Hands-on with new iRiver gear

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In a white alcove that looks like a European club, the iRiver booth at CES holds some new surprises. One is the WAVE-HOME hub, essentially a media streaming device with its own 7-inch screen. The angled design would fit best in a kitchen or parlor, but it’s too small to see from across the room. Built-in speakers and local storage allow you to listen to music, watch movies, use the device as a digital picture frame, and even make notes (e.g., back for supper) on the touchscreen (stylus optional). Yet, it’s also an IP telephony device that  lets you make Internet calls, send text messages, and surf the Web. There’s even a built-in 1.3 megapixel webcam for video chats. It’s not clear from the press materials or in talking to the media reps whether the WAVE-HOME uses Wi-Fi or a cell carrier service.

Of course, iRiver is known more for their media players. They have put the Nano in their sights with the new E50 music device, which comes in 2GB or 4GB versions, includes FM radio playback, and a photo viewer. It testing the device, sound quality with uncompressed MP3 files was noticeably bass-y and robust. It’s light enough that you can slip it in your pocket instead of always having to use a sleeve. IRiver also announced the P7 PMP player, which has a 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen and stylish and sleek design. We liked the P7 for it’s euro-design and because it comes in a 16GB version for holding every Will Ferrell movie we own (there’s also a 4GB and 8GB version).

 IRiver (www.iriver.com) did not announce pricing for these new items, but they will be out in the next few months.

Check out our video on the iRiver Spinn Portable Media Player

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