This week is the annual technological frenzy known as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where all the cutting-edge entertainment gear gets shown off for the first time. It is a window into the wonderful world of “What’s next?”
While I’m unable to make it there this year, I am keeping constant track of the news coming out of the show. Let me tell you it looks like a lot of leaps forward for radio as we enter the twenty-teens.
Bryan Chaffin of Mac Observer reports no less than eight new iHome gadgets, many of which sport FM capabilities, as well as the range of Internet-based radio and audio options that one would expect. As an iPhone user myself, I’m particularly excited about this one:
iP49 Portable Rechargeable Studio Series Audio System with Alarm Clock & FM Radio for iPhone/iPod: The name just about says it all. The iP49 features the high-end clock radio functions found in an iHome home unit, and gives it an audio boost with the inclusion of Bongiovi Acoustics’ patented Digital Power Station technology and four neodymium compression drivers. Add EQ for deep bass and audio clarity, and a remote control that handles the menu functions on both iPod and iPhone models, and you have the perfect on-the-go stereo. (Available later in 2010, with pricing to be announced.)
Sounds like the 21st Century equivalent of the “boom box” radios of the ’70s and ’80s. Sounds great for yard parties, picnics, job sites, and so forth. Never underestimate the uses of portability.
Then there is HD radio. A few days ago, I posted about this probably being a big breakout year or HD, and from the sound of things at CES, it looks like I might well have been correct. Chris Crum over at WebProNews.com just put up a quick review of the stupendous array of HD offerings:
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, there will be a total of 25 new HD Radio products introduced, making for this technology’s broadest product category coverage ever. This year, 15 automotive brands will produce over 80 vehicle types, and 36 of them will include HD Radio Technology, according to iBiquity Digital.
So, not only are we seeing a wave of new products, but almost half of the cars produced by those 15 auto brands will contain HD as well. I’d say that’s terrific news. Volvo, Jaguar, Audi, Ford, Lincoln, Mercedes Benz and others are rapidly helping to cement HD as an expected option for commuters everywhere. Mr. Crum goes on to report:
At least three new vehicles are on display at the event at the HD Radio booth – the Ford 2011 Taurus SHO, Volkswagen 2010 MY Golf TDI, and 2010 Scion xB. The first ever factory installed implementation of HD Radio enabled iTunes Tagging will occur at CES and will be showcased by Ford. A number of after-market solutions from various brands are being displayed as well.
So, portability and mobility seem to be the underlying thrust of this year’s radio offerings so far. I’ll endorse that wholeheartedly since I believe them to be key factors in our continuing growth as an industry.
I’ll be checking back on the reporting from CES as it rolls in, and hope to share more interesting radio developments. If you are attending CES, we would love to hear from you.