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CES 2010: Bluetooth Swiss Army Knife MkII

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Last year at CES Victorinox showed me a version of its legendary Swiss Army knife that was stuffed full of new technology. The Presentation Pro, as it was called, sported all the cool stuff I’ve come to expect from Victorinox – a knife, scissors, nail file, pen and even a USB key with capacity up to 32GB – but it also boasted integrated Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth functionality was there so that you could connect directly to a notebook and control a PowerPoint presentation via the forward and back buttons that were mounted into the device. You even had the option of a laser pointer instead of a torch so you could highlight all those facts and figures to your enthralled audience.

Unfortunately the Presentation Pro never made it to market, but this year Victorinox is guaranteeing that it will hit the streets in April under a new name – the Presentation Master. Although the hardware looks more or less identical to last year’s prototype, some major changes have gone into the software side of the Presentation Master.

The USB key can now be split up into multiple partitions and each of those partitions can have degrees of security applied to them. If you opt for a USB key with an integrated fingerprint scanner, you can register multiple peoples’ fingers. You can then decide who can access which partitions on the USB key by limiting access to certain fingers.

You don’t have to rely on biometric security though and you can secure each partition with a separate password if you prefer. Of course you don’t have to secure your partitions at all, so you can leave certain areas of your storage open for anyone to read. And unlike many other security applications I’ve encountered on USB keys, you can add, remove or even resize partitions on the fly, without having to reformat the device.

Continuing on the security theme, the USB key will also allow you to create a private user environment on a public PC. If you have to use someone else’s computer, you can plug the key in and when you remove it, there will be no trace of your session left on the PC itself. Your USB key will also store all your bookmarks and preferences. There’s also backup software on the USB key, so you can keep important files safe by having them synchronised every time you plug into your computer.

Hopefully I’ll get my hands on a review sample shortly after I return to the UK, then I can find out just how well that Bluetooth presentation control actually works.

Update: I won't need request a review sample when I get back to the UK, since Victorinox gave me a Presentation Master this evening. Look for the full review next week.

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