By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Not that an excuse is needed for the exploding category, but a variety of companies rolled out new accessories for iPods and other MP3 players in the aftermath of International CES.
Now available from Jabra is the A125 Bluetooth adapter for iPods. According to the company, it is compatible with most iPods, iPod Minis and iPod Shuffles.
It features one-way audio streaming from the music device to Bluetooth stereo headset or headphones, along with automatic pairing with Bluetooth stereo headset or headphone. The adapter goes into pairing mode if no paired devices are found. It offers more than 10 hours of music streaming, according to Jabra, and features a suggested retail of $59.99.
Another Bluetooth dock adapter for iPods was recently introduced by Belkin. It is designed to turn an iPod into a wireless remote so users can plays songs wirelessly through an iPod stereo stock. Scheduled to launch in March for a $129 suggested retail, the adapter enables users to navigate playlists from more than 30 feet away. No software or batteries are required — it powers from the stereo dock — and it provides up to five hours of playtime. Reportedly compatible with other Bluetooth stereo devices, the product includes a Bluetooth stereo dock adapter and Bluetooth iPod adapter. It is designed to be used with the first-generation iPod nano, iPod Mini, iPod with click wheel, iPod with color display and video iPod.
Belkin has also released information about its TuneStudio, scheduled to become available this summer for a suggested retail of $179. The TuneStudio is billed by the company as the first four-channel audio mixer that enables users to create high-quality digital recordings directly onto their iPod. The mixer allows the input of up to four different instruments or audio sources, and records the audio onto an iPod for instant playback. It also acts as an external USB sound card that allows the input of audio from a PC source as well as output to a PC from any of the TuneStudio's connector inputs.
Features include the ability to record in 16-bit, 44kHz quality; three-band EQ, pan and level controls for each channel; phantom-power-enabled XLR inputs providing up to 60dB of microphone gain; and high-quality stereo compressor with makeup gain that enhances audio dynamics and keeps audio levels within recording limits of the iPod.
The TuneStudio also includes one-knob compression control, and LEDs that indicate master audio level, power status, peak indication, compressor activity and recording status. It is reportedly compatible with the video iPod.
Sakar is offering two products to be used with an iPod and a third product that can be used with an iPod or other MP3 player.
The iAlbum allows users to download photos directly from an SD memory card or a memory stick to an iPod without a computer or software. It is compatible with the iPod Photo, the video iPod and can be used with multiple iPods. It comes in black and white and features a suggested retail of $59.99.
The iView enables users to enhance the video viewing experience on a 7-inch LCD screen, said the company. The LCD screen offers up a high-resolution picture and built-in hi-fi speakers. It features a dock connector that charges the iPod while in use and a built-in rechargeable lithium battery that reportedly provides up to five hours of use time. It can also be connected to any television using an A/V input. It retails for $149.
The Bluetooth wireless transmitter and charging cradle enables users to play music through any FM radio station, use a mobile phone hands-free through the car's stereo speakers and charge a music player all at the same time. It features a back-lit LCD screen, fits iPods and all MP3 players and plugs into any 3.5mm audio jack. The product is available for a suggested retail of $129.
Griffin Technology introduced a range of iPod-related accessories at MacWorld, held in San Francisco last month.
Its AirDock ($69.99 suggested retail) enables users to play iTunes on their stereo and to view iPod photos and videos on their TVs. The included RF remote allows control from up to 60 feet away.
The Griffin dock adapter for the iPod Shuffle connects the second-generation Shuffle to devices with an Apple universal dock. The all-in-one design is reportedly compatible with docks such as the company's AirDock as well as Apple's HiFi speaker system and other accessories.
The TuneFlex AUX plays iPod's music through car stereos equipped with a 3.5mm aux-in jack as it charges through the auto's 12-volt power outlet. The cradle is designed to hold an iPod secure while the pass-through dock connector "leaves your options open," said Griffin in a release. It is compatible with the iPod nano ($49.99 suggested retail) and video iPod ($49.99 suggested retail).
The TuneJuice 2 ($29.99 suggested retail) is an updated version of Griffin's battery backup for iPod. It adds more playing time for music and video, making it ideal for air travel and road trips, according to the company. Powered by four AAA batteries, it adds up to 14 additional hours of audio play and two additional hours of video play.
Mobility Electronics also introduced a power adapter designed for iPods and other MP3 players. The iGo powerXtender is meant to power most portable electronics devices, including cellphones, MP3 players, digital cameras and Bluetooth headsets, using two AA batteries.
It provides up to four hours of runtime, and users can replace or recharge the two AA batteries each time they are used up. As with the company's other iGo adapter, the powerXtender uses the company's tip technology, which reportedly enables one adapter to charge multiple devices through the use of interchangeable tips.
It features a suggested retail of $15.99.
The TC2 ("Turbo Charge Squared") from Voxred International is the company's first two-battery line of chargers; they are intended to provide extended portable power for iPods, cellphones, PDAs, portable gaming devices and most digital cameras.
The TC2 line of chargers can reportedly provide two complete days of battery power for a cellphone. For a PDA, said the company, it can provide 1.5 days of additional power.
Priced at less than $30.00, which includes one unit, 2 AA batteries and one adapter, the TC2 will be available first online at by mid-March, then afterward at retailers. The company plans to initially roll out four SKUs covering the following categories: iPods, cellphones, portable gaming and digital cameras.
Designed in two-tone black and silver, with the black area made of "Tru-grip" material, the TC2 features a blue LED vertical light strip down the center that serves as a gauge to indicate the level of power usage. For example, when the TC2 is at full power capacity, the blue LED light strip will run from top to bottom. As the TC2 is being used, the blue light will slowly drop down; when it's close to the bottom, it's almost time to change the batteries.
As an added feature, the TC2 can be used as a flashlight; two small bright white LED lights are located on either side of the unit's adapter end. Pressing a button triggers the white lights to illuminate.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.