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Bluetooth Speakers Take On Old, New Shapes

5/05/2013 08:00:00 PM Eastern

NEW YORK — With their eyes on the sales trends, suppliers such as Digital Treasures, Eagle Tech, iHome, Kinivo, Satechi, Soundfreaq, and SuperTooth have launched new Bluetooth speakers in recent weeks.

The products come in retro boombox style, traditional speaker pairs, and in some unusual new shapes. Soundfreaq and iHome, for example, have launched Bluetooth speakers that look like 80s-style boomboxes. EagleTech and SuperTooth unveiled separate left-right speakers with Bluetooth. In contrast, Digital Treasures launched a portable mono Bluetooth speaker with suction-cup mount to attach to flat surfaces.

Here’s what the companies introduced:

Digital Treasures: The $49 mono Lyrix Duo is a palm-size mono speaker with suction cup that attaches to any flat surface, including a car window. Its removable Bluetooth receiver can be connected to any powered speaker or audio system via included auxiliary cable. The receiver, which features a power button and volume control, connects to the Duo via mini USB port.

The 3-watt Lyrix Duo, available in blue or red at digitaltreasures.com, features rechargeable battery with up to four hours of playback time.

EagleTech USA: The $99-suggested Arion ETAR204B Bluetooth 3.0 speaker system consists of separate left-right two-way speakers that connect to each other via speaker cables, but only one speaker needs to be plugged into AC. That speaker incorporates 2x10- watt RMS amp and bass, treble and volume controls.

The wall-mountable speakers are 4.6 inches by 6.1 inches by 11.1 inches and deliver 80Hz-20kHz frequency response through 3-inch woofers and 1-inch tweeters. It also comes with 3.5mm aux input.

iHome: The company added four new models to its selection of AC/DC Bluetooth speakers with rubberized chassis. Two models feature boombox styling.

The four models include the $39 iBT16 Bluetooth Rechargeable Mini Speaker Cube, a mono speaker with rechargeable lithium-ion battery, USB charging port, aux input, and line-out jack to daisychain models to create a “wall of sound.” It’s available in five colors.

The iBT24 Bluetooth Rechargeable Stereo Mini Speaker at $69 adds a second speaker for stereo reproduction and SRS TruBass circuitry to enhance bass response. An aux line-out jack lets users connect multiple models together. It comes in grey, purple and green.

At $99, iHome added the iBT4 Bluetooth Wireless Rechargeable Boombox with FM. The single-driver model adds a handle, more wattage, included universal AC adapter, and digital-tuning FM radio with telescoping antenna. It also offers SRS TruBass and aux in, and its internal lithium-ion battery operates for up to 7 hours. It’s available in grey, green, purple and white.

iHome plans shipments this month of the $199 iBT44 Bluetooth Portable FM Stereo Boombox with USB Charging. The flagship of the rubberized Bluetooth lineup also features a handle and universal AC adapter but adds color-matched shoulder strap, USB port to charge mobile devices when connected to AC, two 4-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters, 5-band graphic equalizer, a front niche to hold a smartphone, magnetized remote control, and compatibility with the iHome + Radio app to access thousands of internet radio stations. It runs on six D batteries. It will be available in grey or deep purple.

Kinivo: The $59 BTX450 Bluetooth speaker features 3.5mm aux in, rechargeable battery with five to six hours of playback time, and USB charging port. It is 12 inches by 3 inches by 4 inches.

Satechi: The $49 BT Touch Speaker is a portable 2x2.5-watt stereo speaker with integrated mic to turn it into a hands-free speakerphone. The glossy-black speaker features blue LED touch buttons, rechargeable lithium ion battery, and 3.5mm aux in.

Soundfreaq: The $350 limited-edition Boom Freaq looks like an old-fashioned boombox but is equipped with iPod/iPhone dock and stereo Bluetooth. The device is a redesigned version of the company’s existing Sound Stack and was designed in collaboration with husband-and-wife design team Robert and Cortney Novogratz. It’s available at the company’s web site, soundfreaq.com.

It comes with 30-pin iPod/iPhone dock, but the company includes a Lightning-pin adapter.

SuperTooth: The Paris-based company launched the Disco Twin speaker pair at $199/pair and the $99 mono Disco 2 Colors with aptX through SuperToothStore.com. Both feature rechargeable batteries.

The Disco Twin consists of two vertically oriented 16- watt RMS speakers, each equipped with amp and Bluetooth to make a wired connection unnecessary between the two speakers.

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