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What's New In Bluetooth Speakers

1/06/2014 07:00:00 PM Eastern

LAS VEGAS – Audio suppliers aren’t singing the Bluetooth blues just yet, as evidenced by the outpouring of new products debuting at International CES.

Here’s what select suppliers are unveiling:

Altec Lansing’s selection of Bluetooth speakers is growing with the addition of a fourth model.

The speakers are marketed by Sakar International, which licenses the brand name from New York City-based Infinity Lifestyle Brands.

The new speaker is the $199 iMV555 InMotion, which ships in the first quarter to join the $59 Orbit, $99 Soundblade, $129 Jacket, $199 XL Soundblade and $199 XL Jacket.

The new model is a portable AC/DC speaker with three sides. Each side features two active 2-inch stereo drivers and two passive radiators, each side delivering a stereo soundfield. The speaker can be mounted in horizontal or vertical orientation on a wall. It features AptX, nearfield communications (NFC), voice confirmation, DSP Audio Enhancement technology, 10-hour lithium-ion battery and 3.5mm aux in.

Other speakers also feature AptX and NFC.

Damson Audio, a U.K.-based start-up, is diversifying from Bluetooth-equipped speakers into networked Wi-Fi speakers that also incorporate Bluetooth.

The four new products include a networked, Bluetooth- equipped home-theater soundbar.

All could be the industry’s first Bluetooth or Wi-Fi speakers with automatic room equalization. Some of the new products are AC/DC speakers, and others are AC-only.

The Bluetooth-only speaker is the $149-suggested JetStream Mini, an AC/DC speaker for travelers and for outdoor use. It incorporates two full-range drivers, a small active subwoofer, and an exciter that boost volume and bass response by vibrating a sold flat surface on which the speaker is placed.

Denon’s DSB200 portable speaker, promoted as offering best-in-class sound, features two full-range drivers, large passive radiator, patented MaxxBass technology to ensure deep and clean bass performance, water resistance, USB charging port, four interchangeable grille-cloth options, rubber footer to ensure product stays in place and LED lighting. Users squeeze it to open it up.

Pricing and ship date were unavailable.

iHome said Bluetooth will play a larger role in the company’s selection of tabletop audio products. Three new products include a portable Bluetooth speaker, two Bluetooth radio/alarm clocks, and a Lightning-equipped docking radio/alarm clock.

The iPL22 Lightning-equipped docking clock radio for iPods, iPhones and iPads ships in the second quarter at a suggested $69.

The $29-suggested iBT69 Bluetooth rechargeable mini speaker, due in the second quarter, features a popup design, 3.5mm aux in, and choice of red, silver, black and wood finishes.

The $69-suggested iBT28 Bluetooth dual-alarm clock radio with USB charging port ships in the second quarter. It features FM, wake and sleep to Bluetooth devices, and a translucent cabinet that glows in four colors.

Under the licensed Timex brand, iHome is launching the $39 T331Bluetooth clock radio, due in the second quarter. It features digital AM/FM tuning, 1.2-inch blue LED display, 3.5mm aux in, and ability to wake and sleep to Bluetooth mobile devices.

iLuv’s three new portable Bluetooth speakers include the company’s first model that can be used singly to deliver mono sound or in pairs to deliver stereo sound. That model, the $149-suggested Syren Pro, has voice prompts to assist users in pairing. Other features include 360-degree dispersion, weather- and UV-resistance, aux in and rechargeable four-hour battery. It will be available in black and white when it ships in late January.

The $49 WaveCast portable stereo speaker features a four-hour rechargeable battery, bass radiator, matte finish in a wave pattern, and availability in black, white or hot pink. It ships in mid February.

The $59 Rollick portable stereo speaker features front-mount controls, two-way drivers, rechargeable four-hour battery and metal grille. It ships in mid-March in multiple colors.

The launches expand the company’s Bluetooth speaker selection to 12.

Kicker, the Stillwater Designs brand, is bringing its second Bluetooth-only desktop speaker to the show.

The AC-only Amphitheater K3 will begin shipping via Kicker.com and authorized dealers during the first quarter at a suggested $199. It will join the larger AC-only Amphitheater Bluetooth BT2, a $299 Bluetooth-only speaker.

The Amphitheater K3 will be the company’s first Bluetooth speaker to stream the AptX codec over Bluetooth. It will also be the company’s first speaker equipped with NFC. The new model is about half the size of the BT2 but, like its big brother, is a two-way model whose shape evokes an amphitheater.

LG is showing two new portable Bluetooth speakers with NFC and incorporating Bluetooth in its largest mini audio system to date.

Maxell is adding the Mini Board MB-1 at $69 and MB-2 at $99 to its current Renga portable. Both are mono models with a footprint similar to an iPhone’s. Both come with NFC, hands-free mic, passive radiator and 3-watt output. The MB-2 adds a USB charging port and longer battery life of up to 16 hours vs. 12 hours.

Naxa is launching 10 home and portable audio products. Among them, two stereo shelf systems, one boombox and one other portable audio product get stereo Bluetooth.

The Bluetooth-equipped shelf systems include the NPB-261, a contemporary-style 2.1 system with powered subwoofer, CD player, AM/FM tuner and USB input for MP3 playback. It’s expected to retail for $89.

The other Bluetooth shelf system is the $89 NSM- 438with AM/FM tuner, CD player and MP3-CD playback.

QFX is offering a portable Bluetooth-equipped PA speaker, shipping in the first quarter at $99 and intended for tailgate parties and other outdoor gatherings. The PBX- 706100BT measures 15 inches by 10.5 inches by 10.5 inches and features 6-inch driver, USB port, memory-card reader, aux in, FM tuner and NFC for one-touch pairing. It will be available in red, blue or black. Also due in early 2014: two large Bluetooth boomboxes at $79 and $99.

Soundfreaq is introducing two Bluetooth-only speakers: the Sound Spot Stereo and the Sound Rise alarm clock, both due in the spring at $119 and $69, respectively. A Sound Spot with included rechargeable battery will retail for $149.

The Sound Spot Stereo features a mid-century cosmetic design, 10-watt amplification, tone control to select three EQ presets, proprietary UQ3technology to expand the sound stage and a USB charging port.

The Sound Rise features mono speaker, 3.5-watt output, USB charging port, dual alarms, digital LED readout and three EQ presets.

SuperTooth has the Disco4 portable Bluetooth speaker, the company’s first with NFC and first with a spotlight-like design. It ships in the first quarter.

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