Altec Continues AC-Only Speaker-Dock Expansion

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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.


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