By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEW YORK — Wireless is wending its way into the audio mainstream in a variety of configurations ranging from portable Bluetooth speakers to products that integrate tablet and smartphone audio wirelessly into multi-room-audio systems.
Recent announcements include one from Control4, which said it is turning smartphones and tablets into wireless whole-home music sources for use with its home-automation systems for the first time. Control4’s Wireless Music Bridge, shipping at an introductory suggested retail of $300, incorporates AirPlay, DLNA, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to stream music wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet to its multi-room-audio systems.
With a single Bridge, users can stream the same song from one mobile device to all zones at a time in a multizone audio system or to only one zone at a time. To distribute music from two or more mobile devices at a time, consumers would have to install two or more Bridges.
For its part, high-end component-audio supplier Cambridge Audio continued its diversification into tabletop digital- media speakers with the launch of its first Bluetooth-only speaker, a $149 portable AC/DC model.
Cambridge’s compact two-way Minx Go features 18-hour lithium-ion battery that recharges in two hours.
Another portable Bluetooth speaker is iLuv’s $199-suggested MobiAria, which features nearfield communications (NFC) technology for tap-to-pair functionality.
Separately, NuVo tightened the integration of its wireless multi-room audio system with third-party home-control systems by releasing an API that lets dealers set up their home-automation control programs to operate the functions of NuVo’s Wireless Audio System.
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