CES 2007: Dear Diary…iRiver's CLIX2, Shuttle's X200, Antec's Cases And Mini Hamburgers

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So after a long day running around the LVCC it was time to head off to a 3:00 p.m. meeting with iRiver. I was looking forward to this meeting since I set it up and thankfully I was not disappointed.



The CLIX2 and S10 from iRiver were definitely highlights of the show. And actually I got a little carried away with the photos and video, but they’re worth it. If you’ve never played with the original CLIX then it might be a little difficult to understand how it’s any better than any other digital audio player available. The fact is the interface is on par with the iPod’s and its controls couldn’t be any more intuitive or simpler to operate: just press on the edge of the display to go in the direction you want in the menus. Basically the screen is on top of a directional control pad. The CLIX2 works the same way (as does the significantly smaller S10).



The CLIX2 is a bit wider than the original, but it actually gives it a better hand feel. It is noticeably thinner than the original, though, making it nice and pocketable. The 2.2-inch OLED screen can be used for navigating your menus as well as viewing photos, cover art, MPEG-4 video at 30 frames per second and WMV 9 video clips. It’ll come in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB sizes (flash memory) and promises 25 hours of music playback on a single charge. And while it was developed in cooperation with Microsoft, you can change a setting in the menus to make it work with any OS. Below is some video of the player.

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=3511745401571948079&hl=en

The S10 is the CLIX Mini. No video or image support, but plays MP3, WMA and OGG files. There’s an FM tuner, with recording ability, and does voice recording just for good measure. Available in 1GB and 2GB sizes, it’s just a damn-cool little player.

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-9110121093476856249&hl=en
The reps showed off a few more products (the B20, UNIT2 and W10), but they had no timetable for launches in North America, if at all. I did take a couple shots of the W10 since that seemed most likely to show up more sooner than later. It’s a touchscreen portable media player with a positioning system that uses its built-in Wi-Fi adapter.



What good is that? Ever been in a strange city and want to find a restaurant/movie theater/ATM? All you need is a hotspot and you’re set. And with more and more hotels putting in free access in lobbies and business centers…


Next, I made a quick stop to talk to Shuttle. No major CES announcements out of Shuttle, other than turning their X100 into a full-fledged Media Center PC, building in an NTSC standard-def TV tuner and an IR receiver for an optional remote control. The X100 is a favorite of mine. Good performance, good features and more powerful components than systems that are just barely smaller than it can offer. The X200, while offering the built-in tuner, switches to the less-powerful Intel GMA 950 graphics chipset (same as the Mac Mini) from the X100′s ATI Mobility Radeon X1400. Disappointing, but not a make-or-break deal. I’m currently testing the X200, so I’ll have to keep you posted.


My last “meeting” meeting of the day is with Antec. They’ve added a black version of their media-center Fusion case along with a smaller version (pictured) to the lineup. The P180 case was updated to the P182, adding an external fan control, holes for water pipes for external coolers, some cable management and it’s all in a special titanium-color finish. The extended-ATX P190 case builds on the P182 with two top-mounted 140mm fans, one side-mounted 200mm fan and dual power supplies totaling up to 1,200 watts.


Antec also used their cooling expertise for taking the heat away from home-theater components with the A/V Cooler. Since most components vent heat out of their tops, the Cooler is designed to sit in between them.


Fans underneath pull hot air up and out the sides of the Cooler, so the heat of the bottom component doesn’t reach the one on top. The fans are big enough and spin slow enough so they’re near silent when operating. The aluminum top stays cool, too. The hard drive enclosure below works, in general, the same way.



Like the night before, there’s a multi-vendor event called ShowStoppers. I had grand plans of hitting several of the companies on the floor to talk to them about whatever they were hawking. It didn’t happen. I had talked myself into a stupor by the end of the day and by the time I got to the event at 6:30 p.m., I just wanted to chill, eat mini hamburgers, drink and watch the OSU game. (I guess I would’ve been better off talking to the vendors.) I did talk to one company, Siber Systems, makers of RoboForm. If you have a Windows PC and you’re not using RoboForm, you’re missing out. Aside from being the best password manager and form filler available, they recently added the ability to create your own search engines in the toolbar for whatever site you want. Takes less than a minute.

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