Newark, Calif. – Logitech’s Ultimate Ears brand is expanding 360-degree stereo sound and its “life-proof” design to a third portable Bluetooth speaker, the flying-saucer-shaped Ultimate Ears Roll at a suggested $99.
It will join the $199 Boom launched two years ago and the step-up $299 Mega Boom, which shipped in January. The Roll replaces a $99 model that lacked 360-degree stereo sound and was neither waterproof nor dustproof.
“We’re building a family with the same core features,” said Ultimate Ears senior VP Rory Dooley. The 360-degree soundfield reflects “the way people consumer music,” he added.
The new speaker, available in six colors and design patterns, features a top-mounted woofer flanked by a tweeter on each side and pointing out at an angle to disperse stereo sound over 360 degrees. It’s IPX7-rated to survive immersion in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes, even without the user closing a flap that covers the USB-charging port and 3.5mm input. The flap must be closed, however, to make the speaker dust-proof.
The $299 Mega Boom is also IPX7-rated, and the $199 Boom is IPX4 rated for water-resistance. Both are also dust-proof, but both require their flaps to be closed to withstand water and dust.
All three speakers are also said to be drop-proof, and the Roll also floats when attached to a small inflatable life preserver provided with the speaker.
The Roll uses antenna design to extend Bluetooth range to 65 feet from the typical 33 feet. Battery life is up to nine hours.
Like the other two speakers in the line, the Roll features Bluetooth LE so it can be turned on and off via Bluetooth. With all three models, one mobile device can stream simultaneously to two of any type of Ultimate Ears Bluetooth speaker at a time, each running in stereo. Two Ultimate Ears speakers of the same type can be used simultaneously as a separate left or right speaker.
In the fall, Ultimate Ears will offer a firmware upgrade to enable a mobile device to stream to as many as 10 speakers at a time, though only two speakers at a time could be used as a left-right pair. The update will be downloaded to a mobile device for transfer over Bluetooth to the speakers. No other supplier currently offers firmware-upgradable Bluetooth speakers, whether sideloaded from a PC or transferred via Bluetooth, Dooley said.
All models also feature internal clock so they can be used as alarm clocks set from a mobile device.
The Roll is available June 16 at www.ultimateears.com followed by June 21 availability in Best Buy, Amazon availability around June 27, expected July 7 availability in Apple stores, and additional retailers later on.
Ultimate Ears offers merchandising solutions up to table-top and shelf-top displays with video screens to explain features. Other displays feature speakers with stored music that can be played back when a button is pressed.
The brand also sells through Verizon and T-Mobile stores.
The brand launched in 1995 to sell custom-fit earphones for musicians performing live on stage to replace stage monitors. The company that launched the brand was bought by Logitech in 2008.