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Computer Accessories

Webcams: wondrous variety

The appeal of webcams has diminished somewhat in recent years, but we've just uncovered three hot new products that everyone should know about. Probably

Webcams get a really bad rap. They're often dumped in the same category as floppy disc drives, one-button ball mice, and USB mug warmers as the most boring peripherals on the planet.

But they're exciting, honest. Okay, so not all of us are into watching highly pixellated Scandinavian women gyrating blurrily in a small browser window, but we've discovered a set of webcams that'll let you do far more than just exchange smut.

The first is the Linksys WVC54GC-UK -- a wireless webcam that includes its own Web server. It works without having to be connected to an Ethernet or USB port, instead using 802.11g Wi-Fi networking technology. It should cost around £60, which is good value considering it lets you access pictures from anywhere in the world via a Web browser or mobile phone.

Still not excited? Then check out these webcams from Chinese firm AEC. They're like fluffy toys, except with cameras crammed into their gullets. We think they're pretty funky, but the fact they're disguised raises all sorts of questions about what they could be used for. Spying on the babysitter, anyone?

If neither of those floats your boat, then you might be interested in the Pulillo from mobile phone operator 3. Apparently it's the first 'mobile video eye', which basically means it's a wireless camera (it works on rechargeable batteries) that you can call from your 3 mobile to see what's going on when you're not in the house. It's pricey at £149, but if you're a paranoid freak with an insatiable urge to know what your flatmates are doing while you're at work, it's a work of genius. -RR