Listening to internet radio and making Skype phone calls are two online pastimes usually restricted to users tethered to their computers, but two products unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are adding a new mobility to the experience.
Torian, an Australian company, is introducing InFusion, “the world’s first truly portable compact internet radio.”
The device fits in the palm of your hand and weighs only 100g, it picks up the internet through its built-in wi-fi adapter and connects to any streaming radio stations specified by the user, with 16 presets available for favourite stations. It can also make recordings, including timer ones, and save them as MP3 files to an SD MMC memory card inserted in a slot in the side.
Using computer-streaming software on your own PC, the device could also be used to listen to your own music collection stored on your hard drive from anywhere in the world. The InFusion should be available in the second quarter priced at around $200.
Netgear, the internet router company, and Skype announced a wi-fi phone, the size of a large cellphone, that would allow Skype users to call each other without the need for their computers. The calls can be made from a hotspot or over their own wireless home network. The phone shows who is online and available and even allows calls to fixed lines through the SkypeOut service.
Patrick Lo, Netgear’s chief executive, demonstrated the new device by calling Niklas Zennstrom, Skype’s co-founder, who was in Europe. Mr Lo said the phone would be available in the current quarter at a “mass-market” price.