Acoustic Research, a brand under AudioVox announced the arrival of their new Zentral line of products that use your mobile phone as a remote as opposed to a regular remote. This means that you can control many devices throughout your home with simply one device, your cell phone.
Audiovox is showcasing four Zentral products at CES: the Smartphone AV Remote for the Blackberry and the iPhone, the Smartphone Jukebox, and the Smartphone Garage Control.
These four products are all made possible through the implementation of a bridge that bridges the commands coming from the mobile phone with the device necessary to interface with the home. In many cases, what will happen is that the customer will have to install a special app on their mobile phone which will then use bluetooth to communicate with the bridge which will then enable control of the specific device. In the case of the AV remote, the bluetooth signal will initiate the bridge to send an IR blast to the necessary devices in order to control them. This setup allows for the control of up to 16 separate devices at once. The MSRP for the AV remote control setup is $59.99 for Blackberry and $79.99 for the iPhone. Which is a bit funny considering that Apple users are already infamously overcharged for certain upgrades and accessories to begin with. This seems to only go along with the culture of charging more for something that relates to Apple. The biggest reason I found this interesting is because there are plenty more ready and able iPhone developers than almost any other phone out there, and because of that you wouldn't necessarily expect an iPhone based version to command a 30% price premium over the Blackberry version.
In addition to the AV control devices, there is also the Blackberry iPod dock/control system that enables Blackberry users to control their iPods remotely using their Blackberry smartphone and another special app. This device, which includes the bridge and dock should sell for an MSRP of $69.99. AudioVox also made the garage door opener which rounds up their home control suite of products which will also only be for Blackberry users [for now]. This device will also work via bluetooth, so don't expect to be able to open the garage door from your cell phone miles away using your cellular networks, yet. The garage door opener should retail for a cool $49.99. All four of the products announced by AudioVox should hit retail around this Spring.
When asked about the possibility of supporting other mobile operating systems David Geise of AudioVox mentioned specifically that they were going to stick with the current operating systems that they were already working on and wanted to perfect those before moving onto newer operating systems. He did say that they would continually evaluate the market to see whether there will be ample demand for such a product by those users in the future.
We at BSN* welcome developments in the streamlining between various devices in the home as well as between the home and mobile devices. We expect to see more and more companies offering products like the ones offered by AudioVox as mobile devices become more and more pivotal in our daily lives.
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