By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Silex Technology plans December availability of its $149-suggested wiDock, which synchronizes wirelessly over an 802.11b/g network — or over a wired Ethernet network — to a PC or Mac running iTunes software in another room.
The wiDock is an iPod docking/charging station that makes a wired connection to a living room A/V system and also makes a wireless-network connection to a PC in another part of the house so a user can transfer content to an iPod without making a trip to the PC.
"There is no need to move the iPod back to the computer every time you want to transfer new songs or videos," the company explained.
The device also charges the iPod and lets users control iPod playback through Apple's remote. Although the iPod's menu doesn't appear on a connected TV, the iPod's video goes through an S-video output. The connection to an audio system is made through a 3.5mm audio output.
The device is similar to universal charger/docks that other companies have developed to connect iPods to any brand of home audio or video system, but Silex's iteration adds remote wireless syncing with a computer, which sees the wireless connection as a wired USB connection, said the company's Keith Sugawara.
The dock works with a home's existing 802.11b/g network, so no wireless dongle for the PC is needed. It accepts full-size iPods as well as Apple nanos and minis.
The wireless technology was developed by Silex initially for use in other companies' network printers and print servers intended for enterprise applications. The technology also appears in smart Singer-brand sewing machines, which connect wirelessly to a PC's embroidery program to download patterns for automated sewing.
For the iPod dock, the wireless technology works like this: To achieve remote syncing, users load configuration software on the PC. That provides a remote connection when the consumer presses a button on the wiDock.
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.