Never use one product where three will do, that appears to be the motto of a rejuvenated Commodore at this year’s IFA.
Taking pride of place on its stand is its new ‘Gravel’ series of PMPs which is composed of three slightly different versions of what is basically the same device.
Displayed as the ‘Gravel Portable’, ‘Gravel Personal’ and ‘Gravel In Car’ these flash based players – available in capacities of either one or two gigabytes – all feature WiFi and support the major audio, video and picture formats of MP4, MPEG, DivX, Xvid, WMV, streaming WMV, JPEG, BMP, GIF, along with MP3, WMA, WAVE. An SD slot is added in for good measure but otherwise details were strangely sparse. Commodore seems determined to show off these products without actually unveiling them, which makes little to no sense at all.
Consequently, the logic to divide the Gravels into three separate products is difficult to judge. All I know for sure at this stage is that the Personal edition comes with its own speaker and the In Car addition changes the 2.8in widescreen displays of the other two into an old style 4:3 and adds GPS.
Why the secrecy? Who knows? I pestered the company's poor onsite marketing manager for a good ten minutes before reverting to taunting him with numerous puns such as:
Why the stony silence?
Is this a rocky road?
Are you breaking new ground?
And on, and on, and on. Poor Guy. But Stupid Name.