Forget Web service orchestration: IBM is getting into something a lot more fun. The company has worked with Japanese karaoke equipment maker Xing to develop a new type of wireless karaoke controller.
People in bars and restaurants can use the controller to scroll through thousands of songs listed by artist, song or category, and choose the one they want by touching the screen, IBM said. The device sends the information over a Wi-Fi network to Xing's "karaoke command center," which cues up the song.
Most karaoke systems today require people to leaf through a big catalog of songs and then type a corresponding number into a device. That can be difficult in a dark and crowded bar, especially after a second drink.
The new controller comes in two models: the Kyoku-NAVI II and Kyoku-NAVI S. It is shock-proof and water-resistant, and can also be used to place food and drink orders. They'll be on sale in Japan starting in early November, IBM said. Pricing hasn't been announced.
IBM has worked with Xing (pronounced ex-sing) on karaoke products for about two years, and this is the second set of controllers they've designed together, said June Namioka, an IBM spokeswoman in Japan.
Xing approached IBM for the joint project because it has a long history designing portable products in Japan, including its ThinkPad notebooks, now owned by Lenovo, Namioka said.
The storage and search capabilities come from IBM's DB2 Everyplace, a version of its database designed to be embedded in devices. The controllers are for use with two new Karaoke centers announced by Xing last month.
Xing, a subsidiary of Brother Industries, has no plans to sell the devices outside of Japan, Namioka said.
They will be sold by Xing, and not by IBM, she emphasized.
"We're not getting into the karaoke market."