An undated handout photo of the iShower wireless speaker. The water-resistant speaker will work with Android phones and tablets, as well as with Apple products, including the iPod Touch. (Handout via The New York Times) -- NO SALES; FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY WITH STORY SLUGGED CIR-GEEK-NOTES. ALL OTHER USE PROHIBITED.
The French electronics company Archos is hoping to bolster its presence in the United States with a new line of Android tablets that include an integrated keyboard.
Arriving in November, the first offering is the $400 101XS, a 10.1-inch tablet that weighs 21 ounces and is 0.31 inches thick. Two more tablets, a 9.7-inch and an 8-inch, will follow.
The tablet's innovative feature is the Coverboard, a keyboard that doubles as a cover (and adds 7 ounces to the tablet's weight). Secured to the tablet with magnets, the Coverboard slides off easily. The tablet can then be docked in the cover for typing. It's an idea Microsoft has said will be coming on its Surface tablet.
If you don't need to type, then what do you do with the Coverboard? Unfortunately, it doesn't secure to the back of the tablet the way it does to the front, which makes it tricky to use, say, when you're commuting on the subway. You have to find someplace to stash the cover.
The tablet is powered by the Android 4.0 operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, but will be upgradable to Android's next OS, Jelly Bean.
If your singing in the shower requires accompaniment, you can use the iShower wireless speaker to bring music from your Bluetooth-equipped phone or music player along.
Even though it's called the iShower, and is a largely white rectangle with rounded edges like a certain company's popular devices, the water-resistant speaker will work with Android phones and tablets as well as with Apple products, including the iPod Touch.
The roughly 9-by-4-by-1-inch box has start, pause, forward and back buttons, as well as volume up and down.
These controls will run your device remotely, so you can skip past the techno tracks and get right to the karaoke cuts while keeping your music source dry.
The $100 iShower has a swing-out stand that doesn't lock in position, so it tended to collapse in the slippery tub. It also has a wall hanger, but that puts the 2-inch rear speaker right against the tiles, which isn't good for fidelity.
NEW YORK TIMES