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Altec Continues AC-Only Speaker-Dock Expansion

9/15/2010 09:05:00 AM Eastern

Milford, Pa. - Altec-Lansing is continuing to expand
its selection of AC-only docking-speaker systems, and it's stepping up its
headphone selection with a $99 model.

The
company previously cited faster growth in sales of
AC-only docking speakers compared to AC/DC sales as one of the key reasons for its
increased emphasis on AC-only models, which carry the Octiv name.

The
new docking speaker, the $99-suggested Octiv Duo, is the company's first
dual-docking speaker system, which targets the growing number of households
with more than one iPod.

Altec
cited a May 2010 CEA study showing that household
penetration of MP3 players is almost flat at 48 percent in 2010 versus last
year's 47 percent but that the average number of units per household rose from 1.9 devices in 2009 to 2.2 devices in 2010.

The study also found that purchase intent
for docking stations is up by 7 percentage points in 2010 and that 18 percent
of households are planning to buy docks in a year's time. In addition, 82
percent of MP3 players sold will be to repeat purchasers, as will 56 percent of
dock purchases.

Because
the growing number of multi-iPod households also own cellphones and other
portable devices, Altec's Duo features a USB port to charge USB-equipped
portable devices, turning it into an audio/charging station, said product
manager Steve Schlangen. It also features a 3.5mm analog aux input to play
music from other-brand MP3 players.

The
Duo is wedge-shaped with curved baffle for unobtrusive placement on kitchen
counters and nightstands, Schlangen said. It features two 2-inch full-range
drivers and two front-firing ports to deliver about 95dB of output at 1 watt/1
meter. A disc-shaped IR remote, which can be stored in the dock's rear,
controls the dock, iPod menus, and an iPhone/iPod Touch mixer app that lets
users set the percentage of songs they want to hear in shuffle mode from one or
both docked iPods. The free app also displays the charging state of both docked
iPods. The app needs to be installed on only one iPhone or Touch to function
with two docked devices, enabling iPod Classics and Nanos to benefit even
though they lack touchscreens or ability to download apps.

The
Duo also works with the company's free alarm-clock app, launched initially for
the Octiv Mini.

The
Duo became available today (Sept. 15) in stores.

In
headphones, the company is entering the premium segment with a $99 in-ear
noise-isolating headphone that's certified as Made for iPod and iPhone. The
company's previous top-end price point was $49, and the market there and below
is saturated, Schlangen said.

The
MZX606 headphones, due in time for the holiday season, come with in-line
hands-free microphone for iPhone use and in-line controls to control the track
up/down, pause and volume functions of an iPod and iPhone. The 3.5 mm plug also
connects to other brands of MP3 players but won't control their functions.