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AirPlay, Bluetooth Speaker Choices Blossom

1/10/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — Traditional iPod/iPhone docking speakers
are mingling with a greater selection of AirPlay-equipped
speakers and stereo Bluetooth speakers to drive up sales
of speakers designed exclusively to reproduce music
stored on mobile devices.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find:

Acoustic Research: The brand’s first AirPlay speaker
is the Acoustic Research AirPlay Audio System (ARAP50),
due in the spring at a suggested $199. It features built-in
Wi-Fi, 2x10-watt amplification, and a USB port that enables
users to connect their Apple device via cable to the
speaker, which will then charge the connected device and
capture its music in digital PCM form for playback.

The brand’s new outdoor portable Bluetooth wireless
speaker (AWSBT1) is due in the spring at a suggested
$129.

Coby: The company is expanding its docking speaker
line with seven new units, including its first iPad docks
and first Bluetooth speaker system.

Three iPad docks include one with motorized mechanism
to display a docked iPad in portrait or landscape
mode. That model, the CSMP185 iPad/iPhone/iPod dock,
features full-range stereo speakers, 20-watt total output,
adjustable ambient lighting, 3.5mm jack, and full-function
remote. Price and ship date were unavailable.

A second iPad/iPhone/iPod dock is the CSMP130 with
2.1-channel speaker system, 3.5mm audio line-in jack,
and full-function remote control. Additional details were
unavailable.

A third iPad speaker dock doesn’t hard-dock with any
Apple mobile device’s 30-pin connector, but it connects
to any stereo Bluetooth device, such as an iPad, which
the dock is designed to hold. This speaker, the CSMP135
Bluetooth iPad docking system, is a compact AC/DC
model with rechargeable battery and 3.5mm stereo line-in
jack. It lacks a USB port for charging mobile devices.

Prices and ship dates were unavailable.

Two new iPod/iPhone speaker systems are also on display
along with an iPod/iPhone-docking AC/DC boombox.
Details were unavailable.

Ecko Unlimited: The $159-suggested Spray Bluetooth
speaker joins the mobile audio line of the CE brand
inspired by fashion designer Marc Ecko. The speaker also
doubles as a Bluetooth hands-free speaker phone with
built-in microphone.
Shipments start in March from Mizco International.

Edifier: The Chinese company’s latest Bluetooth
speaker system, the $349 Spinnaker, is the company’s
most expensive Bluetooth speaker to date. It consists of
two speakers in tusk-shaped enclosures, each 15-inchestall,
designed to project sound towards the listener. Each
enclosure features front-facing tweeter and mid-range
drivers and a downward-firing woofer.

Energy: A portable Bluetooth speaker from the Klipschowned
brand operates on four AA batteries and incorporates
built-in echo-cancelling microphone for improved
hands-free phone calling. For phone calls, the device features
on-button pickup or reject-call function.

A circular button layout on the front features controls
for volume up/down, track forward and back, and play/
pause, which also accepts calls. Other features include
3.5mm input, power button on back, and universal 100-
240 AC power supply. The target ship date is the spring.
Pricing was unavailable.

Haier: The company’s ViewHD is an iPad-docking
speaker system with HDMI output to display photos and
unprotected HD video to a connected TV. The $99-suggested
speaker rotates the iPad into portrait and landscape
modes. It also incorporates FM tuner that can be
controlled form a free app downloaded from iTunes.

Eton: The company’s first Bluetooth wireless speaker,
the Rukus Solar, is a portable AC/DC model that uses
solar power to charge its internal lithium-ion battery. The
speaker also features an e-INK display, allowing a user
to view battery charge, solar charge and Bluetooth connectivity
information with a 180-degree viewing angle
in direct sunlight. Via a USB cable, the system charges
most portable music players and smartphone. It ships in
the second quarter at a price that was unavailable.

House of Marley: A trio of high-performance tabletop
iPod/iPhone/iPad docking speakers ships in the first
quarter following the display of early prototypes at the
2011 CES.

All are two-way single-chassis stereo systems, including
the $599-suggested One Foundation with 5.25-inch
woofers, 1-inch tweeters, DSP and IR remote with wood
finish. It ships sometime in the first quarter

The $299 Get Up Stand, shipping in January, features
4.5-inch woofers, 1-inch tweeters, and aux in. The $349
AC/DC Bag Of Rhythm, also shipping in January, features
4.5-inch woofers and 1-inch tweeters in coaxial configuration.

Memorex: Three new iPod/iPhone-docking AC/DC
portable speakers include one travel model, the folding
$59-suggested MA3122 for use as an alarm clock with a
Memorex app. It uses four AAA batteries and is available in
four colors.

The other two models are designed for on-the-go use
and feature built-in handles. They are $69-suggested
MA7221 and $59 MA2213, both running on four AA batteries.
All will be available at retail in March.

Monster: The company is launching its ClarityHD
Model One iPod/iPhone speaker in two new colors:
dark bronze and silver. The $749-suggested Claritysub-
branded product, already available in automotivegrade
gloss red and yellow, is a bookshelf-size two-way
speaker that accepts an optional $99-suggested stereo
Bluetooth receiver called Streamcast. It also accepts a
Streamcast HD receiver that’s part of a $189-suggested
transmitter/receiver kit, which turns a PC into a 12-zone
wireless audio system that streams up to four different
songs at a time throughout the house.

Polk Audio: The company is launching the latest iteration
of its i-Sonic one-piece tabletop audio system
as part of a renewed effort to offer personal audio products.
(See p. 8.)

Pure Audio: The company’s first AirPlay-equipped
speaker is the Contour 200i, which features Ethernet
port, embedded Wi-Fi and an embedded dock to play
and charge iPods, iPhones and iPads. The dock captures
audio from the devices in digital PCM form.

At a tentative suggested $329, it has 36-watt RMS
output, digital coaxial audio output for connection to an
A/V system, free iPod and iPhone apps to access Internet
radio content, Ethernet port, aux input, multi-color display
and credit-card remote to control Apple-device functions.

Sharp: The company is launching its first microsystems with Apple AirPlay, Wi-Fi Direct to stream
music from DLNA-equipped mobile devices,
and iPad-compatible USB ports. (See p. 17.)

Soundfreaq: The startup supplier of docking
tabletop speakers is launching red and white versions
of its $159-suggested AC/DC Sound Step
Recharge, an iPad/iPhone/iPod-docking portable
speaker system. They ship in the first quarter.

Westinghouse: The TV supplier’s first Bluetooth
speakers include the $99 WSB-N20B
Bluetooth soundbar and $129 WSB-N20BWseries
wireless Bluetooth soundbar. They will
ship in January.

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