By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Belkin Licenses Lego For Cases
PLAYA VISTA, CALIF. — Belkin announced a multi-year licensing partnership with The Lego Group to create Lego-inspired cases for mobile devices.
Starting this spring, Belkin will launch a variety of smartphone cases with incorporated Lego building bricks that offer “a unique ‘buildable’ case experience,” a Belkin spokesman said. The initial product line will focus on iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPod Touch, with plans to expand to other platforms over the course of the partnership.
“The Lego company is a renowned global brand, synonymous with quality, design and, most importantly, fun,” said Patrick Sullivan, product management director at Belkin. “This partnership opens up a whole new audience for Belkin, and we are extremely excited to work together on a line of cases based on iconic Lego toys that will inspire creativity and promote individuality in people of all ages.”
Beats Sues Yamaha Over Headphone Design, Patents
LOS ANGELES – Beats Electronics filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that three Yamaha Pro series headphones infringe on the company’s trade dress and two patents.
Beats said it had notified Yamaha Corp. of America (YCA) that the Pro headphones violated its patents and trade dress but said Yamaha continued to manufacture and sell the infringing models.
“A side-by-side comparison of the infringing headphones and an exemplary Beats headphone evidences the confusing similarity between defendant’s headphones and the Beats products,” the lawsuit said. Yamaha ads, “which include references to either Beats or Dr. Dre and have been displayed by defendant or its affiliate, further show defendant’s intention to copy the distinctive design of Beats’ headphones and/or its intention to trade off of the goodwill associated with Beats’ product appearance,” Beats said in the lawsuit.
Beats wants a permanent injunction banning the sale of the headphones and damages.
Tom Sumner, YCA senior VP, said it was too early to comment about the suit because the company was served with the suit on Feb. 7 and has just turned the suit over to Yamaha Corp. of Japan, which is responsible for Yamaha’s intellectual property.
That property includes “the iconic Yamaha tuning fork logo, which is prominently displayed on the Pro-series headphones,” he said. Yamaha began using the tuning fork as our corporate mark in 1898, he noted.
The three Pro-series headphones were launched last August at a suggested $199, $299 and $399.
In October 2011, Beats settled a design-patent case that it brought against Fanny Wang over that company’s headphones.
Kensington Bows iPad Keyboard Cover
SAN FRANCISCO — Kensington announced the first model in a new family of hard-shell tablet cases to be released this year, the Kensington Key Cover Hard Shell Keyboard for iPad.
The case is designed for second through fourth-generation iPads and features an anodized soft-touch finish that resists fingerprints and smudges. The removable Bluetooth tactile keyboard is optimized for touch-typists, the company said. The KeyCover also acts a stand in both portrait and landscape modes.
Other features include rubber feet for stability, and automatic wake and sleep modes when the KeyCover is opened or closed. A pop-up stand supports the tablet in typing mode, and the case offers easy access to ports, speakers, and the front and back cameras.
The rechargeable keyboard has a 120-hour working battery life with 200 days of standby time.
The product is available now for preorder online at Kensington.com and Amazon.com.
Premier Debuts Mount Cart For XL Displays
FULLERTON, CALIF. — Premier Mounts has introduced a mounting cart with an included 360-degree rotating AM500 mega mount for extralarge displays 103 inches and larger and weighing up to 500 pounds.
Premier plans to showcase the PMC-MM-502 mobile mounting system at the Digital Signage Expo (DSE) in Las Vegas this month, where it will mount a 103-inch Panasonic display to show off the mount’s ability to go from landscape to portrait orientation or lock in at any angle the user chooses. The mount also features positive and negative tilt adjustment.
The cart sits on heavy-duty casters that provide swift maneuvering and precise placement, the company said, recommending it for rental and staging, hospitality, education and trade show utilization.
The PMC-MM-502 also provides storage for A/V or IT equipment with the solid bottom skirt and tray. Other mounting brackets are available for different-sized displays.
VXi Ships Xpressway II
DOVER, N.H. — VXi has begun shipping the newest Bluetooth headset in its BlueParrott line: the Xpressway II.
The $119 headset, which was first introduced at International CES in January, offers a variety of wearing configurations: over the ear using an ear hook, over the head, and behind the neck. It uses the company’s Xtreme Noise Suppression technology to reduce ambient noise by 94 percent, according to the company, and features A2DP support.
Specs include a 15.9mm speaker, voice prompts, on-device controls and three choices of ear cushions. Talk time is listed at seven hours.
Jabra’s Motion Headset Employs Sensors For UC Workers
NASHUA, N.H. — Jabra took the wraps of its next Bluetooth headset, the Motion, mean for use in unified communication (UC) environments.
The device features motion sensors that let users answer calls by picking up the headset, adjust the volume while walking using intelligent noise control, and turn it off by placing it down. It has a foldable boom, behind-the-ear design and nearfield communications (NFC) pairing. The speaker can be rotated for left- or right-ear wearing, and three sizes of ear gels are included.
Talk time will be up to seven hours, with standby time up to 15 days. Other features include spoken caller announcement, “busylight” indicator to avoid interruptions, mute button, Jabra’s Noise Blackout 3.0 technology, digital signal processing and a USB adapter.
Jabra has partnered with Microsoft for its Lync UC platform. Giovanni Mezgec, general manager for Lync product marketing at Microsoft said of the Motion: “We are pleased to have Jabra onboard with the Jabra Motion for the new Microsoft Lync 2013. Jabra’s long history in UC and their knowledge about audio perfection and innovative design will add value to the end-user experience of Lync customers.”
Pricing wasn’t given.
Andrus Steps Down As Skullcandy CEO
PARK CITY, UTAH — Headphones manufacturer Skullcandy announced that Jeremy Andrus is stepping down as president and CEO. Company founder Rick Alden has returned as interim CEO.
Alden was CEO until he resigned in 2011. He has since remained on the board of directors.
Andrus is stepping down to join a private investment firm. He will serve as a consultant to the company for the next 12 months.
In a statement, Alden said: “I am honored to play this role in the next chapter at Skullcandy. This company has been my life since founding it and I’m excited to come back in as we enter our second decade. I could not be more fired up to jump back in and get my hands dirty, especially around product development and geographic expansion.”
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.