During the process of considering Best of Show Awards for the 2012 International CES, iLounge’s editorial team frequently encounters a few additional products that are noteworthy but do not necessarily qualify for a Best of Show Award—products with no announced pricing or availability date or products that cannot be properly tested to evaluate critical factors such as sound quality. What follows is a list of those products that we felt were worthy of honorable mention.
Griffin Twenty: A digital audio amplifier designed to work with Apple’s Airport Express wireless base station, the Griffin Twenty allows users to easily add AirPlay support to any set of existing speakers. Unfortunately, no firm price has yet been announced and the device remains an early prototype at this point.
OWC miniStack Max: The Newer Technology miniStack Max from Other World Computing expands upon the company’s previous Mac Mini expansion products with a new higher-end model that includes an optical drive and front SDXC card slot. The usual plethora of expansion ports can be found on the back, including support for USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire 400/800 and even an eSATA port, along with a built-in powered USB hub. The miniStack Max will also be available with internal hard drive storage up to 4TB in capacity. Sadly, as of show time no pricing has been announced, although the miniStack Max is currently in production and expected to ship by the end of March.
Supertooth Crystal: Supertooth’s new Crystal in-car speakerphone sports a very nice low-profile design with an impressive 20 hours of talk time from a single charge. The new model sports A2DP streaming, providing not only the ability to listen to music but also to hear enroute voice guidance from most iOS GPS apps. Multipoint support is also provided for pairing two Bluetooth phones or other devices. The unit is expected to retail for $69 and should be available by the spring.
Supertooth Disco 2: Expanding on its previous Disco lineup, Supertooth’s Disco 2 delivers a refreshing new design, with multiple colour options available and the ability to use both speakers or a single speaker by itself. Unfortunately, no listenable demo units were available at the show, leaving sonic quality as the most important question mark in this otherwise nicely designed product.
Tylt The Band: A car charging cable with a unique and fun design, Tylt’s The Band is a tangle-less flat silicon rubber cable with a car charging port adapter on one end and a 30-pin Dock Connector on the other. The two-foot cable is available in a variety of colours and provides 2.1A charging and an additional USB charging port for charging a second USB device such as a Bluetooth headset or speaker. Although The Band is definitely a new and interesting take on in-car charging cables, the $40 asking price strikes us as a bit on the high side.
XtremeMac Soma BT: A small portable Bluetooth speaker in the same genre as last year’s popular Jawbone Jambox, the Soma BT comes in at a much more reasonable $100 price point, but lacks for sound quality.