By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Manchester, U.K. – U.K. audio supplier AQ Audio has turned up in the U.S. with portable wireless speakers that stream music via Wi-Fi from PCs and from Android and Apple devices.
Unlike most other AirPlay- and network-enabled speakers, the AQ Audio SmartSpeaker also streams music directly from mobile devices via Wi-Fi when outside a home’s Wi-Fi network.
The speaker is priced at $179 each, $349 for two, and $675 for four at www.aqaudio.com and Amazon. It is the company’s first consumer product, which joins AQ Audio’s PA speakers.
Each AC/DC speaker, which measures 9.65 by 5.3 by 4.3 inches, can be set to run in mono or as part of a left-right stereo pair.
Over a home’s Wi-Fi network, the speakers incorporate Apple AirPlay to stream music stored on Apple’s mobile devices and on iTunes-equipped PCs. Outside a home network, consumers can use wireless AirPlay capability via the speakers’ AQ Direct mode. AQ Direct’s range is up to 50 meters.
The speakers also feature DLNA to stream music stored on an Android phone via a home’s Wi-Fi network, and with a free app due in about two weeks, the phones will be able to use AQ Direct to transmit stored music directly to the speakers.
To stream music from a PC’s iTunes player over a home Wi-Fi network, the speakers use AirPlay. To stream music from a PC’s Windows Media Player, the speakers are compatible with the Play To feature of PCs equipped with Windows 7 and above.
The speakers also stream all AirPlay-enabled music-streaming apps residing on Apple’s mobile devices, and the company’s planned Android app will enable playback of Android-based music-streaming apps, a customer service rep said.
To remotely control the selection of PC-stored music, users of Android phones can use AQ’s planned Android app on their smartphone, and Apple-device users can use the Apple Remote app on their iPhone. Users can control volume, track up/down, pause, stop, fast forward, and rewind.
The speakers also play back music-streaming services from networked PCs.
Each speaker features two flat-panel drivers, 13-watt RMS output, 87 dB output, and frequency response of 90Hz to 20kHz, the customer service rep said. Their rechargeable batteries deliver up to 10 hours of playback time. An auto power down function further increases battery life by powering down the unit after 10 minutes of non-use when the speaker is running off of its battery.
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