Here are some of the items mentioned by marketing experts as sure to be important to with-it consumers this year: The Voice Translator -- governments, educational systems and travelers are interested in this $1,500 recorder that translates what a person says into one of four other languages you can choose.
If you ask "Where is the police station?" it automatically repeats "Ou se trouve la gendarmerie?"
Bread bakers -- like the Auto Baker by Sumitomo Electric Industries of Japan that mixes, kneads and bakes bread.
At least five companies showed bread makers or bakers at a recent housewares show in Chicago. The bakers sell for $300 to $350.
Digitape -- a handheld device that gives you a digital reading of the size of a room or the distance between two points by using ultrasound.
The cigarette-pack size measuring device sells for about $40.
Rondos -- like baby DoveBars, the two-bite-size cylinders of ice cream swathed in chocolate will satisfy the need for a consumer reward. About $3.50 for a box of 15.
Cooktops -- cooking by magnetic induction is the gourmet's latest must-have.
General Electric's black-glass induction cooktop is priced at about $1,050.
Prodigy -- an electronic retailing product that will allow shoppers, through a computer and a telephone, to buy from more than 70 stores -- from Neiman Marcus to Sears.
The videotext product, which will also enable consumers to buy airline tickets, stocks and bonds, will be introduced in San Francisco, Atlanta and Hartford this year.
Hand vacuums -- smaller versions of the reliable old vacuum cleaner will continue to be introduced, including those like Hoover's DublDuty that can vacuum water or other spills as well as dry solids. It will sell for about $50.