Tuesday, January 12, 2010

CES 2010 roundup

- What was new (in internet radio) at CES 2010?

I have been to a couple of CES events in Las Vegas over the last few years. The glitz of the strip seems like the right atmosphere for this huge event. However, this year I attended only vicariously through various blogs and news releases.

With 2700 exhibitors covering the whole of the consumer elexctroics world you can imagine that internet-enabled audio devices do not get the same sort coverage as 3D-TV or tablet devices.

Anyway - there were only a few internet radio items of note that I noticed.
In this post I have picked out the Innovation Awards "Honoree" status but none made it to "Best of".

Pure - announced it is now selling products in America.
They have listed an office in San Francisco and I presume have tweaked some of the devices (e.g. remove DAB, FM tuning steps, ensure power supplies work).
There is a new sub-set of their site at http://www.pure.com/us
New models previewed (due to ship later in 2010) were the Oasis Flow and Sirocco 550.
Pure Oasis Flow and Scirocco 550

The Oasis Flow looks, at first glance, the same as their old splashproof Oasis DAB radio. It has touch controls and OLED display (like the Evoke Flow) and adds FM plus Internet radio.
The Sirocco 550 is a mini-hifi featuring radio (Internet, DAB/DAB+/DMB and FM), CD, iPod Dock and USB for flash drive. Sound promises to be good, with a CLass-D amp and 40W RMS per channel.

Naim - launched the UnitiQute a sibling to their Uniti (which arrived around May 2009).

This high-spec device has a preamplifier with two analogue inputs, five 24bit/192kHz-capable digital inputs and conventional radio (DAB/FM) along with internet radio (vTuner powered). It can also play from UPnP-AV sources along with a USB socket to play from a Flash drive and proper Apple iPod connectivity. It also comes with a large remote control.

Compared to the Uniti, it lacks the CD drive and appears to have a slightly lower spec analogue preamp.
Looks like the price will be around 2000 USD.

Logitech - picked up 7 honoree awards overall - 2 of which were from the ex-Slimdevices group - namely the Squeezebox Radio and the (not yet shipping) Squeezebox Touch. Both have been extensively covered here before - so not so much to say this time.

Sonos - had an award for the Controller 200 and ZonePlayer S5 - again products covered here before.

A related group is the IMDA - Internet Media Device Alliance - held one of their meetings at the event - http://www.imdalliance.org/
Hopefully we will see some progress on standards for use by broadcasters, device suppliers and software builders that will further enhance how internet radio access on-line content ... audio and related information (for example cover art, biographies, "buy now" and EPGs should all become easier to access and present).
Last year they published presentations from their CES event on their site - so watch out for it happening again this year.