Navvo Debuts Voice-Controlled Wireless Audio System

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Privately held startup Navvo Group, led by former Best Buy executive Wade Fenn, launched a do-it-yourself wireless multi-room, multi-zone audio system that uses Android tablets and smartphones as system controllers.

Unlike other wireless multiroom-audio systems, Navvo’s Voco system also offers voice control of song selection. To select songs, users speak into an Android device loaded with a free Navvo-provided app downloaded from the Android Market. The app uses Navvo’s own voice-control technology, not an Android phone’s Google-supplied voice recognition software, to deliver a more integrated experience, said Tom Gotuzzo, senior VP of sales and marketing.

The app also lets users select songs via an Android device’s touchscreen.

With a Voco system, up to 10 different sources or songs can be streamed simultaneously around the house via WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ from multiple networked PCs, multiple network attached storage (NAS) drives, and from the Android device itself to up to 10 Voco VZone players, which are priced at a suggested $199. A single song can also be transmitted to all V-Zone players in the house.

The players connect to a home’s existing audio and home theater systems via HDMI, optical digital cable, and analog RCA cables.

Additional music sources can include USB sticks, USB-connected iPods other than the iPod Touch and iPhone, other-brand USB-connected MP3 players plugged directly into a V-Zone player. Sources also include more than 50,000 free Internet radio stations and podcasts streamed by the Android device through the Navvo-provided app.

Via touchscreen or voice, the app lets users search for music stored on a source by title, artist or genre.


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