Philips Readies AirPlay Speaker Systems


New York - Philips entered the AirPlay-enabled speaker market with a selection of five models priced from a suggested $229 to $799.

One product ships in July, and the others ship in September. All are part of the Fidelio series. None docks physically with an iPod, iPhone or iPad to play the portable devices' music, but all systems feature 3.5mm aux input to connect any brand of portable media player or cellphone.

Separately, the company released more details about its plans for an Android-based portable media player, saying two models will be available in September. The company previously acknowledged cited model. The Wi-Fi-equipped GoGear Connect comes in two versions, one at a suggested $179 with 8GB of embedded memory and a 16GB model at $219.

The Stamford, Conn., company released the details here at the Consumer Electronics Association's (CEA) Line Show, where one competing brand said it has held off introducing its own AirPlay speakers because Apple licensing fees and the inclusion of Wi-Fi add about $100 to the consumer cost of the products.

In AirPlay speakers, the first product to hit the market will be an upscale $799-suggested DS9800W SoundSphere, shipping in July. The AC-only speaker system consists of two separate two-way powered speakers with black-lacquer finish, rounded design and point-source driver configuration to time-align the drivers. The tweeter sits on an arm that hovers over an angled-up front-firing woofer. The two speakers are connected via a cable. A tabletop charging stand for an iPod or iPhone is included, as is an IR remote to control a docked iPod/iPhone's menu and control volume and track up/down. The remote lacks LCD screen.

The SoundSphere uses 5.25-inch woofer, 1-inch tweeter and 2x50-watt amp.

At $499, the SoundSPhere DS6800 is a smaller, lower-powered version of the SoundSphere system and lacks a tabletop charging stand, but it uses the SoundSphere's point-source driver configuration. It features brushed-aluminum and black finish.

At $399, the DS8800W is a 2x15-watt one-piece system with horizontal elliptical shape and curved back. It's AC-only.

At $329, the grab-and-go-style AC/DC $329 DS3881W takes the shape of a round halo that incorporates four front-firing drivers, bass port, 16-watt amplifier and rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The halo is held in place by magnets to a tabletop base that uses inductive charging to charge the halo's battery.

At $229, the one-piece AC-only AD700W features two full-range speakers, 10-watt amp and a USB port to charge an iPod or iPhone.

In providing more details of the GoGear Connect portable media players (PMPSs), Philips said its Android 2.3 devices feature Wi-Fi b/g, stereo Bluetooth, web access but no camera. The products are also licensed by Google to access the Android Market for app downloads.

Other previously disclosed features include 3.2-inch capacitive color touchscreen, 720p HD video storage, and a Like Music feature that makes it possible to make playlists that sound great together.


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