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Alarm clocks and iPods span the aural spectrum — from the noisemaker that most of struggle to live with to the iconic music player that many of us just can’t live without. I guess merging the two was inevitable. Logitec performed the deed with its LDS-iALARM, making use of the i designation. It looks vaguely like an old fashioned circular-faced alarm clock, with two stubby little legs and a couple of big round bells on the top. But instead of a standard clock face it has a rectangular receptacle into which you insert any one of various permutations of the Apple product — including the nano and the video iPods. When combined with the Logitec gadget the iPod becomes a more melodious method of waking up. The iALARM comes with a pair of 6W speakers and is available in either plain white- or black-colored faces, keeping up with the iPod decor. Check it out at: www.logitec.co.jp/press/2007/0404_02.html

Beefing up the iPod: Even Apple rival Sony seems to be forced to acknowledge the power of the iPod. Its new TDM-iP1 is a stylish iPod dock that connects the music player to Sony Bravia home theater systems, allowing you to play both music and videos from your iPod. It connects to the theater system, and some audio receivers, via Digital Media ports. The dock is compatible with the iPod nano, the fourth and fifth generation iPods and the iPod mini. While your iPod is docked its battery also gets a recharge.

Singing in the shower: Tokyu Hands is serving up a different kind of addition to the iPod universe with a series of stylish raindrop-shaped speakers. Your iPod is put inside the mist-proof speakers, which can be hung inside the bathroom by their plastic straps. Available in orange, a bright acqua blue and the mandatory white, they offer yet another way of making use of Apple’s wundercreation.

R2D2 trash can: An icon from a very different universe is the R2D2 character of Star Wars fame. It might not be the most flattering tribute but the legendary droid has been copied — as a trash can. The 60-cm-high aluminum creation looks like a prop from the sci-fi movies but works just like any other foot-pedal operated cylindrical bin. It is available now in Japan with American fans having to wait until the summer. Online store Rakuten has it on sale for 13,380 yen. Not content with just this honor for R2D2, Rakuten is including Star Wars-themed cell phone straps with the trash bin. The straps have a choice of heads, including Darth Vader, Yoda, R2D2 and his robot buddy C3PO. Details are available at: item.rakuten.co.jp/keitai/272-192374/

Skype away: Maybe there is no such thing as a free lunch but at least the Internet is cutting the cost of telephoning. While Skype and its ilk still have a a way to go to make using their phones something akin to normal communication the technology is getting closer. Logitec has brought out its much-anticipated wireless Skype phone, the LAN-WSPH01WH. Decked out in white and with a 1.8-inch LCD, it looks like a candy-bar shaped cell phone. But it is a true Skype phone, working through a computer, but thanks to its wireless connectivity as long as your computer has a wireless card you can at least get away from the keyboard while making your calls. It also includes FON technology, which means users are part of the FON WiFi community and can have free wireless access whenever they can access the network of other FON members. Details are available at: www.logitec.co.jp/press/2007/0404_01.html

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