updated 08:45 pm EST, Sat January 5, 2008
Logitech Squeezebox Duet
Logitech tonight followed up earlier announcements with updates to both its Squeezebox wireless music hubs and Harmony universal remotes. The Squeezebox Duet is the first new Squeezebox since Logitech acquired the device's parent company and gives much more control than previous models: the remote (pictured) builds in a 2.4-inch color LCD and gives both more precise control as well as the option of viewing album art, RSS feeds, and other information without turning to a computer or the main hub. A new scroll wheel and simplified interface also helps find content more quickly.
Like the earlier Squeezebox, the Duet is platform-agnostic and shares media from any Mac or PC over either Ethernet or 802.11g wireless, including rarer formats such as Apple Lossless, FLAC, and OGG. Access to Internet stations, Pandora's music recommendation streams, and Real's Rhapsody service are also available for playing music even when all host computers are turned off. A combined hub and remote combo will ship this month for $400; individual receivers sell by themselves for $150 while the remote ships for $300.
The new Harmony One in turn builds on the latest advances in touchscreens to simplify control of a multi-device home theater, Logitech says. A capacitive-touch 2.2-inch LCD lets it respond to finger presses and allows users to perform many actions solely using an obvious visual interface. Selecting a TV station or a preferred action can now be reduced to a few finger presses instead of navigating through menus with the directional pad. The button interface has nonetheless been reworked to improve the layout and make it easier to find common actions intuitively rather than reading a label. Logitech ships the new Harmony in February for $250.
Additionally, the firm has re-announced the MX5500, a Bluetooth-based keyboard and mouse combo that uses the high-end MX Revolution laser mouse and a "zero degree" tilt keyboard that the company claims is comfortable for hours at a time. The controller pair includes Vista-optimizes shortcut buttons and is now set to ship in late January for $170.