Car for tomorrow\nResearchers on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Smart Cities team have developed a concept car designed to deal with the challenges of tomorrow's mega cities, namely congestion, pollution and parking. The 'stackable' electric car would be parked throughout the city, such as outside MTR stations, with users taking the first car out of the stack and depositing it in another stack close to the desired location. 'We have to think of city cars as not just small-footprint vehicles that can squeeze into tight spaces but ones that can work in unison and also be almost like a parasite that leeches on to mass-transit systems,' Smart Cities group architect and engineer Ryan Chin told The Guardian newspaper. The car's omni-directional wheels also contain the 'engine' and self-contained suspension frees up more space in the car for passengers, while the design enables movement in any direction, including crabbing and sideways movement to aid parking. Other features include programmable displays for signalling and customisable dashboards. Seat belts are replaced with 'fingers' to hold the passengers in place if they got involved in an accident. General Motors will build a prototype from the group's final design later this year. Hitachi's microdrive 'is what women want'\nHitachi Global Storage Technologies have optimistically labelled its 1-inch Microdrive a 'girl's best friend' on the back of a survey conducted by the Consumers Electronics Association. The survey, entitled 'What Women Want', sampled more than 1,600 adults to determine the features and functions women prefer in their consumer electronic devices. A panel of industry experts used the survey results to identify products that best matched women's desires in eight categories of consumer electronics. Hitachi's Microdrive 3K6 was the winner in the digital imaging category, where survey respondents determined picture quality and ability to share photos as must-have features. 'The Microdrive as a girl's best friend makes sense. It allows women to keep so much of what means the most, to share and treasure,' said Becky Smith, vice-president, marketing and strategy, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. Droids of Asia gather in Taipei\nA robot show opened in Taipei last Friday featuring droids from around the region, including the speech recognition 'Actroid' designed by Japanese firm Kokoro. The company said 'Actroid' was designed as an 'Android receptionist bearing a striking resemblance to a woman with good command of four languages' - Japanese, Chinese, English and Korean. The show runs until February 12. Separately, Korea's first robot museum opened last week in Puchon, Kyonggi Province, according to a report in The Korea Times. Robo Park has 30 kinds of household and industrial robots on display, including a six-member troupe of Robonova which gives a three-minute dancing performance using their 14 human-like joints. VoIP handset has applause\nHong Kong telecommunications equipment manufacturer SunCorp Technologies received a welcome accolade at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show last week when its voice over internet protocol (VoIP) slide phone was named among the most innovative Bluetooth products by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. Developed in conjunction with XACT Communications, the Slide Cordless phone has VoIP and landline compatibility and Bluetooth long range communication capability. The handset synchronises contacts with select mobile phones and allows users to reroute their mobile phone calls through the Slide handset and vice versa. Future of mobile broadband on display\nSamsung Electronics unveiled last week the future of 3G cellular communications with its demonstration of High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. HSDPA, sometimes referred to as '3.5G', is capable of transmitting data at speeds up to seven times faster than that of existing Wideband Code-Division Mutiple Access (CDMA) systems. At the show, Samsung conducted what it claimed was the world's first demonstration of over-the-air 3.6 megabits per second calls. The company used its internally developed HSDPA mobile phone built with Qualcomm's MSM6280 chipset. Kitae Lee, president of Samsung's Telecommunications Network Business, described HSDPA as 'the future of mobile broadband', enabling users to download a 4-megabyte MP3 file in less than 10 seconds. Users can also enjoy large-scale multimedia downloads such as DVD-quality movies and interactive multimedia games at speeds comparable to fixed-line broadband services. 'We anticipate data rates of 7.2Mbps in the near future,' said Luis Pineda, senior vice-president of marketing and product management for Qualcomm's CDMA technologies division. World's first Chinese EMV card on way\nEuropean firm Axalto has been selected by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to supply Chinese EMV-standard credit/debit cards, which offer high-security transactions, for mainland customers. Axalto joins smart card provider Gemplus International in the world's first Chinese EMV card issuance project. ICBC requires its suppliers' products to comply with the Chinese EMV debit/credit specification by the People's Bank of China. EMV refers to the Europay-Mastercard-Visa specifications for chip-based payment cards, which were finalised in 1996. Chan See Weng, Axalto China vice-president, said the selected Axalto Palmera card is the world's first product that supports Visa, MasterCard, JCB and the latest China EMV applications, all on a single card. Netsuite winning customers all over Asia\nAbout five months after setting up shop in Asia, NetSuite says small firms from a range of industries are adopting its integrated business management and e-commerce software to fuel their expansion. The privately held Silicon Valley firm, which opened a regional office in Singapore in August, said recent customer wins in Asia had come from sectors such as consumer goods manufacturing, security services, events management and online distribution. 'NetSuite gives us real-time access to all our ERP and CRM data while we are on the road,' said Jerker Berthou, co-founder of OPS Limited. The Hong Kong-based manufacturer of promotional apparel - with employees in the mainland, Bangladesh and Belgium - will extend its use of NetSuite from tracking inventory to selling merchandise online. NetSuite chief executive Zach Nelson said more than 7,500 companies worldwide used its online-delivered software, which combines enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and e-commerce programs in a single, low-cost application. NetSuite will establish new offices in the mainland and Japan this year.