Hands-On With iRiver's Wave Phone and Multimedia Communication Device

We had a chance to check out iRiver's latest offerings here at CES, including the WAVE Internet Phone and the Wave Home Multimedia Communication Device. The Wave internet phone lets you place phone calls through VoIP accounts like Skype to regular handsets wherever there's an available Wi-Fi hotspot. We like the white coloring and the overall industrial design of the device, including its sensitive touch screen, but it still feels a bit late to the market. Skype phones were a bit popular a few years ago, and they weren't all that popular, but iRiver builds on the idea by adding additional features like the 7-inch LCD display, support for SMS messaging, a music and video player, an e-dictionary, an FM radio, and more. The device was lighter than we thought it would be, and it's a novel idea to take a device that can stand alone as a fully dedicated PMP and add in native VoIP support. The Wave Home Communication Multimedia Communication device, as we suspected, is perfect as a bedside accessory or a secondary computer for the kitchen. You can place video calls through its built-in Web cam and add up to three people in a conference call. If you want to walk away from the device and stay on the line, you can pick up a headset that's stowed in the rear of the device and wander around the house. It also neatly displays the weather on the home screen, and you can use it as a photo viewer as well. We liked the accurate touch screen, but were disapointed to learn that it's only scheduled to launch in Asia right now, with a potential U.S. launch later.