What is the market potential for tabletop speakers equipped with stereo Bluetooth now that most smartphones incorporate the technology?
This may be one of most important changes to monitor in 2012. However, Bluetooth drawbacks are limited range of about 30 feet, the inability to stream video, and some limitation of sound quality.
Our view is that we must provide consumers with an array of connectivity options, including docking, single point-to-point wireless (like Bluetooth), single stream multi-room wireless audio, and full multistream multi-zone network flexibility. It must also be realized that the docking consumer is now not only an iOS user. Once an Android or other Bluetooth-enableddevice user finds the possibilities with this technology, we expect to see even more adoption.
Tabletop Bluetooth speakers will be an important component of this category going forward. Consumers are less willing to hard dock an iPhone/iPad than an iPod, but they still need great sound. Their phone is usually in their pockets, while iPads tend to live on coffee tables and consumers’ laps.
Bluetooth wireless speakers have seen dramatic growth in the past year (+392 percent), but the segment remains small at 10 percent of the overall dock market. We anticipate this segment will continue to grow as consumers are looking for more freedom.
An expected Android upgrade allowing the audio signal to pass through the mobile device MicroUSB charging connector could limit the need for Bluetooth connectivity as newer Android devices could dock, play and charge just as Apple products do.