By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sangean America, which launched its first one-piece tabletop Internet radio last November at a $279 street price, plans in two to three months to ship a next-generation model and its first component Internet tuner.
Compared to the current $279 WFR-20 table radio, the new WFR-1, at an expected $349 street price, will add FM tuner with Radio Data System (RDS) display of analog-FM station metadata, boost speaker size to 3 inches from 2.5 inches, and offer improved station-search capabilities. The radio will sync up with the vTuner Internet-radio database, enabling consumers to not only search for Internet and broadcast stations by country but also by U.S. state, and then by genre within a state, said sales and marketing manager Clayton Scott.
In another change, the new model's cabinet will be in gloss mahogany instead of black. Both models, however, feature wood cabinets.
Like its predecessor, the WFR-1 streams Internet radio stations via a wireless 802.11b/g or wired Ethernet connection to a broadband modem. Also like its predecessor, it connects wirelessly to a networked PC to stream PC-stored music and features Microsoft UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) for a simplified connection to UPnP PCs. Both models also feature limited alarm functions, but they're not intended as a bedroom's primary alarm clock. Both also come with remotes.
The company's first component-style Internet tuner, the WFT-1 at a tentative $349 street price, also features 802.11 b/g and wired Ethernet to stream from the Internet or from a PC. The feature set hasn't been finalized, but an FM tuner, digital audio output and on-TV display are under consideration.
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