It is compatible with eight different mobile phones and connects via blue tooth technology, the company said. The EGO Cup will be available for 89 euros in November.

While mobility is a major theme at IFA -- the world's oldest consumer electronics trade fair -- manufacturers also presented coveted objects for the home.

Swiss company Xounts offers a cone-shaped combination lamp and sound system with a choice of "skins" that currently come in a range of patterns and designs from which to pick.

Eventually customers will be able to upload their own images on the website and order a customized lampshade.

The basic version costs 329 euros and includes subwoofers, light sources, volume and bass controls as well as connections for a stereo line or iPod.

Currently only the European voltage model is available, but a U.S. model is in the works for next year.

German technology company Grundig brought back its iconic Audiorama speakers from the 1970s, known for their futuristic spherical design.

They come either as floorstanding or ceiling hanging configurations in black or white, both offering 360-degree sound. They are due for launch next February, with a price of 600 euros per set.

Ever wanted to watch television while soaking in the bathtub? Manufacturers at Germany's ad notam GmbH have a solution. The company makes sleek-looking LCD display screens that double as bathroom mirrors when shut off.

The Twister is fully rotatable and is made to be resistant to humidity and water. It can be attached to the bathroom wall or even the edge of the bathtub. Prices start at around $2,700.

Korean company esencia hopes to address those consumers concerned with ultimate cleanliness by taking dental hygiene to a new level with its toothbrush sterilizer.

The devices come in a portable version too and kill germs with UV rays. The company reasons that "bathrooms are a hotbed for germs" that makes the sterilization of toothbrushes "a very urgent issue."

The IFA consumer electronics fair is open to the public until September 5.
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