Gear4 Entering U.S. iPod Accessories Market

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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 categories.

Gear4 is owned by High Wycombe, U.K.-based Disruptive. The company is privately owned and operated.


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