Great Days for Audio
• Altec Lansing has expanded its successful rugged/waterproof speaker line from two to six SKUs. The iMW576 BoomJacket Bluetooth speaker, one of the new models, is IPX67-rated waterproof/dust-proof/shock-resistant, and provides up to 40 hours of battery life before needing recharging; it also serves as a power supply when needed for a smartphone. It also has a built-in mic for when it’s used as a speakerphone, and has a talking battery charge indicator ($199; April availability).
• A good deal of the action at the Sound United booth, housing both the Definitive Technology and Polk Audio brands, was around headphone demos. The Definitive Symphony 1 “executive” Bluetooth headphones ($399)—the brand’s first-ever headphones—feature active noise cancellation. They are of an over-ear seal, closed-back design, and house four dedicated noise-cancellation microphones and 50mm drivers. A built-in D/A converter, tactile on-ear controls for adjustment of all primary functions, and two built-in mics complete the package. On the Polk Audio side of the booth was shown the Hinge Bluetooth wireless line of on-ear headphones ($199.95 each) in multiple color choices. They feature NFC one-touch pairing technology and 12-hour battery life, along with Polk’s Sound Clear technology.
• The iHome brand, marketed by SDI, is one of the top four Bluetooth speaker brands in the U.S. market and is No. 1 in Bluetooth clock radios, said the company’s Evan Stein at the private CES booth where a wide selection of new Bluetooth-connected products with unique features and form factors was on display. Among the new products is the rechargeable Sound Flask (iBT12 and iBT32; $49.99 and $99.99); it has a host of speakerphone features including built-in mic and ATI SoundClear voice echo cancellation; it comes with a leather-style case with a carabiner clip that can attach to a backpack. Also new: the Kineta series Model iKN105 Bluetooth clock radio featuring a pop-out cylindrical battery ($99.99) which doubles as a smartphone charger; the Model iBT74 decorative-candle-shaped color-changing Bluetooth speaker system ($59.99); and the Model iBT11 Split portable surround Bluetooth speaker system with charging cradle ($99.99) that can be split in two for wireless stereo sound. The company is also releasing its SmartPlug series Wi-Fi-enabled wall plugs that allow control of home electronics including lights, fans, heaters and home audio systems; they are compatible with Apple’s HomeKit and Siri.
• 808 Audio fielded some new SKUs in both its headphone and wireless speaker lines. The NRG Glo wireless Bluetooth can-shaped speaker features a multi-color light that pulsates with the music playing and can be set to different modes or moods. ($59; March availability). It is powered by a 12-hour rechargeable battery. Also able to play non-stop on a 12-hour charge is the 808 Audio HEX XS pocket-size wireless Bluetooth speaker, ($59.99) with stereo sound and an enhanced bass radiator. Simplified, one-button operation controls all key functions such as power on/off and device pairing. n