Before cell phones, the main options for on-the-go communication were two-way radios. You could hook up a citizens band radio in your car, or get a pair of portable walkie-talkies for short-range communication. Cell-phones expanded on this technology, to offer greater coverage, and duplex voice channels.
But even with the advent of cell phones, two-way radio is still a very popular communication tool. For certain applications, in fact, portable two-way radios have a number of advantages over cell phones.
Cobra Electronics manufactures a variety of radio communication products. At the Consumer Electronics Show, they showcased their microTALK™ line, an affordable collection that make use of the family radio service (FRS). The FRS is a section of the citizens band frequency range set aside in the United States and Canada for short-range radio communication. Anyone with an FRS radio can use this frequency range in these countries, at absolutely no cost. Cobra microTALK radios are an ideal way for families to keep in touch when they are less than a few miles away -- at the mall or amusement park, for example, or just around the neighborhood.
Since you don't need to subscribe to a service or pay for airtime to use them, FRS radios are much more economical than cell phones. Cobra's models are designed with the average consumer in mind -- the units are compact, affordable and easy to use. Cobra has also given special attention to the appearance of the radios. The new microTALK units feature removable SNAP™ faceplates in a variety of colors and designs.
Cobra also offers a variety of in-car CB radios. In addition to clear, two-way radio communication, the new 18 WX ST II Weatherband CB Radio features 10 channels of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather information. This gives travelers 24-hour, up-to-the-minute information about weather conditions in the surrounding area.
Cobra also includes 10 NOAA weather channels in their new radar detectors, along with highly-sensitive radar-sensing technology and additional hazard detection systems. The new Strobe Alert™ system warns drivers of any emergency vehicles at upcoming intersections, while the Safety Alert® system detects approaching trains, construction vehicles, utility trucks, buses, emergency vehicles and other potential driving hazards.
At the 2001 CES, Cobra also displayed their line of power inverters, compact devices that let you power alternating current electronics from your direct current car battery (via the lighter jack). Cobra's new High Gear™ power inverters boast a number of advanced features that make them ideal for powering advanced electronics such as laptop computers and DVD players. The Pentagon Protection™ system provides comprehensive protection against common power problems. The proprietary technology features thermal shutdown, reverse polarity protection, over-voltage shutdown, low-voltage shutdown and low-voltage alarm.