New Launches: German tuning company Brabus have decided to update its iBusiness multimedia system on all the Mercedes’ S-Class vehicles to version 2.0, following the launch of the iPad2. Available on any current S-Class model from the S350 to the S65, the iBusiness 2.0 system will see one or two iPad2 tablets in the rear compartment that are connected via Wifi to an internet-connected Mac mini placed in the trunk. The iPad 2 is used to control on-board entertainment system as well as the functions of the S-Class COMAND system including the radio, navigation and phone, all from the cushy comforts of the rear seat. The two iPad’s too, sit regally on custom-tailored version of the Brabus table set against the backrest of the front seats. The electrically-deployed and adjustable leather-covered tabletop also provides recesses for your iPad and Apple’s bluetooth keyboard. A 15.2-inch 16:9 TFT display can be found on the roof of the cabin that serves as an auxiliary monitor for the iPad, while screens have been placed on the back of the front seats too. You can also connect your digital camera to the Mac mini via their USB 2.0 ports, while music is provided by a 64 GB iPod touch.
The iPad 2 also allows for video conferencing capabilities, clearly converting your vehicle into a stunning and extremely efficient ‘on-the-go’ office!
This system utilizes the fact that dispersion of light by fog has directionality. It projects different pictures, from different angles, onto a cylindrical fog screen. In this way, the 3D form of objects can be recognized from the motion parallax, which is how the view of objects changes depending on the viewpoint.
If the fog screen can be made larger and the number of projectors increased, it’ll also be possible to provide a large-format, 360-degree display.
Gizmag: Perhaps I’m of a certain age, but when someone says the word “Jukebox” I immediately think of a Wurlitzer 1015 bubbler, although I’ve only ever seen one actually working. Or, at a pinch, perhaps a Seeburg M100C – the Happy Days model, as it became known much later. For decades, these music players were at the very center of popular music, and their modern descendants can still be heard in watering holes the world over. TouchTunes Interactive Networks and frog design have teamed up to re-ignite the social spirit of vintage jukeboxes, in an updated device designed to engage a generation used to on-demand digital content. The 39.4 x 28.4 x 10.7-inch (100 x 72 x 27-cm) TouchTunes Virtuo SmartJuke has been designed by frog design to attract the tech-savvy 21-35 age group and offers the industry’s first 26-inch, 16:9 aspect, 1366 x 768 resolution, angled landscape-oriented touchscreen interface that responds to smartphone-like gesture-based controls. Instead of facing the user with overwhelming music categories containing thousands of songs, Virtuo offers a game-like interface with several ways to search for music.
With the help of metadata provided by GraceNote and a patent-pending search algorithm, users can quickly browse and search for music by artist, genre, song title, lyrics, popularity or chronological release date. There’s an integrated music recommender for those moments when you just can’t decide what to play, and users can create customizable playlists on the device itself or via a myTouchTunes account. myTouchTunes Mobile users can also select music with their smartphones.
Designed to be a crowd puller rather than just a box on the wall, the Virtuo sports a high intensity LED panel above the interface, and ambient rim lighting around the device helps to draw users in. Added eye-candy comes in the form of a live equalizer LED animation that responds to the music, and a huge physical play button.
The first-of-its-kind system is powered by a 64-bit, fanless computer with dedicated graphics and 500GB of HDD storage. There’s an integrated high definition camera with glass lens for video phone booth operability at 30 frames per second, and the music is pumped out courtesy of dual Bang & Olufsen ICEpower 450W amplifiers.
Venues benefit from a customizable interface, which can be tweaked to suit the environment, so that rock bar patrons are offered a somewhat different experience to those in jazz lounges. Promotions and interactive ads can be run when the system is in pause mode, with flexible, rotating banners available. The Virtuo also features four independently-controlled light show devices, and there’s remote dashboard management over a secure internet connection.
TouchTunes Interactive Networks’ CEO, Charles Goldstuck, recently launched the Virtuo SmartJuke at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, where a new entertainment platform for interactive, social, music and game play called OpenStage was also introduced.
Unfortunately, we’re told that TouchTunes Interactive Networks doesn’t publish pricing and availability information, so any venue owners will need to contact the company direct for more details.
Engadget: Why settle for a simple solar-powered table when you can have a table that’s solar-powered and a wireless charger? While you can’t get one just yet, Panasonic will apparently be selling this stylish bit of tech-laden furniture by the end of this year or early next year (in Japan, at least), which will let you charge your Qi-compliant devices simply by placing them on the table. It’ll also be supplying the requisite battery packs for some of its phones at the same time, though there’s few other specifics to be had at the moment. Of course, even if it does actually hit the market it’ll still no doubt be out or reach for most — there is always the DIY route for particularly industrious individuals out there, though.
