The Laral Group of Farmingdale, N.Y., has recently dropped its licensing agreement with Nintendo for computer gaming accessories and is changing the direction of the company to focus on its Unwired brand.
"We have given back the Nintendo license for computer peripherals," said president Larry Richenstein. "Even though the products got good reviews, we found that the Nintendo brand didn't carry the clout we hoped it would in the computer area."
At the moment, the company's Unwired line includes a variety of wireless IR headphones for multimedia and audio/video use, and it is working on a new virtual surround-sound model slated for summer introduction. Richenstein expects it to sell for about $299.
The new headphones are designed to replace a six-speaker surround system, he said, noting that "there's always a question about where the sweet spot is, but with headphones you are always there."
For the future, Richenstein's goal is to continue building the wireless headphone category and to build up market share for the Unwired brand in a variety of categories.
Laral is moving into the automotive A/V market, for example, with wireless headphones for video systems in vans and sports utility vehicles.
The company is also entering the FRS radio market with a 14-channel model expected to retail for $79.99 and a step-up model at about $100 for the pair. It plans to have eight models in FRS by October.
Richenstein also said he is planning to take the Unwired name into wireless game controllers. The company recently announced a wireless controller for PlayStation at $49.99 with the receiver and $29.99 separately.
"While we are a proponent of IR in headphones in audio, 900MHz makes more sense for game controllers because players move around and it allows you to be far enough away," said Richenstein.