D-Link debuts USB-powered monitor

D-Link debuts a minimonitor to add to your computer via a USB port.

The SideStage add-in extension monitor from D-Link. D-Link

It's been just two days at CES, and I am already very tired of Alt-Tabbing and looking at my Dell XPS 1330's little screen. I sorely miss my Dell 30-inch UltraSharp LCD at home. Bragging aside, it's really hard to work with multiple little windows on a little screen, especially when I need to look at more than one of them at a time.

For this reason, I was psyched to run into D-Link's newest invention: the SideStage.

Basically, it's a 7-inch LCD monitor that you can plug into your computer via a USB port. The port then both powers and feeds data for the screen to display. Once plugged in, it becomes an extension of the computer's main screen.

The SideStage features 800x480 resolution, with both landscape and portrait modes. Weighing only 1.34 pounds and housed in a sleek black frame, it is 7 inches wide, 4.6 inches tall and only 0.75 inch thick.

The SideStage makes a lot of sense for multitaskers like me. While it's small, it's great for organizing: I can designate certain Windows applications to open only on it, such as instant messengers, widgets, or even our beloved CNETTV.com home page, and leave the main screen of my computer for serious programs like Microsoft Word that I use often. It's really perfect for writers on the go and in this case, unlike with most displays, its small size is actually an advantage.

The SideStage in action at CES 2009. Dong Ngo/CBS Interactive

According to D-Link's representative Les Goldberg, the SideStage is compatible with virtually all CRT and flat-panel monitors, has standard and wide-screen aspect ratios, 32-bit True Color depth for high-quality images, and ultra-low power consumption, which is consistent with the D-Link Green initiative.

Unfortunately, the SideStage will not be available right away for me to use during the rest of CES 2009. I'll have to wait until the end of the year; at that time D-Link will also announce its price.

If it doesn't cost too much, I am pretty sure I'll be (even) more productive next CES.

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