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Kicker Kicks Up Bluetooth Presence

Kicker hopes to kick up some dust in the portable audio and headphone markets.

 The company unveiled two portable Bluetooth speakers, expanding its selection from one, and plans more Bluetooth models at January’s CES. The company also unveiled its first Bluetooth ear buds, joining a pair of over-ear Bluetooth headphones launched last year.

The three new products ship in November, and Kicker home and portable brand manager Jeremy Bale said they would be followed by a “few” new products at CES, including new Bluetooth speakers and headphones.

The November products include the $99-suggested EB300 Bluetooth ear buds, which are IPX-3 sweat- and water-resistant and are attached by a flexible wire with memory to remember its shape when bent.

Its features hand-free phone capability with in-line mic, answer/end, play/pause and volume control. It comes with moldable earpiece, three sets of tips in different sizes, 8-hour battery, hard carrying case, and a cord-management system to hold the wire tighter against the back of the neck.

The $199-suggested KPw2 portable Bluetooth speaker replaces a current model, maintains its cylindrical shape to fit into water-bottle cages, and adds up/down play-pause touch controls along with touch volume control. The predecessor features a large rotating knob at one end to control volume only.

The new model also adds 2.1-amp/5-volt power supply to charge phones and tablets. It also doubles as a hands-free speaker phone. Battery life is up to 10 hours.

The KPw2 packs two 1.75-inch drivers, two 2-inch passive radiators, 2×5-watt amp, and DSP in a 7.9-inch-tall, 2.7-inch-diameter chassis with metal grille and rubber end panels.

The step-up $239 KPm50, shaped like a long triangle, steps up to an aluminum housing, 2×7-watt amp, NFC, AptX over Bluetooth, and two 2-inch drivers with two 2-inch passive radiators in a larger enclosure measuring 7.6 inches by 3.4 inches by 3.4 inches.  It’s not IPX-rated, so it’s designed for use around the house or on a deck. Like the KPw2, it comes with 2.1-amp/5-volt charger, media-playback controls, and hands-free speakerphone capability. It comes with leather case.

The company’s headphones and Bluetooth speakers are sold through regional chains, and independent retailers, including car audio specialists.

The company, founded 43 years ago to sell aftermarket car audio, diversified into the home and portable audio markets six years ago with headphones and AC-only tabletop docking speakers. The company continues to offer an Apple-docking speaker with Lightning connector and one Bluetooth-only home speaker, but moving forward, the company will focus on battery-operated Bluetooth speakers and Bluetooth headphones, all with rechargeable batteries, said marketing director Kevin Campbell.