Oregon Scientific is one of those companies that youâ€™ve either heard of or you havenâ€™t. If youâ€™ve got a soft spot for gadgets and gizmos, youâ€™re probably well aware of this company, and probably have one of its weather centre clocks adorning your bedside table. I myself used to have an Oregon Scientific clock, but then it probably comes as no surprise that Iâ€™m a bit of a gadget junkie.
But yesterday Oregon Scientific had something new to shout about, something that was a definite departure from the usual gadgets, although still very appealing to gadget fiends like myself. Yesterday saw the launch of the StyleFi brand â€“ yes I know the name is a little sad, but the products actually look pretty cool.
As you can probably guess from the name, the StyleFi range consists of stylish audio products. In fact OS was keen to liken its ethos to that of legendary style gurus Bang and Olufsen, but making it clear that it would be making the StyleFi products affordable by the masses, rather than a select few.
There was certainly some interesting kit on display, but my personal favourite was the iBall. The iBall is a wireless speaker device for the Apple iPod and consists of the wireless speaker itself and a docking cradle for your iPod.
Simply drop your iPod into the cradle and it will then communicate wirelessly with the speaker over a 2.4GHz DECT style connection. Thereâ€™s automatic frequency hopping so that you shouldnâ€™t get any interference from other 2.4GHz signals, and the iPod can actually be controlled remotely from the speaker.
The docking cradle will also charge your iPod, while you can also plug your syncing cable into it. For anyone that uses their iPod photo for viewing pictures, the cradle also has an S-Video port, while the auxiliary input will allow you to send a second audio source to the remote speaker.
The speaker can be used up to 100ft away from the cradle and also has an inbuilt battery for up to eight hours of use â€“ ideal for barbeques on the three days of sunshine we get in the UK. Sound seemed to be pretty respectable, but itâ€™s always hard to tell in a crowded and noisy environment, so Iâ€™ll save my judgement until I get to test one properly.
According to OS, the iBall is compatible with all versions of the iPod except the nano, but there will be a converter appearing for Appleâ€™s latest baby soon. Price wise, the iBall will cost Â£199 inc VAT â€“ expect a full review very soon.