Initially announced during SEMA 2008 in November and soon to be demonstrated at CES 2009, Cobra has developed new GPS-enabled radar detectors which sport smaller packaging and promise higher levels of performance with the incorporation of their proprietary Aura camera database.
I hope that what comes, naturally, from competition will both drive Cobra to better their detectors, in terms of detection/performance, and, at the same time, also drive Bel/Escort and Valentine Research to better their detectors, in terms of display/human-interface.
I continue to be dismayed at the slim margin of pricing difference between the second-tier Bel/Escort products and the Cobra detectors - but the wide margin in performance (favoring the former) and the human-interface/display/ancillary features (favoring the latter).
It's almost as-if the different makers agreed to try to market their products towards differing individuals, while refusing to recognize that, just perhaps, if they could take some lessons from the other maker, not only would their product be better, but it would also undoubtedly broaden their overall market-appeal.
In a day where even previous-generation automotive-accessory's (at oftentimes < $50, retail, new - look at the various sat-radio receivers) displays can be configured for multitudes of display preferences and options, I remain completely baffled as to why a $400 to $500 radar detector is stuck with LED/LCD displays that offer minimal to no customization and "bare-bones" informational display. With Cobra's use of OLEDs, they've virtually left the other detector-makers far-behind in this respect, and I hope that those makers are listening-in, and taking notes.
In an age where even the most common and low-priced of electronic devices can easily be customized for end-user preferences, why can't our top-flight detectors?
At the same time, I hope the engineers at Cobra continue to make improvements in the detection-capability of their various models, too. Certainly, a fancy display and a multitude of features will impress the common mall-shopper or non-hobbyist/enthusiast gift-buyer, but without at least class-comparable performance to at least the second-tier units (which are often price-comparable, for the Cobra detectors), demonstrated via trusted independent hobbyist/hobbyist-group testing (i.e. the Guys of LIDAR), it's going to be nearly impossible for the products to penetrate the enthusiast/hobbyist base, and without such word-of-mouth (or keyboard) recommendations, in today's Internet-Forum-driven "research" world, sales may not be as-predicted.