Eton (hand) cranks out new self-powered products at CES
By Darren Quick
January 8, 2012
While insufficient battery-life can be annoying in most mobile devices, getting cut off from the outside world because your radio has run out of juice can be much more serious. This is why Eton has been producing various devices powered by hand-turbines and solar panels for some time now. Today's CES Unveiled saw Eton demonstrating its latest FRX line of self-powered radios that come in three flavors - the FRX 3 and FRX 2, which both sport a solar panel and hand turbine, and the FRX 1, which features just the hand-turbine. Also on show was Eton's new Rukus portable Bluetooth sound system, which comes in battery- and solar-powered versions.
Intended to keep users abreast of things in cases of extreme weather, all three models in the FRX Series all feature a newly re-engineered hand-turbine constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum. The new hand-turbine, which can be used to recharge the internal Ni-MH lithium ion battery found in all models of the FRX Series, yields more power with less cranking than those found on the long list of previous Eton devices that includes the Eton P9110, the TurboDyne Series, and the Scorpion.
The FRX 1 is the most compact of the line and keeps things simple with an AM/FM/WB analog radio, LED flashlight, glow-in-the-dark indicator and DC (mini USB) input. One step up is the FRX 2, which features the same form factor and includes all the features found on the FRX 1 but adds a solar panel, AC power input, headphone jack and digital alarm to the mix. It also features direct power transfer technology that allows other mobile devices to be charged via USB. Meanwhile, the top of the line FRX 3 is differentiated by its AM/FM/WB digital radio and display, NOAA weather alert and auxiliary input.
As part of a long-standing partnership with the American Red Cross, Eton will be selling a co-branded version of the FRX Series with a proportion of each sale going to the charitable organization. The FRX 1 will be priced at US$25, the FRX 2 at $40, and the FRX 3 at $60. All will be available in Q1 of this year in red or black.
Making a Rukus
Intended for slightly more recreational listening, the Rukus is a new portable Bluetooth sound system that can play music streamed from a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, tablet or PC. With AVRCP/A2DP profile support, both model Rukus systems pump out 14 W of stereo sound through their two 2.25-inch diameter speakers and feature a form factor that includes an integrated carry handle.
While the regular Rukus is powered by four AA batteries, as its name suggests the Rukus Solar is powered by a 1800 mAh lithium ion battery that can be recharged in around six hours in direct sunlight using the unit's integrated solar panel - however, the unit can also be recharged from mains power or via USB if the weather isn't being accommodating. The Rukus Solar also features a power-saving E-ink display and a USB port that can be used to charge other mobile devices. Eton will release the Rukus Solar sometime in Q2, 2012, priced at US$149.95.
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