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Tag Archives: Portable Audio

Tomy Hi-Kara Handheld Karaoke Box

Tomy Hi-Kara Portable Karaoke Box (Image courtesy Akihabara News)
By Andrew Liszewski

The only thing worse than someone who has their MP3 player turned up too loud in a public place is someone who also thinks I want to hear them sing along to whatever crap they have playing. So needless to say I’m glad this new Hi-Kara portable karaoke device from Tomy will probably never catch on in North America.

It features a 2.4″ color LCD screen which displays the song’s lyrics allowing whoever’s holding it to sing along and at least get the words right. It also comes with a headset microphone which makes me worried that the Hi-Kara is also able to amplify someone’s voice. Hopefully it’s just fed back into the headphones. For some reason the device uses prepaid cartridges which allow you to connect it to the Hi-Kara website and download songs and lyrics. Thankfully it won’t be out until October of this year, which gives us plenty of time to burn down the Tomy factory to ensure it never actually hits the street.

[ Akihabara News - Tomy Hi-Kara ]

MobiBLU Cube3 Coming May 1st

MobiBLU Cube3 (Images courtesy HYUNWOM Inc.)
By Andrew Liszewski

I still think it’s a slick piece of hardware, but the original MobiBLU Cube and the Cube2 never really became the iPod Shuffle killer that many people predicted. Even though it trumped the Shuffle by including a display at nearly the same price. However, it’s not like the MobiBLU Cube and Cube2 were dismal failures, and the fact that the Cube3 is just around the corner means that the company is still behind the product.

The Cube3 supports MP3, WMA and WMA(DRM) files and is ‘PlaysForSure’ certified making it compatible with many non-iTunes online music stores. The full color OLED display can be used for squinting at digital images and videos, but is probably better suited for navigating through playlists. It will only be available in a 2GB model, but you can supplement your music with FM radio since it even includes a built-in FM tuner and recorder. You can also expect to get about 10 hours of playtime with its rechargeable lithium polymer battery.

Come May 1st you’ll be able to pick one up for $99.

[ MobiBLU Cube3 ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

OGCC Day 4 – Executive Snowbox Desk Toy

Let It Snow Executive Sandbox Desk Toy (Image courtesy MerlinsBox)
By Andrew Liszewski

OGCC Day 4 (Image property of OhGizmo!)We’ve all seen those executive ‘Zen Gardens’ that are basically a small box of sand with miniature tools that sits on your desk and constantly reminds you you’re not at the beach. But for those who find a snowy winter wonderland more relaxing than a warm stretch of sand comes this alternative to the traditional desktop garden.

This ‘Let It Snow’ version includes a wooden sled, an evergreen tree, a snowman, snowballs, a shovel and a small packet of instant snow to recreate a winter day spent playing outside. However I think it could more accurately represent a snowy day with a small car stuck in a snow drift, road salt spilling over on to your desk and everything in a three foot radius being completely soggy.

MerlinsBox has it for just $9.99.

[ Let It Snow ] VIA [ Nerd Approved ]

iJesus Frightens And Dismays

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By Ryan Nill

Chinavision, a wholesale electronics dealer famous for its startlingly worthless products (Skype Mouse-Phone, Handheld USB Paper Shredder, Laptop Cooling Pad), has decided to bring us a wonderful cross-shaped digital music player. Boasting 1, 2 or 4GBs of internal memory, a two-color LCD, a built-in speaker, a FM tuner, an integrated mic, seven equalizer modes and a multi-language menus, the crucifixion inspired MP3 is promised to make a “fashion statement.” Oddly enough, it was apparently designed to be given away at youth groups or while on a mission. It costs between $22.47 to $48.14, but you can save (zing!) even more by buying in bulk.

[ Chinavision ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Cassette Culture Lives On, Apparently

casseete.jpg By Ryan Nill

While probably not “the real bleeding edge,” this MP3/digital cassette has managed to awe me, at least slightly. Chinavasion has created an MP3 Cassette Player, accepting songs from SD/MMC cards while still allowing the owner to play it over a standard tape deck. Yes, it is both an MP3 player and a cassette. This has many ramifications: has the cassette player, like Jesus or Kurt Cobain, risen from the dead? Will the Blu-Ray vs. HD wars be rendered irrelevant due to 8-tracks, vinyl and cassettes? Probably not, but its still nice to have something to play in my ’65 Pony Mustang. [You do mean your pimping '88 Ford Escort, right? -Ed.]

