Walk the halls of this year’s CEDIA Expo in Atlanta, and you’d swear that Apple is single-handedly sponsoring the event, given that just about every exhibitor is boasting a shiny new iPad doodad or app. So it’s almost shocking to see Crestron showing a number of new panels and technologies that aren’t iPad- or iPhone-related.
Okay, to be fair, the company is showing off its new iPanel, a sexy little frame (much sexier than my quick pic indicates) that adds 13 hard buttons to the iPad for use with Crestron’s control app, which, if you’ve never used a touchpanel remote before while watching a movie or channel surfing, is kind of a big deal. Details are a little scarce at the moment, but look for it to sell for around $500 (iPad not included), which still brings the total cost to significantly less than a comparable Crestron touchscreen.
Also on display is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab (not a mock-up, but an actual and for true Galaxy Tab) running Crestron software. Needless to say, that display is a weensy bit crowded (not to mention guarded by a Samsung rep), so I didn’t get to play with it for long, but my brief taste left me wanting more.
The Galaxy might not be the iPad Killer some want it to be, but it’s definitely not an also-ran, either. And Crestron’s control program runs on it beautifully.
Then there’s the new waterproof version of the company’s award-winning circular UFO touchpanel, with a nigh-bulletproof blue case and a three-inch screen. Apparently in the testing phase, the remote’s designer submerged it under water and buried it beneath rocks to ensure its strength and liquid resistance, so I think it’s safe to say this little cutie will handle floating around in your pool for instant Jandy control at your pink, wrinkled fingertips with aplomb.
But the star of the booth is undoubtedly Crestron’s new 12-, 15-, and 24-inch V Panels: slick beasts running the company’s new Core 3 OS. The lightning quick, Apple-like finger-swipe interface really shows off the power of the new Flash-based operating system, and has to be touched to be appreciated, but even before you lay hands on it, the V24 is an eye-popping panel — really more of a smokin’ hot HD display with integrated touchscreen control than what we typically think of as a touchscreen remote. Practical? Probably not. Subtle? Hardly. But impressive? Um, yeah.