Minnetonka, Minn. - Privately
held startup Navvo Group, led by former Best Buy executive Wade Fenn, launched
a do-it-yourself wireless multiroom, multizone audio system that uses Android
tablets and smartphones as system controllers.
Unlike other wireless
multiroom-audio systems, Navvo's Voco system
also offers voice control of song selection. To select songs, users speak into
an Android device loaded with a free Navvo-provided app downloaded from the
Android Market. The app uses Navvo's own voice-control technology, not an Android phone's
Google-supplied voice recognition software, to deliver a more integrated
experience, said Tom Gotuzzo, senior VP of sales and marketing.
The app also lets users select
songs via an Android device's touchscreen.
With a Voco system, up to 10
different sources or songs can be streamed simultaneously around the house via
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ from multiple networked PCs, multiple network attached
storage (NAS) drives, and from the Android device itself to up to 10 Voco
V-Zone players, which are priced at a suggested $199. A single song can also be
transmitted to all V-Zone players in the house.
The players connect to a home's
existing audio and home theater systems via HDMI, optical digital cable, and
analog RCA cables.
Additional music sources can
include USB sticks, USB-connected iPods other than the iPod Touch and iPhone,
other-brand USB-connected MP3 players plugged directly into a V-Zone player.
Sources also include more than 50,000 free Internet radio stations and podcasts
streamed by the Android device through the Navvo-provided app.
Via touchscreen or voice, the app
lets users search for music stored on a selected source by title, artist or
genre. If users search multiple sources in sequence for a particular artist but
come up short, the app lets users search for Internet radio stations with a
high propensity for playing that artist, said Gotuzzo. In some cases, the app
will find a station currently playing that artist, he noted.
Multiple Android devices can be
used simultaneously as controllers in a house to direct different songs to
For use as music sources,
networked PCs and NAS drives must be loaded with Voco software.
Voco V-Zone players are already
available through select RadioShack stores, www.radioshack.com,
Amazon, www.myvoco.com, and wireless
stores specializing in Verizon Wireless service, said Gotuzzo. In wireless
stores, where Navvo offers demonstration models, salespeople can use V Zone to
step customers up to Android phones, Gotuzzo said.
Future Voco products include a
V-Zone player with built-in speakers.