Etymotic is out with some new earphones this time around at CES. Developed specifically for gamers, the EDGE (an acronym for Enhanced Definition Gaming Earphones) Acoustics line of earphones has been created to give gamers an edge (har har) by using spatial cues to make them more aware of what’s going on around them within a game. The earphones have a microphone and send switch, so they eliminate the need for separate microphones on the desk and are also compatible with most standard VOIP hardware.
Etymotic’s HF2 earphones are based on their ER4 model, but feature a microphone with a mic and a send switch plus a 4 barrel plug making it fully compatible with the iPhone. Retailing at $179, these earphones look to be a great value and will be available soon.
Last on the list from Etymotic is a Bluetooth headset with a detachable boom. Because the boom extends almost all the way to the wearer’s mouth, it broadcasts 28 to 30 decibels - still within the safe range of volume but a lot easier to hear for the person on the other end of the line. The headset will be available soon for an MSRP of $129.
Everyone loves iPod speakers. At least that’s what I’m thinking, after taking a look at the market. Jensen’s newest offerings, the JiSS 550 and JiSS 330, retailing for $129 and $99 respectively. Both docks include side flow bass ports for crisper sound and remote controls, and both are available now.
Another, newer offering from Jensen is an HD radio enabled iPod speaker. Along with all of the rest of the cool tricks that HD radio receivers have (FM multicasting, digital sound and station information services, among others), Jensen’s newest HD offering features an iTunes tagging function - when you hear a song on the radio that you know you’re going to want to hear again, repeatedly and whenever you want, with the touch of a button you can send the song information to your iPod. On your next sync, you’ll get a prompt from iTunes reminding you that you wanted to buy the song.
Available in April, MSRP on the HD radio iPod speaker will be coming in at an estimated $179, but rumor has it that if you head over to Target when the speaker is released, you could save yourself enough to buy a couple of albums worth of songs you tagged on the unit.
Slacker Internet radio is going portable! Slacker offers free, sponsored Internet radio with 1 to 2 minutes of interstitial ads per hour. In its free service, Slacker allows 6 skips per hour per station, but with over 100 genre stations to be listened to (working out to the ability to skip 600 songs per hour), even the most skip-happy listener can satisfy their urge to get to the next song quickly. Slacker’s Premium membership offers unlimited skips and saving and replaying favorite songs starting at $7.50/month.
Slacker Portable is Slacker’s companion personal media player. Available in 2, 4 and 8 gig models (translated to 15, 25 and 45 stations), Slacker Portable fills itself from the user’s favorite stations every time it’s synced. Not only is the music on the player, but anything available from Slacker’s site is available on the Slacker Portable, including artist bios, reviews and album art. Because Slacker Portable isn’t constantly connected to Slacker’s HQ, there’s no cutout when a listener enters a subway train, goes into a tunnel, or anywhere that a signal would be lost with an FM or a satellite radio. And if you can’t live without that certain album at your disposal at all times, Slacker Portable allows you to load mp3’s from your own library.
Among their plasticky robotic things, WowWee introduced their new Alive line of cubs. The panda, white tiger, polar bear and lion cubs are actually articulated robots with sensors that detect the angle at which they are being held and where they are being touched. The Alive Cubs will be available this Spring at an MSRP of $59.
On the plasticky side of things, in addition to the Mr. Personality robot just released, WowWee has three robots on deck: the Tribot, the Rovio, and the Bladestar. The Tribot is a remote controlled, 3-wheeled robot which features an alarm clock and can move in almost any direction. Tribot will be available this spring for an estimated $99. The Rovio is a roving robotic video and audio recorder which can be controlled remotely through its own website. The website also broadcasts Rovio’s video and audio feeds. Rovio will be available in the fourth quarter of 2008 for an estimated $299. The Bladestar is the next generation Dragonfly - a super capacitor powers the wings, and an infrared signal bounces off obstacles (walls, ceilings, exceptionally large headed friends) to make sure Bladestar stays on an unobstructed flight path. Bladestar will be available in February for an estimated $49.
It’s 10:00. Do you know where your dog is? Or your car, or the loved one who is responsible for the car? Zoombak is aiming to make sure you never have to look far to get the answer to that question. Their advanced GPS locators come in two sizes, one perfect for placing in an auto and one made to clip on to the collar of a dog weighing 12 pounds or more.
Both versions of Zoombak offer the ability to set up “safety zones,” via the Zoombak website. When the auto or dog that is wearing the Zoombak GPS unit leaves the safety zone, Zoombak will send a text message or an email with the location of the unit, and the location can be tracked live on Zoombak’s website.
Dog and Auto units retail for $200 and $250 respectively, and Zoombak’s monthly service starts at $9.99 a month.
Cordless extension cords? Powerbeam has it covered. Right now, Powerbeam is perfecting a wireless, laser-based power transfer system that can act as an extension cord to power devices using a line-of-sight system that will send power as far as you need it to go. The lasers are about the size of pepper flakes, and will transfer tens of watts of power, and in the future could transfer more.
Powerbeam has patented a battery powered safety system on the back end of the product that will stop the laser (which creates a warm feeling where it comes into contact with a person, nothing ray gun-esque here) when someone crosses its path.
Powerbeam estimates that their power transfer system is 12 months out to the consumer market.
One of this year’s hottest topics is storage. It seems like we’re about two steps away from getting flash drives as prizes in cereal boxes. With the release of OSX Leopard and its Time Machine app, backing up computers has become easier than ever. Enter Data Robotics’ Drobo storage robot.
As easy to use as a flash drive, the Drobo has four slots to accommodate 3.5” SATA I or II hard drives, and automatically makes redundant copies of data in order to protect from single drive failure. Drobo uses USB 2.0 to make backing up quickly, and is fully operable with OSX and Windows 2000 and up.
Retailing at $499, Drobo comes with everything you need to get started except the hard drives. It’s available now from online retailers.
Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Gizmatic, Short Bytes, Accessories, Apple, Cell Phones, CES, CES 2008, Design, Features, Handhelds, Home Entertainment, Music, Podcasts, Portable Audio / Video, Videocasts
Bowers and Wilkins has long been known for their stunning audiophile loudspeaker and home theater equipment so it’s no surprise that their foray into the iPod/iPhone speaker dock territory is an impressive one. The new Zeppelin dock features a subwoofer and two midrange/tweeters all in a single compact unit. The odd football shape does indeed bring to mind it’s airship namesake with a look that is sure to draw a second look for passers by. The downside - it’s $600; or $200 more than you spent on the iPhone that goes in it.
In the video we show off the product, and even demonstrate how it handles an iPhone taking a call while in use. Amazingly, there is no GSM interference to be found. Definitely a plus.
Outback hikers and urban explorers alike are often faced with a common problem: how to grab some juice on the go for power-hungry devices. These new backpacks and soon to be briefcases offer a potential solution by pairing next generation solar cells with a battery to enable on the go charging. While the charging might be slow (all day to charge a laptop) it’s certainly a great option in the face of an otherwise completely drained cell phone or laptop.
We chat with Neuros’ Joe Born about what Neuros has in store in the near future and about their approach to making their media players open source. We also discuss how they’re the only embedded media device company open sourcing their software for the devices and what that means to them. They’ve seen a great deal of tech community involvement and more from bringing their devices into open source. See the video, recorded from Showstoppers at CES 2008.
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