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CES 2013: Cobra adds to iRadar lineup and more

Radar detector manufacturer Cobra is back at CES again this year, and the company is showing off two new additions to its smartphone-powered lineup. The iRadar S-Series is the new high-end model -- it's available right now in Europe, but won't be here in the States until around August. Unlike most of Cobra's other models, the S-Series is designed to be installed in your car under the hood, with the only interface on it being through the iPhone app via Bluetooth. That explains the higher price of US$299 as well: since it needs to be installed under the hood, this is a more premium model than your standard "stick-it-on-the-dash" radar detector.

The iRadar Atom is the other new model -- it'll be out in May at a lower price of $199. This is a more traditional radar detector, but with some nicely updated stats: the device itself is about 30 percent smaller than the previous iRadar models, and the performance has been doubled. Both of these iRadar units work together with the company's app, which has reached 1 million downloads so far.

The app itself has gotten some updates over the past year, and now has some mapping features included, though the maps used are just whatever's native on the platform (so Apple's Maps for iOS and Google Maps for Android) rather than any other third-party system. Cobra is also working with JVC to provide another head unit option for the iRadar line, and the company also told us that it was "talking to a bunch of companies" about possibly making the iRadar's output available to other app developers via licensing or an API.

Outside of the iRadar line, Cobra was also showing off two brand-new devices that connect up to smartphones like the iPhone. The Cobra Airwave is a Bluetooth music bridge unit that will be available in February for $39.95, and will work (in a car or at home) to connect up streaming music from your iPhone to any speakers you want to connect it to. The unit is relatively simple, but Cobra sees it as a test balloon in the home audio market, and hopes to have other similar kinds of devices along this line available soon.

Finally, the Cobra Gatekeeper is another test balloon of sorts -- it's a Bluetooth-enabled garage door opener that's designed to plug into your current garage door opening system. All you'll need to do is snap the Gatekeeper into the wires coming out of your garage door opening switch, and then you can activate the door opener directly from your iPhone whenever it comes into Bluetooth range. The included app can also be set to send out notifications whenever the door is opened -- if, for example, you want to be notified when another family member arrives home. The Gatekeeper will be available later this year for $59, and Cobra is hoping it's the beginning of a brand-new line for them. "We want to get into home automation," the company's rep told us, so the Gatekeeper may be only the beginning of a much bigger push for Cobra in 2013.

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