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Wednesday, January 16, 2008, 05:00 pm PT (08:00 pm ET)

Third parties at Macworld: Garmin, Kensington, LaCie (photos)

A number of third-party vendors stand out from the pack at Macworld San Francisco and are bringing new technologies with them, including USB display adapters and 1.3-inch hard drives.

Garmin

Garmin is at Macworld with Project Bobcat, a new sync utility that brings a long wished-for sync ability between GPS mapping units and the Mac.

Instead of just transferring raw files in bulk to a Garmin unit's memory card, Bobcat syncs maps as well as markers and routes. Users can even find points of interest ahead of time on the Mac and save them to the navigator for a future trip, Garmin says.

The project, which is currently a free beta, also transfers route info back to the Mac and lets the computer serve as a backup.

Kensington

Kensington's offering at the show is perhaps the most unique outside of Apple: a video-capable USB docking station.

The sd200v Notebook Docking Station with Video uses a previously Windows-only technology from DisplayLink that sends up to a 1440x1050 picture to a DVI or VGA monitor with a USB cable — even alongside traffic from its five-port USB hub and its audio input/output jacks.

While likely coincidental, the device comes just as Apple has released the MacBook Air, which lacks the multiple USB ports and audio input of Kensington's dock.

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LaCie

As with Kensington, LaCie's uniqueness revolves around shared technology.

Its Little Disk and USB Key Max use a new 1.3-inch hard disk drive just released by Samsung. While larger than 1-inch micro drives and flash memory, they also hold much more without taking up as much space as a 1.8-inch disk, topping out at 40GB in the new products.

This allows the USB Key Max to be as small as a credit card while the Little Disk is about as large as a handheld lighter, according to the company.

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