TWICE: What is the market potential for tabletop
speakers equipped with stereo Bluetooth now that
most smartphones incorporate the technology?
Schoenberg: This may be one of most important
changes to monitor in 2012. However, Bluetooth drawbacks
are limited range of about 30 feet, the inability to
stream video, and some limitation of sound quality.
Wilson: Our view is that we must provide consumers
with an array of connectivity options, including
docking, single point-to-point wireless (like Bluetooth),
single stream multi-room wireless audio, and full multistream
multi-zone network flexibility. It must also be realized
that the docking consumer is now not only an
iOS user. Once an Android or other Bluetooth-enableddevice
user finds the possibilities with this technology,
we expect to see even more adoption.
Tabletop Bluetooth speakers will be an important
component of this category going forward. Consumers
are less willing to hard dock an iPhone/iPad than
an iPod, but they still need great sound. Their phone is
usually in their pockets, while iPads tend to live on coffee
tables and consumers’ laps.
Carpenter: Bluetooth wireless speakers have seen
dramatic growth in the past year (+392 percent), but
the segment remains small at 10 percent of the overall
dock market. We anticipate this segment will continue
to grow as consumers are looking for more freedom.
An expected Android upgrade allowing the audio
signal to pass through the mobile device MicroUSB
charging connector could limit the need for Bluetooth
connectivity as newer Android devices could dock, play
and charge just as Apple products do.