EDISON, N.J. – Sakar International, which relaunched the Altec Lansing brand in early 2013 under license from Infinity Lifestyle Brands, is already selling 12 portable Bluetooth speakers, five PC audio SKUs, and three headphone SKUs through 10 major CE retailers and other accounts, and more products and retail channels are in the works, said product development VP Steve Schlangen.
The company also plans to build a larger marketing and promotional presence starting later this year and ramping up next year, he said.
For its portable Bluetooth speakers, the brand is considering marine channels to sell select water-proof models that float, and it’s looking into big-box outdoor retailers to carry select speakers. It’s also looking to add Bluetooth speakers to stored operated by other carriers, not just Verizon.
The brand’s Bluetooth speakers are currently sold through Best Buy Canada, Toys ‘R Us, hhgregg, Amazon, Sears, MicroCenter, Fry’s, BrandsMart, Target and select Verizon-owned stores.
In the coming months and at International CES, the brand will expand its selection of Bluetooth speakers and headphones, Schlangen said. By year’s end, the company expects to expand its Bluetooth selection to 18 to 20 SKUs from a current 12. The line will expand up slightly in price point from a current top price of $149.
The first new Bluetooth products will be two shower speakers, likely shipping in about two months at a suggested $59 and $79. One will look like a shower head, and the other will look like soap on a rope. Both will hang from a shower head and feature NFC, hands-free speakerphone capability, spoken caller ID, ability to respond to voice commands to accept or reject calls, and equalization to prevent a caller on the other end of a conversation from hearing the high-frequency sounds of falling water.
The company also plans to expand its line of ruggedized and waterproof speakers and offer its first AConly Bluetooth speakers for the home, he said.
In headphones, Altec Lansing offers a $19 earbud pair and two $99 over-ear headphones and is working on three high-performance earbuds, each with dual drivers in each bud. They’ll probably be launched at International CES, he said.
The company plans no more PC audio SKUs beyond the current five models priced from $24 to $99 because the market is flat in units and dollars, likely because of the rise of laptops, he said. Laptop users are more likely to use wireless Bluetooth speakers to play back music because the laptop itself is also portable, he said.
In all of its categories, Altec is carrying over its mission under previous ownership of delivering strong audio performance regardless of price point and offering differentiated products, Schlangen, said. Differentiating products include the floating waterproof Life Jacket with NFC at $149. The Life Jacket’s other differentiating features include spoken caller ID (phone number only for now), ability to respond to voice commands to accept incoming calls, verbal confirmation of modes, and ability to go into automatic pairing mode when turned on.
Altec’s sole U.S. distributor is D&H. Some accounts, however, are sold direct.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Altec Lansing brand returned to the consumer audio market in 2013 after worldwide rights to the brand were purchased in late 2012 by Infinity Lifestyle Brands of New York.