New photos and specs say Sony’s device may open up a new consumer technology market before Apple. Three years ago Sony launched a wireless tablet TV device called the Sony Airboard. The device was heavy, cumbersome, limited in features, and expensive.
Sony’s new Location Free TV, the LX-F1, is smaller, slicker, less expensive, and ready to blaze a new trail as the premier wireless tablet TV device—more features, photo and music capable, and two sizes.
Earlier this year Alex Kayhill wrote extensively about the Sony Airboard (Click Here for the article). Sony’s new LF-X1 is the latest version of the wireless TV tablet device.
Think 12” iBook with wireless video, TV, email, browser, video “pod” photos, and much more And less. The LF-X1 weighs less that 1 and 1/2 pounds. And it comes in two models. A 12” monitor and base station, and the diminutive LF-X5 with a 7” display.
Does Apple have a similar product waiting in the wings for introduction at Macworld Expo 2005? Will the iPod become a wireles videoPod with similar capabilities.
Let’s look at the specifications of the 12” Sony LF-X1 base station. Technical specs are limited, however, based on information from the Sony web site, the LF-X1 comes with a single NTSC TV tuner, 2 video inputs, 1 video output, ethernet connector, IR Blaster (infrared).
The device’s base station measures 2 3/8” thick, by 8 3/4” wide, by 7 1/8” high, and weighs just 1 lb, 3 oz. The LF-X1 screen measures 12” diagonally with a 4:3 aspect ratio; WVGA 800×480 pixels.
The LF-X1 tablet TV also has two stereo speakers built-in but no USB connector. On-board video memory is included, as is an On-Screen Universal Remote, and an On-Screen Keyboard.
Also included is a PDF viewer, a built-in web browser, and an email client (for both POP3 and SMTP). Other software is available in the device, including a Photo Album/Slide Show, and a sleep timer.
The battery is listed as a 2 x Lithium Ion; Standard and Extended Life.
The LF-X1 wireless TV tablet video device is slightly smaller than Apple’s iBook, measuring just 8 1/8” wide by 4 3/8” high, and only 1 and 1/8” thick. The device weighs 1 lb 4 oz with the Standard Battery and 1 lb 6 oz with the Extended Life Battery.
Wireless capability is IEEE 802.11 a/b/g. The “g” designation is the same speed as Apple’s Airport Extreme and Airport Express.
The smaller model, the LF-X5 has a screen that measures 7” diagonally with a 16/9 aspect ratio.
The Sony Location Free TV web site does not offer much additional information. Most of the site makes extensive use of Flash in the presentation of basic specifications and photographs.
The site also provides links to the SonyStyle web site and pricing information for each model. The LF-X1 12” model is priced at $1,499.99, while the smaller 16:9 aspect ratio LF-X5 7” model is priced at $1,099.99. Both models include the wireless base station (with power and video, audio, and ethernet connectors).
Sony says the larger LF-X1 model contains a Photo album function via Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick media. The smaller LF-X1 7” model’s Photo album functions via CompactFlash media.
Both models feature a touch screen monitor with a stylus device. The SonyStyle web site uses this advertising copy to describe the devices:
“LocationFree™ TV sets you free to live beyond the living room. You can access your favorite content virtually anywhere via the LF-X1’s 12 inch (4:3) screen. Because LocationFree TV is a dual-band wireless TV, reception will be excellent regardless of what types of 2.4GHz devices (such as microwave ovens and cordless phones) you have in your home.
Enjoy your favorite programs, movies, even Internet and e-mail, streamed from the Base Station in your living room, bedroom or kitchen. Additionally, LocationFree TV can deliver your personal video content from the Base Station to your Wireless LCD Monitor via WiFi Hotspots or Internet hotspots at airports, universities and cafes1. Expand your A/V home network in ways unlike any the world has ever seen. And it’s only from Sony.”
Is Sony’s LF-X1 similar to a new product in Apple’s consumer strategy? Will the iPod become a wireless TV videoPod? Will Apple venture into additional competition with giant Sony following on the heels of major success with the iPod?
To view all the Sony specifications, photos, and Flash graphics, Click Here.
Do you think Apple needs a product like the Sony LF-X1? Would you buy one from Sony? Should Apple release a video iPod with similar specifications? Share your comments with others. Click on the Comments link below.