The revenge of the 80′s is available in the future, from Chinavasion wholesale electronics, for an unknown price.

[ Chinavasion ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Balisong Styled Concept Music Player

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By Ryan Nill

This concept MP3/CD player, by Yong-Seong Kim, was apparently inspired by a butterfly knife. And an overwhelming need to have a CD player that is not the actual size of a CD. You just extend the “legs” of the MP3 player, pop in your CD, and you’re golden.

Also, this is merely a concept project and will probably never ever make it to real life. Which sucks because it looks so dangerously cool. And dangerously useful! Did I mention dangerous? I can totally see myself losing a finger with this thing.

VIA [ techeblog ]

XMI X-mini – Another Little Speaker With Big Aspirations

XMI X-mini (Images courtesy XMI)
By Andrew Liszewski

While most of the world is content to privately enjoy their MP3 players with a pair of headphones there are still those who think everyone else is interested in hearing their music. But while MP3 players are small enough to conveniently fit in your pocket it’s next to impossible to find a similarly sized speaker that doesn’t sound like crap. Of course according to their website that’s not the case with the X-mini which claims to be the world’s first speaker that strikes the “perfect balance of pocketsize portability with uncompromising sound quality.”

To pull this off it uses an accordion like vacuum chamber that’s supposed to mimic the resonance of a sub-woofer when expanded and a high-fidelity speaker for reproducing all the mids and highs. I do like the fact that it has a built-in rechargeable battery since there are many other non-powered portable speakers on the market that are just too quiet to be of any use.

But don’t go pulling out the credit card just yet unless it’s to book a flight because it seems the X-mini is only available in Singapore right now for about $32.

[ XMI X-mini ] VIA [ Krunker ]

iHome iH20W Water Resistant iPod Speakers

iHome iH20W Water Resistant iPod Speaker (Image courtesy iHome) By Andrew Liszewski

Is there anyone so addicted to their iPod that they can’t survive the duration of a shower without one? It seems so otherwise products like the iH20W wouldn’t exist. It’s a water resistant speaker that will hold most of the recent iPods including the 5G, 4G, Nano, Photo and Mini.

It includes basic controls on the outside allowing you to skip tracks on the iPod or adjust the volume. The speakers can also be used with non-Apple MP3 players but you won’t be able to control those devices while they’re sealed up inside. The iH20W can be powered by an AC adapter if you’re looking to make your showers more dangerous or 4 AA batteries if you want to play it safe. You’ll also want to note the iH20W is advertised as ‘water-resistant’ as opposed to ‘water-proof.’ So while it’s probably fine for use when showering or outdoors where it might get splashed you’re going to want to avoid submerging this thing in the bathtub or pool.

The iH20W is currently available on the iHome website for $79.99. Also I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the company will be producing a shower-safe housing for the iPhone once that’s released because why should we be limited to just listening to music while we’re in the shower?

[ iHome iH20W Water Resistant Speaker ] VIA [ iLounge ]

Wireless Outdoor Speaker Also Solar Powered

Wireless Outdoor Solar Speakers (Images courtesy Firebox) By Andrew Liszewski

Now here’s a portable speaker that seems to do everything right. It’s about the size of a small trash can and has a 5W speaker capable of pumping out your tunes at up to 70dbs. Since it’s designed to be used outdoors where there’s typically a lack of wall sockets it also has a large solar cell on top that can be used to charge a built-in battery that should provide about 8 hours of use when topped off.

But it gets better. The speaker also wirelessly connects to any audio device with an included transmitter with a range of up to 150 feet. That means you can have your MP3 player hooked up to the transmitter in the house while enjoying your music in the backyard. And thanks to an included remote you can also control the speaker volume when you don’t want the neighbors to hear certain songs in your playlist you’re not proud of.

The Wireless Solar Speaker is currently available from Firebox for $196.40 but it seems it can only be delivered to addresses within the UK.

[ Wireless Outdoor Solar Speaker ] VIA [ Gizmodude ]