Just catching our attention at the dying embers of CES this year is D-Link with a number of funky and 'eccentric' announcements...
Most wacky - and yet somehow - superbly appealing is the 'Xtreme N All-In-One Router', also codenamed the 'DIR-685'. This crazy gadget combines 802.11n WiFi with no less than UPnP bittorent friendly network attached storage (NAS) and a 3.2in LCD for displaying photos, desktop content and network performance. Yep, it's a NAS box, router, mini secondary display and digital photo frame wrapped up in one.
In fact, that's not the end of the story either since the DIR-685 also throws in SharePort technology for easy networking of printers and scanners, Green Ethernet to reduce power consumption and sets up its NAS capabilities via a built in slot for a 2.5in hard drive. Can everyone say 'value add'?!
Now such a concept struck me as madness until I realised the warped genius behind it: it makes the router a feature, something you can display on your desk with pride. Vitally, this means it won't be stuffed down some crevice like typical routers and its signal strength, heat dissipation and long term health should all benefit.
Also catching our eye is the 'Xtreme N450' a router for speed freaks which utilises tweaked dual band technology to create potential data speeds of 450Mbps - a 50 per cent increase on wireless n's theoretical maximum of 300Mbps. Despite its racing stripes, the N450 still packs in SharePoint and Green Ethernet.
Lastly, the D-Link 'SideStage' is something of a departure for the company being a 7in secondary monitor designed for multi-taskers seeking that little bit of extra desktop real estate. With a native 800 x 480 resolution you aren't likely to be running Outlook or Firefox on it but with landscape and portrait modes available it could be a real boon for addicted IMers or those who make heavy use of video conferencing. Furthermore, with a simple USB 2.0 connection it should prove a doddle to setup.
No pricing or available on any of this lot yet, but you surprise us thrice D-Link. Hats off to you.