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Our journey through the land of blue and white polyester begins at level 1, with a single layer of fluffy blanket to sparkle through. On a cold winter’s night, one often prefers to keep the remote close at hand, under the covers.
[Insert screeching sound here.]
Hold everything! Nothing. Nada. Zip. To say that I was speechless is an understatement! I have yet to test a remote that was unable to get past level 1 from the standard testing distance. At 5 feet away and pointed directly at the receiver I was able get commands through the blanket, but anything further and there was nothing but silence from the amp. In all fairness, without the blanket I was able to get as far away as 25 feet, a far cry from 50, but control was exceedingly directional and the Nevo needed to be pointed exactly at what was being controlled. In normal use, from a normal distance, the Nevo should perform acceptably, but don’t plan on bouncing infrared off the walls like some other remotes can do.
UEI’s Nevo is indeed an interesting concept. First, it removes most of the hardware design responsibility from the remote manufacturer – they can merely piggyback onto someone else’s prepared product. Second, it’s being added to a much higher volume device. More color PDA’s are sold then dedicated color remotes, so UEI can get their Nevo technology on a better platform at a lower cost per unit. UEI even plans to licence Nevo onto other devices – such as wall display panels. Just think – soon your television could be controlling your... other television!
From a business application standpoint, the Nevo makes absolute sense. It can quickly control boardroom A/V systems where remotes are often broken or outright missing, ensuring that presentations go off without a hitch. It may even be useful in bars and restaurants when you want to clandestinely change the channel to watch something else!
Some things are done simply because they could be. That’s been the general marketplace reception of HPC or PDA-based remotes for some time now: a nice idea, but don’t expect miracles. UEI’s Nevo technology goes far beyond “frill”, but still comes across as a secondary function, added value. Despite having the ultimate in pre-designed hardware resources behind them, the Nevo is still too structured and rigid in its remote control capabilities to truly capture the high-end or “hard core” market segment. This limitation has been the burden of other remotes attempting to go up against well-seasoned and established products.
Choosing an activity's icon.
But unlike some of those earlier attempts, the Nevo is free to grow. If UEI can move beyond the “here’s how you’ll control your theater” notion and add further advanced layers of customization – “advanced functionality” needn’t equate with “difficult to program” – the Nevo really could become the next big thing. What other remote control can run Quake 2 or Rayman, browse the internet or balance your books?
As it stands today, Universal Electronic’s Nevo is simply another good reason to buy Compaq’s excellent iPAQ H3900 series. As the software matures, it just might become the primary reason for many people!
- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)