CES NEWS: iRiver launching a deluge of new products

iRiver thinks it's spotted the next big trend in digital devices – analogue-style controls!

Its new digital music and video players, showcased last week at CES 2008 and including the SPINN pocket MP4 device (left), all feature rotary controls for functions such as volume and mode selection, combined with the latest digital technology for storage and playback.

And the company's also going convergence-crazy with two new products designed to bring together all your data and entertainment needs: a compact device aimed at the handheld PC market and what it's describing as "the ultimate all-in-one solution for integrating your personal digital content."

Three new personal players were shown at CES, and are due on sale during the course of this year. The simplest is the A Player MP3 device (left), aimed at male buyers and styled to look like a classic cigarette lighter - well, in these increasing smoke-free days a chap needs something to play with in his pocket!

It's said to be the smallest MP3 player of its kind, is as thin as a credit card, and has FM tuner, voice recording and up to 8GB of flash storage. It's expected to sell from about £60.

The SPINN MP4 player is named after its system toggle control, and has a large 3.2in screen, Bluetooth, FM radio and DMB mobile digital TV reception (where available), with DAB also a possibility. It'll come in versions up to 16GB.

Meanwhile serious photo and video users are catered for by the IAMOLED MP4 player (left), with a 4.1in organic LED screen, FM tuner, DMB, voice recording, TV output and an SD/CompactFlash slot. It will be available in 80GB and 160GB versions, using internal hard disk drives. iRiver is describing this unit as a 'Photo Tank' device.

iRiver's also taking on recently arrived mini-notebook computers such as the Asus EeePC with its new WING, which combines a 4in LCD touchscreen with a full – if tiny – QWERTY keyboard, two cameras, wi-fi and VoIP telephony capability.

Built-in are web browsing, instant messenger, mail, SMS/MMS messaging, video/photo/music storage and playback and even an FM tuner. The unit runs Linux Kernel 2.6, and has 4GB of flash memory, plus an SD card slot.

Finally, there's UNIT 2, described as a "Multimedia Home Networking" device. It's a three-part system – base unit, portable client and remote – and can integrate with the likes of home TVs and set-top boxes to store and stream audio and video content around the house.

The main tabletop unit includes a DVD/CD player with a subwoofer and front speakers, which slide apart to all the screen to be attached. But it's no ordinary screen – it's actually a touch-screen, plus a full wi-fi enabled portable media player, able to play back its own content plus stream content wirelessly from the base station.

The system is internet-enabled, allowing the screen (remotely or in-place) to be used as a video conferencing device. And it has an internet browser, of course, aided by the wireless keyboard that's included in the voice/video-over-IP handset/remote (left), which can also be attached to the Unit 2 via a dock.

This model – launching in Korea in June for $800 – is possibly due in UK by the end of the year, iRiver saying it may be marketed as a tie-in with BT.

Technorati Tags: Bluetooth, CD player, DAB radio, DVD player, FM radio, iRiver, MP3, MP4, multiroom, VoIP, SD card, wi-fi, wireless

Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.