Electronista: The just-revealed 2012 CES Innovations Awards gave us a glimpse of what to expect from LG at this year’s CES show. They include three new HDTVs, including the 55-inch Cinema 3D TV 55LM9600, with the company’s Nano Full LED backlighting and a major visual redesign. There is also a Cinema 3D 55LM8600 set that should be identical, but forego the advanced LED tech. Both have LG’s thinnest bezel. (more…)
Electronista: Pioneer has outlined three upcoming semi-portable audio players in its new Steez lineup. The STZ-D10S-L Solo, STZ-D10T-G Duo and STZ-D10Z-R Crew are unique in that they offer users the ability to change the tempo of the music, set cue points, battle with friends and build playlists. (more…)
iPodNN: Harman Kardon has just rolled out the MS 150 iPhone/iPod dock. It stands as a rare high-end, mixed format entry with both a slot-loaded CD player and an FM radio tuner. The dock has two 30W loudspeakers and two 3.5mm headphone jacks as well as a 3.5mm audio input for connecting devices other than iPods and iPhones. (more…)
iPodNN: Selected Denon and Marantz audio hardware should now finally support Apple’s AirPlay streaming technology, as promised, the two companies say. Supported Denon receivers include the AVR-4311CI, AVR-3311CI, AVR-991 and AVR-A100, as well as the N7, a combination networked CD receiver and two-channel speaker system. Compatible Marantz gear includes the SR7005 receiver, AV7005 preamp, NA7004 network audio player and M-CR603 networked CD receiver.
AirPlay support has been promised by the companies for some time. It was also originally supposed to be free until November 7th. Instead, existing Denon and Marantz gear owners must pay $50 for a downloadable upgrade.
In the midst of a hall packed with countless car audio and multimedia devices were the latest offerings to come from major brands such as Pioneer, Kenwood and Sony. While some brands appear to have followed more of an evolutionary path than revolutionary, others, like Sony, have revealed new head units with substantially more technology than was available just last year.
Sony teams up with TomTom
Sony’s flagship navigation unit for 2011 comes in the form of the XNV-770BT, which is an all-new device that features fully integrated TomTom-based navigation and maps and a removable cartridge. This is an example of a revolutionary product for Sony, as there was no product in 2010 that shared the XNV’s approach to navigation.
This unit is also motorized for flip-out action, but still takes up a full two-din space and features a seven-inch WVGA touch screen. As expected, this model also features iPod and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as four-volt pre-outs and a built-in amp.
The XNV-770BT retails for $1,299.95 and is available now.
Pioneer goes bananas for Apple
While Sony decided to team up with TomTom for its latest navigation head unit, Pioneer decided to turn its flagship navigation units into extensions of the iPhone – essentially creating user-friendly docking stations that can make use of the many apps already developed for the mobile phone.
While iPhone’s navigation feature might function well for a walk downtown, or in the hands of a passenger relaying the information, Pioneer decided to integrate the iPhone into its AVIC-Z130BT and AVIC-X930BTin-dash navigation models so that the driver could utilize smartphone connectivity to Aha Radio for Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, traffic, podcasts, Pandora internet radio and App Mode.
“By providing a larger touchscreen unit installed in the dash that features a user interface specifically designed for the automotive environment and complemented by voice control features, we reduce the risk of distraction while driving,” said Ted Cardenas, director of marketing for the car electronics division of Pioneer.
The higher-end model of the two, the AVIC-Z130BT, also features 4 GB of flash memory, a seven-inch WVGA touch screen display, a 3D graphics accelerator, DVD playback and more.
The AVIC-X930BT will be available in March, while the AVIC-Z130BT will be available in April for suggested prices of $800 and $1,200, respectively.
Kenwood kicks it up a notch for 2011
For its 2011 lineup Kenwood has a broad range of models, with traditional single-din units as well as double-din navigation devices. Kenwood decided to take a similar route to both Sony and Pioneer – combined – by creating the DNX9980HD flagship navigation unit that features both iPhone integration as well as outside help from a navigation specialist or two with Germin navigation and Navteq Traffic integration.
Other key features for the device include a 6.95-inch WVGA motorized screen, voice recognition, HD radio, five-volt pre-outs and a 5.1-channel surround sound processor with DTA control.
This unit will retail for $2,00 and is expected to hit shelves in March of this year.
iPodNN: As part of the same launch that brought the Ziio tablets, Creative today put out both a sequel to its Zen Touch MP3 player and a new set of Bluetooth headphones. The Zen Touch 2 is a rare Android-based MP3 player and outputs Bluetooth audio with the same apt-X compression as the Ziios, theoretically supplying lossless wireless sound over Bluetooth. Equally unique is the option of GPS in some models that lets them use stand-alone GPS apps without having to use a cellular connection.
All versions of the new Zen Touch have a 3.2-inch touchscreen, 802.11n Wi-Fi and a two-megapixel camera. They carry microSDHC slots to add to the built-in storage and have their own RCA video out for viewing on a TV. The plain version without GPS comes in 8GB and 16GB capacities at the equivalent prices of $217 and $248 in Singapore; GPS is only available with an 8GB model and costs $232.
The WP-300 headphones can recognize apt-X but are platform-independent and should work with iPads, iPods and other devices that can send out stereo Bluetooth audio. It can charge up from USB and has its own physical controls on an ear cup to skip through tracks. Creative hopes to charge $116 for a pair.
Both the Zen Touch 2 and the WP-300 should be available in Singapore by the end of the year, although they should get an international launch not long afterwards.
Electronista: Cobra Electronics, well-known for their long-standing line of radar, laser and speed-trap detection devices, are launching the iRadar Detection System, which combines a state-of-the-art radar/laser detector with an app for the iPhone, which uses Bluetooth to connect and control the detector, enabling users to hear, log and view alerts for various threats.
The software uses the iPhone’s built-in GPS capabilities to show motorists their speed and compass heading as well as tap into a larger database of known hazards. The iPhone display of the app also notifies drivers of past alert locations, their car battery voltage and lets them flag new locations as well as set the audio level of alerts.
The hardware detector picks up all radar and laser guns in a 360-degree radius, and sports its own speaker which escalates volume relative to the distance of the threat. It can function as a standalone detector when not paired with the iPhone app, but can be more easily controlled from the iPhone, including setting which notifications will be audible and at what volume.
The app includes Cobra’s camera and driving hazard database, which can warn drivers of red light camera locations, speed traps and known dangerous intersections. The database is updated daily by Cobra.
The iRadar Detection System retails for $170 and is available now. The iRadar app is free from the App Store.
Daily Mail: They are supposed to make our lives simpler. But it seems modern gadgets have become too complicated for their own good.
Research reveals that most of us would prefer devices including mobile phones and digital cameras that are more simple and easy to understand.
Nearly two thirds of consumers questioned in a survey said some gadgets had functions they did not understand – and never used.
Complex remote controls for television sets, DVD players and stereos were the least popular gadgets, with nearly two thirds saying they would choose a basic design instead of one with lots of extra functions.
Buttons that allow the user to pick languages, choose screen size and alternate between “first and second language” appear to be unnecessary and confusing.