Engadget: When we first peeked this AirPlay-enabled speaker dock, we were admittedly excited to see how things would turn out after it made rounds through the FCC. JBL just tossed up the splash page for the On Air Wireless speaker and we’ve gotta say — it looks to be a promising means of streaming your jams. The system connects wirelessly to your AirPlay-enabled Mac and iOS device on 4.2 or later and packs a screen that’ll display the track info of the song you’re rocking out to. What’s more, the rounded grill sports a dual alarm clock, FM radio, and a USB port for future firmware updates. As you might have surmised by now, the dock is not yet available for purchase and there’s no word on price. If you’re interested, though, be sure to hit the source link, sign up for more info and get ready to headbang this spring.
Electronista: Apple today introduced the iPad 2, its second-generation tablet. The device uses a new dual-core processor called the A5, said to be twice as fast as the A4. Graphics processing is said to be nine times faster, and the device has both front- and rear-facing cameras. The device is a third thinner than the original iPad at 8.8mm versus 13.4mm, which Apple notes is also thinner than the iPhone 4. This contributes to a smaller weight at 1.3 pounds versus 1.5.
The iPad 2 further gains a gyroscope, and forward- and rear-facing cameras, which among other things can be used for iMovie, FaceTime calls, and Photo Booth. Black and white colors will be available, and 3G versions of the tablet will support AT&T and Verizon. Battery life is rated the same as the iPad 1 at 10 hours. Uniquely, a special $39 cable will allow HDMI out at resolutions up to 1080p while still charging.
The iPad 2 ships to the US on March 11th. Beginning on the 25th reach will expand to a host of other countries, including: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Wi-Fi and 3G tablets will continue to be available in the same capacities and at the same prices as predecessors, ranging from $499 for 16GB Wi-Fi through to $829 for 64GB 3G.
Pioneer.eu: In March Pioneer introduces 2 new headphones that achieve impressive sound quality and bass, while displaying eye-catching outer designs.
The bicoloured and boldly designed SE-CL721 ‘Bass Head’ in-ear headphones are ideal for anyone looking to make a statement in the club scene and promise to faithfully reproduce the heavy bass of club sound.
The SE-MJ151 over-ear stereo headphones have a luxurious feel with their leather-look ear pads and fresh retro-style design. (more…)
Born Rich: Designed by Britt Ashcraft, the Aria headphones from Ashcraft Design combine the latest in audio technology with the environmentally friendly materials. While the headband is made from the wood recycled from acoustic guitars of musicians from around the world, the satin spun finished earcups have been carved from reclaimed aluminum. The leather used around the earcups and the quilted leather lining have been reclaimed from bags, jackets and other pieces of clothing. The use of leather offers a comfortable fit for the listener’s ears. The tuned 40-millimeter titanium-plated drivers guarantee high quality, clear sound for an optimum listening experience.
iPodNN: Sony Japan has introduced over-ear headphones that features the largest drivers so far available — 70mm, or 2.75 inches in diameter — called the MDR-XB1000, aimed at fans of music with deep bass and boasting an incredible 2-30,000Hz frequency range. The company also brought out two different lines of earbud-style headphones available in a range of colors and called the MDR-XB41EX and MDR-XB21EX, also with extra bass response. The new models will be released in Japan on February 10th, and hopefully appear in the US and other countries shortly afterward.
The MDR-XB1000′s incredibly low frequency range — topping even the XB700′s 3Hz bottom end — is well beyond the range of human hearing, but helps to add punch to bass notes, the company says. The drivers are padded with elastic polyurethane foam “cans” to isolate the sound, resulting in a top sound pressure of 106 decibels with a 24Ω impedance.
The MDR-XB41EX in-ear headphones feature a 13.5mm (.53 inch) driver, while the MDR-XB21EX uses a 9mm (.35 inch) driver, but both deliver sound pressure of over 100 decibels with a 16Ω impedance. Top sound pressure reaches 105 dB for the 41s and 103 db for the 21s. The 41s use an angled design to allow the driver to be larger than normal as well as act as an isolating “umbrella” that partially covers the ear canal, allowing for more focus on the sound, where the 21s are more conventionally-designed earbuds with a smaller driver. Both come in various colors, including black, blue and red, along with some multi-color combinations.
Retail price for the large MBR-XB1000 headphones in Japan translates to approximately $377, while the MDR-XB41EX sells for around $75 and the MDR-XB21EX costs $45.
Gizmag: Retailers, hotels and real estate agents have been using aromas to entice us to part with our cash for years now and there have even been a few attempts to transmit smells via the internet and mobile phones. California-based company Scent Sciences is now looking to bring an olfactory dimension to computer games with its ScentScape personal digital scent delivery system.
