Gaming peripheral maker Razer has decided to try its hand in the social music scene with its subsidiary Jook Inc. The company has developed a new technology--aptly called Jook--that allows users of any MP3 player to share music with others in the same vicinity. It consists of two parts: a transmitter that plugs into any MP3 player (via either a 3.5mm headphone jack connection or proprietary dock based on the player) and an indicator light that hangs from down the front of the user as part of the headphone cable. A button or switch on either the transmitter or … Read more
I got a demo at CES of FlyTunes, an Internet radio aggregator whose CEO, Roy Smith, is pitching as an alternative to Sirius Satellite Radio.
It's a stretch to compare it with Sirius, but FlyTunes is a worthwhile idea. A service designed for Safari on the iPhone and iPod Touch, it displays a curated list of Internet radio stations, and, over Wi-Fi, streams and records the stations you listen to. What's cool is that it can work when you're not online. It will record streams for your favorite stations. Then you can dock your iPhone or iPod … Read more
For some, the passive sound isolation provided by many sets of in-ear headphones just doesn't cut it. But active noise cancellation is a bit difficult to find in an ultracompact package, such as that offered by earbuds. In fact, I can only think of two sets off the top of my head: the JVC HA-NCX77 and the Sony MDR-NC22. Now, I can add one more to my memory bank, Audio-Technica's new ATH-ANC3 QuietPoint earbuds. Unlike many noise-canceling headphones that only succeed in blocking out low frequency sound, the ATH-ANC3 uses a patented technology that matches environmental noise with … Read more
The iRiver B20 may be new, but it looks awfully familiar. In fact, it looks eerily like the first-generation Clix--not that that's a bad thing. The most obvious cosmetic difference is the telescoping antenna attached to the back of the device for receiving DMB content (no word on whether the antenna will attach to the models sold in the U.S.). I'm actually kind of fond of the antenna: it makes the B20 look even more like a cute, mini TV. The other major difference between this player and the Clix is the microSD card slot, which allows … Read more
CES is an overwhelming collection of screens, beckoning to thousands of attendees as the bright portals to our entertainment, information, and one another anywhere in the world. Whether designed for the home, office, car, or on the go, those screens range in size, quality, resolution, and function.
In previous CES years, the focus of most display makers was size. It seemed that each year we saw progressively larger screens, far beyond a size reasonable for the average consumer. Display makers jockeyed for size-based bragging rights. This year, the focus evolved to screen quality, whether it's 1080p, reduced motion blur, … Read more
Among the overflowing handful of MP3 players that iRiver is bringing to the U.S. is the Disney-branded MPlayer (Season II), a supersmall and cute MP3 player shaped like Mickey Mouse's head. Although the MPlayer has been floating around the Web for some time now, I've never seen it for sale in the States. The latest version will come in a rainbow of colors and is set to hit a virtual retail shelf near you in Q1 of 2008. The player is screenless and supereasy to use--it's an obvious choice for introducing your little ones to the … Read more
When you have the highest-rated MP3 player on CNET, I suppose it's OK to rest on your laurels a bit. iRiver's latest Clix, the Clix+, isn't much different from its immediate predecessor. It offers the same great D-Click controls, the same gorgeous AMOLED screen, and the same extensive feature list. But the company made changes where it counts: The player is slightly slimmer and comes with a lower price tag attached. The 4GB will go for $149, while the 8GB is set to sell for $199. This is much more competitive than with the previous version. iRiver … Read more
For my money, one of the most exciting pieces of news coming out of CES this year is Napster's announcement that the service will be offering up its entire download catalog in the DRM-free MP3 format. It may not be free, but it still hearkens back to the olden days of Napster. Of course, Amazon.com's digital music store has been selling MP3 files for months now (and eMusic much longer than that), but having another major online music service push for the most universal of digital music formats is just one more step in the right direction--it … Read more
Despite its widespread adoption, the current Bluetooth audio standard (A2DP) isn't pretty. The lackluster audio quality currently achievable using Bluetooth is fine for noisy applications such as car audio or wireless workout headphones, but degraded Bluetooth audio has kept the technology from crossing over into the world of high-end audio and home theater components. With any luck, 2008 will be the year that the A2DP Bluetooth audio standard gets pushed aside by a superior audio codec called SoundAbout Lossless.
Creative has announced plans to release the Xdock HD, an HD-quality iPod video dock. The Xdock HD is due for a spring release with a retail price of $399. Four bills might seem like a steep price for an iPod dock, but the Xdock HD has some serious technology under the hood.
First and foremost, the Xdock HD provides a means to play iPod video content at 720p or 1080i resolution. This feat is accomplished by Creative's own video upsampling technology, which transforms your puny iPod videos into HD-worthy gems.
The second great asset of the Creative Xdock HD is its ability… Read more