LAS VEGAS – Sony is reentering the market for dedicated Bluetooth speakers after an absence of several years with four AC/DC models shipping in March and priced from an everyday $79 to $299. The top two at $199 and $299 stream the AAC and AptX codecs over Bluetooth.
All feature nearfield communications (NFC), enabling owners of NFC-equipped smartphones to tap the top of the speaker to automatically turn on the speaker, turn on the phone’s Bluetooth on, and pair the devices. Users can also tap to unpair. All also feature hands-free calling and 3.5mm aux in.
The lineup starts with the ball-shaped $79 SRSBTV5 mono speaker with 360-degree dispersion, rechargeable battery and charging via MicroUSB. The SRSBTM8 at $99 is shaped like a lady’s purse and features stereo full-range speakers and metal grille. It runs on four AA batteries.
The $199 SRSBTX300 features AAC and AptX Bluetooth streaming, 20-watt output, two full-range stereo drivers, a passive radiator, a side-mounted kickstand, and USB charging of smartphones and tablets via USB when the speaker is plugged into an AC power outlet.
At $299, the 40-watt SRSBTX500 features AAC and AptX Bluetooth streaming, dual full-range drivers, an active woofer and two passive radiators, backmounted kickstand, and USB charging of tablets and smartphones when plugged into AC power.
Later in 2013, the company plans to convert most of its single-chassis Apple-docking speaker systems to feature Apple’s eight-pin connector, replacing Apple’s 30-pin connector. Some of those speakers feature Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or both.