Scent Sciences’ President and CEO, Bill Wiles, told Gizmag the ScentScape system uses a combination of hardware, software & algorithms and chemistry – all covered by patents – to produce the smells. The system consists of a unit that plugs into a PC or gaming console via USB and generates smells using scent cartridges.
Each cartridge provides 20 basic scents and last about 200 hours, depending on personal use. The scents come in standard, which produce a range of more general smells, or media-specific versions to suit particular games, with smell strength controlled via a “volume control”.
Wiles says that gamers will also be able to use the company’s SDK along with the ScentEditor application to create their own scent-enabled games. Players will even be able to share the code they have created with other gamers who have their own ScentScape system to allow them to enjoy their creation.
Similarly, the ScentScape system and ScentScape Editor can be used to add smells to home videos. Specific themed cartridges such as holiday, summer, ocean, etc. will also be available for this purpose, along with special cartridges for aromatherapy and other applications.
Scent Sciences was showing its ScentScape system at CES 2011 and will be introducing the ScentScape Gaming Suite at the Game Developers Conference 2011 in February, where it will be continuing talks with game and game platform developers regarding building ScentScape capabilities into games. Wiles says the company will also work with the game developers to develop scent cartridges to suit their particular games.
Scent Sciences plans to begin shipments of the ScentScape Gaming Suite later this year at a price yet to be announced.
Cnet UK: Until last year, we all agreed that a computer without a keyboard was as useful as a wicker soup bowl. But this year the touchscreen wonder-windows poured out of CES like ants from an overturned log. Never fear, though — we won’t let you flail around with the fails. Here’s our pick of the best tablets from Las Vegas.
The Motorola Xoom could be the 10.1-inch iPad-smasher that Android fans have been waiting for. This sleek but heavy tablet sports a dual-core processor, cameras front and back, and a mini-HDMI port for hooking it up to your telly.
It’s also the device that Google used to show off the tablet-centric version of its Android software, Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Android’s user interface has received a refresh that means it should take full advantage of the Xoom’s big screen. We loved the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a 7-inch tablet that runs on Android 2.2, so the Xoom should be even better.
The Xoom could prove something of a shock to the wallet, though. It’s early days, but a listing on UK site Handtec offered the Xoom at the eye-watering price of £720, although the price has since been removed from the listing.
Check out the hands-on photos in our Xoom preview, which we’ll be updating with a full review just as soon as the tablet zooms into our office.
Asus Eee Pad MeMo
The Asus Eee Pad MeMo runs Android 2.3 Honeycomb and is a more portable package than the Xoom. This 7-inch tablet looks classy and elegant, and, at 389g, the MeMo is considerably lighter than the 730g Xoom too.
Its 1,024×768-pixel resolution makes the MeMo’s relatively small screen as sharp as the edge of an oatcake, and we found we could use the tablet with one hand. But, despite its diminutive dimensions, the MeMo is still packed with features, including a stylus that works with the capacitive touchscreen to allow pressure-sensitive writing and drawing.
Hold your mitts up to the screen against our hands-on photos to see how the MeMo could look in your hands, and read our Memo preview to get all the gory details on this upcoming gadget.
RIM has ducked out of the Android and Windows 7 tablet battle, instead chucking its own operating system onto its first tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook. This could prove especially handy if you also use a BlackBerry phone, but we’re reserving judgement on the fledgling software until we can put it through its paces properly.
The PlayBook’s dual-core processor is all about multi-tasking. An all-new browser that supports Flash and HTML5 should help repair BlackBerry’s reputation for supplying out-of-date surfing software.
Like the Xoom, the PlayBook eschews buttons on its face — there’s no big home button, as there is on the iPad, or multiple menu buttons, like on most Android tablets. Instead, there’s a power button on the top, along with some media-control buttons.
Take a look at our hands-on photos of this bloated ‘Berry and read our extensive PlayBook preview for all the details you can stomach.
Windows tablets haven’t exactly set the world on fire, and now the world’s biggest OS is running scared, what with the rise of Android and iOS on big screens. But, for some people, staring through Windows is the only way they can get any work done.
The Samsung TX100 could be the solution for Windows fans who aren’t ready to abandon the Land of a Thousand Menus in favour of a mobile phone on steroids. This 10.1-inch tablet packs a cunning surprise — it has a slide-out keyboard that transforms it into a touchscreen netbook.
When we copped a feel of the TX100, we found it felt slim, despite its Qwerty keyboard, and its USB and HDMI ports should help it compete for bag space with your laptop. With a claimed 9 hours of battery life and an Intel Atom CPU, we’ve got high hopes that the TX100 will represent the best of both worlds, rather than the horrific result of a cross-breeding exercise that should have been exposed at birth on an ice flow.