London – Gear4 formally announced its entry into the U.S.
iPod/iPhone accessories market today.
The U.K.-based supplier will be bringing approximately 11
portable audio and alarm dock SKUs, including some app-enabled docks, to U.S.
distribution channels starting Oct. 1.
Founded in 2004, the company is a market leader in Europe, with a
30 percent share of the iPod home speaker dock market (by volume), according to
CEO Tom Dudderidge. Gear4’s focus for the U.S. launch is on its iPhone and iPod
Touch speaker systems and app-enabled accessories.
“Bringing our products to the U.S. market is a planned,
strategic move for Gear4 and we are confident that the timing is right,”
said Dudderidge. “We have some fantastic products that fill a
Gear4-sized-and-shaped hole in the U.S. market.”
Specific product details
are being kept under wraps until later this year but Dudderidge, in a visit to
TWICE’s offices, sketched out the incorporation of the company’s new SmartDock
app technology, which Gear4 is calling an “appcessory.”
The free SmartDock app allows an iPhone, iPad or Touch user to control
central features of Gear4’s SmartDock-compatible speaker systems, such as a
built-in FM transmitter. For example, the app drives the FM transmitter to
auto-tune for best reception, display song and artist information (where
available, RDS broadcast-dependent), as well as pause and rewind live radio.
The music player is built into the SmartDock app, so users don’t
have to leave the app to play their iTunes library. The alarm feature allows
the setting of unlimited alarms and waking to music from the iTunes library.
Some highlights of the line will include the SmartDock-enabled
UnityRemote, which turns an iPod into a universal remote without a special case
or dongle; the SoundOrb Aurora, a high-end stereo speaker with wireless
subwoofer and built-in ambient light display; and the SmartDock-enabled
AlarmDock Reveal, which includes a large snooze button running across the
entire top of the speaker.
Suggested retails for the line are expected to range from $49 to
$349. More specific product information will be announced between now and
availability in October, Dudderidge said, adding that going forward the company
will look to further incorporate apps into new and existing accessories
Gear4 is owned by High Wycombe, U.K.-based Disruptive. The company
is privately owned and operated.