Jan. 6, 2006--While much of the buzz about this year's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has centered on personal entertainment such as video-on-demand, portable media players, and giant television monitors, the four-day exhibition is also providing glimpses of the future of small business technology. And while a new smartphone and a very secure network are unlikely to generate the excitement of, say, the Fighting Androids (a popular CES unveiling), here are a five new products that business owners may want to keep an eye on:

  • USRobotics: USB Internet Speakerphone; $50
    This new speakerphone from USRobotics allows a dispersed workforce to take advantage of Skype's Internet calling service, eliminating long-distance calling costs altogether. The new phone, which is designed to minimize echo, accesses the Skype network through a computer's USB port.
  • HP Compaq: nc6140; Starts at $1,399
    Many new business notebooks were introduced at CES, but HP's nc6140 weighs in at six pounds and includes antennae that connect to Verizon Wireless's national wireless broadband network. Businesses in any of the 44 covered cities will enjoy connection speeds of up to 700kbps.
  • Palm: Treo 700w; $399 with service agreement
    This phone comes with mobile versions of popular Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and Outlook that will better allow a mobile workforce to be just that - mobile, and working. The Treo also supports the Verizon broadband network, but requires an adaptor for use in WiFi hotspots.
  • D-Link: SecureSpot Internet Security Device; $100
    This security solution is intended to protect homes and small office networks from viruses, hackers, pop-ups, spyware, spam, and other Internet threats. Unlike most anti-threat solutions, this is a physical device that creates a true filter between a computer and the router. The SecureSpot comes with four licenses at an additional cost of $20 per user, and requires an $80 annual subscription.