One of the best headphone makers around is a little company called Westone Audio. They have been making high-quality hearing aids for several decades. In the last few years the company has taken this expertise and branched out into the audio enthusiast headphone realm. Professional musicians are really the target market for Westone’s headphone products. The prices go from $200 up to a staggering $1,000+. I recently had the chance to check out two different sets of headphones from the company, the consumer-targeted $200 ADV Alpha Adventure Series and the higher-end $500 Quad-Drive W40 headphones.
The Consumer Electronics Association is hosting their annual CE Week Line show in NYC next week. Festivities kick off Monday, June 24th and will run through the 26th. This event is usually a great opportunity for technology companies to showcase the latest and greatest in consumer tech to us East Coast Journalist. The week long festivities will be held all over the city. I will be onsite the 26 – 27th, checking out the latest in Entertainment tech, so hopefully will bring you news on connected TVs, new 4K TVs, tablets and other neat gadgets that will change how you view your movies, tv, games in the very near future. Official Press release after the break.
This will be the first time in four years that I will not be attending CES. I already miss the fabulous Circus Circus hotel and it’s strange blended smell of Elephant Poop, Kids, Candy, Cigarettes and stale beer. I’ll also miss paying $20 a day for hotel Internet that never works and walking around the convention floor screaming like a psycho because my stupid iPhone won’t work or sighing in frustration as my Macbook battery dies an hour into a Press Conference. I will be covering this year’s show from the comfort of my couch and will give you the daily recaps that you all have come to love and expect as well as press releases on all the new product announcements as the week progresses. The convention floor opens Thursday, but the announcements will probably start today. Although in a weird twist, as far as I can tell today isn’t the official Press Day any longer as there are a lot of Press Events tomorrow. Be sure to check out our CES Hub for the latest dirt.
Usually, I’m not a big fan of writing Holiday shopping guides, I kind of think they are a waste of time and surprisingly hard to put together. I figure most of you already know what you want for Christmas so how is putting together my own personal wish list of junk going to help you? As an exercise in long windedness I’ve put together my Holiday Gadget guide (Blu-ray and App guides are later in the week) – it’s more of a wish list so go to Amazon and buy some of this stuff for me.
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MSI Wind Top AE2220 All-in-One PC
As many of you know, I’ve been fighting with my 13 Inch Macbook for the last year. I hate that the Macbook only has 2 USB Ports, Leopard sucks, and I have a million other gripes about the machine. I’ve finally given up and went back to my crappy Dell Laptop hooked up to my 24 inch monitor. But what I really want is a nice 21 – 24 inch All In One PC. The newly released MSI Wind looks pretty darn sweet, it has Win 7, 4g of DDR2 Ram, 500 Gig Hard Drive, Wireless, Touchscreen (which I don’t understand the point of) every port you can imagine, it runs on a lame Intel Dual Core 2.1 Processor. All for about $800.
I really want to switch to T-Mobile. I like my iPhone well enough, but the fact that it doesn’t have multi-tasking capabilities makes a lot of the awesome apps available for it pretty useless and despite what Apple says the iPhone/iPod Touch is NOT a gaming machine. I’ve tried to play a few games and without buttons the experience is universally awful. T-Mobile and Motorola announced the Motorola CLIQ with MOTOBLUR, which will be available in the U.S. exclusively from T-Mobile later this fall. The CLIQ, the first device to feature Motorola’s MOTOBLUR service and Motorola’s first Android-powered device, joins T-Mobile’s compelling lineup of Android devices and underscores the company’s commitment to the open, customizable platform. The phone looks pretty darn hot. T-Mobile loves me, so I’m sure I’ll get a review unit sometime in the next 3 or 5 months – not timely, but hey, what can I do? We’re not Engadget or Cnet. Here’s the full press release.
I’ve been a subscriber to Rhapsody for almost 4 years, primarily because they make it almost impossible to cancel the service. It’s another one of those services that let’s you sign up online but they make you call to cancel. When you call they put you on hold for more than an hour at a time, it’s an exercise in frustration so I just let the stupid service continue to bill my credit card which finally expired last month so I finally have this monkey off my back. I’ve always liked how the service was organized with their User Created Playlists, Artist Songs, and the fact that you can listen to full albums at any time. The problem was the cancellation procedure bugged the heck out of me, their player has been crashing a lot lately and frankly I just don’t listen to music enough to want to pay for this for the rest of my life. I didn’t like that in order to use Rhapsody on different mobile devices you had to have a separate account. How ridiculous is that? I’d been a subscriber for over 3 years had over a hundred playlist but if I wanted to use Rhapsody on my Verizon phone I would have had to create and pay for an entirely new and separate account? What crap. Rhapsody is now available on the iPhone. For $15 a month you can get full access to Rhapsody at a glorious 64kb (sarcasm) stream over Wi-Fi or cellular data. The iPhone is a great platform but until they actually get multi-tasking capability I’m not paying for any more music apps. I have Sirius and it’s a horrible app, constantly buffers and crashes and the minute I want to check email I have to turn it off. So I’m not going to bite on the Rhapsody App even though it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time.
As Prince would say a Contract is for suckers, unfortunately the US Cell Phone companies have us by the gonads. I’m not going to go completely nuts on this, until I talk to my AT&T rep and see if I still qualify for an “upgrade” since I’ve only had my iPhone account for 2 months. But they really are f’ing their loyal customers over on an crappy upgraded phone. Let’s face it the iPhone 3GS is a useless, pointless “upgrade,” that provides almost nothing substantial. The reason I want it is strictly to get the 32-Gigs of extra space but if it weren’t for that I wouldn’t even bother.
There will be two separate lines at your local AT&T store, one for folks who pre-order the new iPhone 3GS and one for everyone else. Customers who are new to AT&T or current customers that have gone through at least 18 months on their current contract will be able to score an iPhone 3GS for $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB). Current iPhone 3G customers who wish to upgrade to an iPhone 3G S, but haven’t yet reached the 18 month mark must pay $399/$499 or $599/$699 respectively for the 16GB and 32GB models based on how much time is left on their two-year contracts.
Later today the folks at Amazon are holding an event to announce their new large screen Kindle DX. Rumor has it the new DX will have a new 9.7 inch screen, better support for PDFs and a better web browser. I have the first Kindle and absolutely love it – bought over 50 books for it and have a ton of fanfiction on it, tried the 2nd version and hated it. I don’t know enough about the new Kindle to pass judgment – I’ll order one and will play with it for a few weeks. But my initial gut reaction, based on the mockups – I don’t like it. I think if they make a larger Kindle that’d be great, but it needs to be wider and not simply “longer.”
The ideal size is 8 1/2 by 11 especially since the point of the new Kindle DX is to target the newspaper reading and college text book crowd. What good is having a longer but narrow screen going to do? Also navigating around the Kindle is a horrible experience, it’s a great device for reading from page to page, but nearly impossible to skip ahead and back to specific points – which is how people use Text Books. But we’ll see what they announce today. I’ll post a follow up after the Press Conference.