By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Las Vegas – Harman came to International CES to “resuscitate” the Infinity audio brand through the brand’s first major product launch since 2008 and through a five-year partnership with rock band Linkin Park, Harman global brand marketing VP Sean Kapoor told TWICE.
The company also plans to step up Infinity’s marketing efforts with a new social-media campaign now underway and with digital and print media starting in March and April, he said.
At a 15,000-square-foot Harman exhibit at the Hard Rock, the company launched a revamped Infinity Reference series of in-room speakers and the brand’s first portable wireless speaker. Harman also announced deals to bring Infinity-branded audio systems to more Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
As part of a five-year partnership that includes a private concert on Jan.9 at the Hard Rock, Linkin Park will not only serve as brand ambassador for Infinity but also collaborate on product development and design, Kapoor said. Infinity’s first portable wireless speaker, which incorporates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, was co-developed with Linkin Park, which designs its own album covers, and Harman is considering the band’s input in “every single growth category,” Kapoor said. The partnership might yield Linkin Park-branded products, he noted.
The brand-band partnership will also give Infinity the opportunity to tap into Linkin Park’s extensive social-media outreach, which includes 58 million likes on Facebook. The Infinity brand will also be “front and center” at the band’s concerts, Kapoor said.
The Infinity brand has been “dormant” for years because Harman focused initially on reinvigorating the JBL and Harman Kardon audio brands, Kapoor said. The Infinity product went “stale” during that time, he added.
Plans for a reinvigorated Infinity include distribution of portable speakers through retail channels broader than those of Infinity’s component-speaker channels, which consist of A/V specialists, regional electronics and regional electronics/appliance chains, and Best Buy, said Kapoor. For portable speakers, Infinity will also target such national chains as RadioShack and Target as well as wireless-carrier chains, he said.
In product categories, Infinity plans to venture beyond component home speakers and portable wireless speakers and is looking at soundbars “down the road,” Kapoor added.
The brand’s first portable wireless speaker is the Infinity One. It incorporates Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, AirPlay, AirPlay Direct, DLNA, and nearfield communications (NFC). AirPlay works over a home Wi-Fi network or, if no home network is available, via AirPlay Direct for peer-to-peer transmission. DLNA is configured to connect the speakers via Wi-Fi Direct to DLNA-enabled mobile devices. The speaker also charges phones and tablets on the go and features four active drivers and two passive radiators.
The revamped Reference series of in-room speakers consists of two floorstanding speakers, two bookshelf speakers, two center-channel models, a surround speaker, and two wireless powered subwoofers.
The new Reference series new cone materials and other changes to improve performance, Kapoor said.
All products’ pricing and ship dates weren’t released.
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