IBM and Xing announced today that they have come together to release a new high tech karaoke controller that will allow users to take karaoke with them throughout Japanese restaurants and karaoke bars. The Kyoku NAVIs features a touch screen interface, allows users to search for songs in a simplified fashion and has wireless LAN for updates and streaming videos. The controller is also waterproof (for all that “water” you’re going to spill on it at the bar) and shock resistant.
It looks as though you’ve got to connect the NAVIs to another karaoke system (screen and speakers) for it to work. This sort of takes the novelty out of going to a karaoke bar and doing embarrassing songs in front of all your friends and public alike. I know I vouched for the iPod Karaoke before, but that was designed for the comfort of your own home. The Kyoku NAVIs just seems a little bit ridiculous. But hey, we all saw “Lost In Translation,” maybe Japan does need something like this for karaoke lovers to carry around. Maybe.
Either way, it feels as though IBM is running on empty here. There is also another model of the controller, the Kyoku NAVII, which features all the same things as the NAVIs, but can wirelessly order drinks and food to whichever restaurant it’s connected to. What? Japan must really be technologically advanced if we’re still doing the ol’ paper and writing thing over here.
Xing’s Kyoku-NAVIs [ibm technology]