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Altec To Expand AC-Only Docking-Speaker Selection

Milford, Pa. – Altec Lansing plans to expand its
selection of AC-only docking-speaker systems so that sometime after a year from
now, AC models will comprise the majority of the company’s docking-speaker

company cited dealer and consumer trends for the shift.

company also plans with a year’s time to extend its AC-only portfolio to a
suggested $399 from $149. The company’s current top price point for a docking
speaker is $299 for a boombox-style AC/DC model launched last year.

company’s current selection consists of three AC-only models and about 10 AC/DC
models, said product manager Steve Schlangen, but the company’s roadmap will
put AC models at about 60 percent of its selection.

major reason for the shift, Schlangen explained, is that in today’s unsettled
economic climate, “people are looking for products that are portable or
stationary but not both.” People interested in using a docking speaker only in
stationary settings don’t want to pay for rechargeable-battery technology that
they won’t use, he said.

year, sales of AC-only models are growing at a faster pace than AC/DC models
because “people want to spend their money wisely, so they go with AC models if
that’s all they need,” Schlangen continued. He noted that most consumers buying
new docking speakers models are replacing older models launched at a time when the
selection of AC/DC models was broad.

interest in doing business with fewer brands is also driving Altec Lansing to
diversify its docking-speaker portfolio, Schlangen also said.

diversification will take the company to higher price points in AC-only models.
Schlangen cited market shifts in which unit and dollar sales of docking
speakers priced at $299 and up are rising, as are unit and dollar sales of
models priced at $79 and less, perhaps because many earlier purchasers of lower
quality AC/DC models want to step up audio quality.

company’s AC-only portfolio will carry the Octiv name, which was previously
applied to the Octiv
Air wireless iPod sound system that the company began promoting in early 2009.
Its 80-watt one-piece speaker system incorporates FM radio and receives music
wirelessly from an iPod docked in a wireless dock that can be placed in a more
convenient location. It currently retails for a suggested $149, down
from an original $399.

next product in the Octiv series is the $59.95-suggested Octiv Mini, which will
also be the company’s first with free downloadable iPod Touch/iPhone app.

Mini features a 4- by 4-inch angled chassis with single front-firing
high-efficiency speaker and 2-watt Class D amp. An iPod or iPhone stands
vertically on top. The speaker lacks control buttons, so consumers use all the
controls on the docked iPod to select music and control volume. The dock itself
needs no on/off button because the dock automatically senses when an iPod is
docked. The dock automatically shuts itself off after two minutes on non-use.

dock’s downloadable app, the first but not the last app from Altec, provides
dual-alarm clock functions, including snooze button and choice of waking to a
song or alarm sound. It features digital time display. More bells and whistles
are planned in an app upgrade due in weeks.

noted that purchasers of AC-only models “are more affluent and more female”
than AC/DC purchasers and that aesthetics and choice of materials will play an
important role in Altec’s planned AC-only products.