Otone Audio at Gadget Show Live

Otone AudioManchester-based Otone Audio might only be a few years old but they’ve been busy producing a neat range of audio products from soundbars and headphones to speakers and digital radios. It’s impressive what they’ve achieved in such a short period of time.

At Gadget Show Live, Otone demonstrated a selection from their line-up including the BluWall speakers and the BluMotion radio (lower shelf) plus the Blufiniti and SoundBase II soundbar (upper shelf). It’s hard to get a good listen in the hustle of a trade show but initial impressions were good.

Otone Audio

The Blufiniti portable Bluetooth speaker comes in a range of colours and is priced at £49.99. To learn more, listen to my interview with Shruti from Otone (sorry about the background noise from a neighbouring stand.)

aiFi is a Stackable, Configurable Speaker System at CES

Aifi logoWith the invention of portable media players and earbuds, music listening moved from an inherently social event to an isolated experience. The problem has only been exacerbated over time, as boomboxes and portable stereo systems have fallen out of favor with consumers. aiFi is a new speaker system that’s looking to bring music back out into the open.

Scott met with Fredrik from aiFi. Fredrik explained that aiFi is a unique speaker system that can be used in multiple ways. One aiFi speaker works just fine on its own. But when it’s stacked with another aiFi speaker or setup with two or more other aiFi’s, the speakers will configure themselves, depending on the location of each aiFi. For example, stacking two aiFi’s will increase the bass response of each unit. Or, three aiFi’s could be placed together to create a sound-bar system for TV viewing. aiFi speakers accept input thru either bluetooth, optical line-in or standard audio line-in, so these speakers can be used with nearly any type of sound source.

Interview by Scott of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the TechPodcast Network.

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Altec Lansing Brings new Waterproof Speakers to CES

Altec logo

Electronics and water. Two things that just don’t go well together. And while it’s easy enough to keep your electronics dry at home, what about those times when you’d like to play some music or listen to a podcast at the beach or next to a swimming pool? Altec Lansing has a new line of waterproof bluetooth speakers that you can use virtually anywhere.

Scott had a chat with Jill from Altec Lansing. Jill showed off an impressive array of products from the company’s “jacket” line. Starting wit the Mini h2o Jacket ($39.99) going all the way up to the Boom Jacket ($199.99), these speakers are wireless, waterproof and highly durable. All of these speakers are also designed to float, so no worries if they’re dropped into the ocean or knocked into a pool. Altec Lansing even put these speakers thru a series of tests, including fire and bullets. And each time, the speakers came thru, still working as expected.

Interview by Scott of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the TechPodcast Network.

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Peri Duo Speaker Case for iPhone

Peri Logo

When it comes to smartphones and tablets, there are few mobile devices that produce anything like a decent volume and as for stereo separation, forget it. Fortunately Peri can come to the aid of iPhone owners with the Peri Duo, a high-power wireless speaker and phone charger case. Todd and Jamie find out more from Cedric Sumimoto, co-founder of Peri.

The Peri Duo is a standalone wi-fi and bluetooth-enabled speaker and iPhone charger case all in one. As expected, music can be streamed via AirPlay but the iPhone doesn’t have to be in the case when playing the music, so the Duo speaker can be on the opposite side of the room while the iPhone is safely in a pocket. Even better, more than one Duo can be connected to a phone so one Duo can be assigned as the left speaker and one as the right. Alternatively, one phone can multicast to dozens of Peri Duos, which really gets the party going.

The battery is 2500 mAh which will fully recharge an iPhone once with a bit over, or else the Duo will play music for around 4 hours.

The Peri Duo will be available for the iPhone 5, 5s, 6 and iPod Touch. The MSRP will be $139 though it’s currently on pre-order at $99 via Indigogo. Deliveries are expected from April onwards.

Interview by Jamie Davis of Health Tech Weekly and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Acoustic Research Expands its Speaker Collection at CES

Acoustic Research SpeakersAcoustic Research has expanded their speaker series with the launch of four new indoor/outdoor speakers for Spring of 2015. The new lineup includes quality Bluetooth speakers at prices to fit any budget and style. The names of the new speakers are: Hatteras, Glendale, Pasadena, and Orleans.

The Hatteras speaker is $219.99. It is a high-power outdoor Bluetooth stereo speaker system that provides both style and functionality and that can be used all year round. The Hatteras speaker is a 2015 CES Innovation Awards Honoree winer. The design was inspired by America’s lighthouses. This speaker is 2 feet tall, is weather and UV resistant with 40 Watts of yard-filling power. It can illuminate parties with 360 degrees of area lighting and multiple settings.

Acoustic Research Glendale and Pasadena speakers

The Glendale and Pasadena speakers are from Acoustic Research’s Premier Series. Each delivers 10 Watts of full-range audio performance for crystal clear sound both indoors and outdoors. They are equipped with Bluetooth technology. Both speakers can be powered via AC. The Glendale is capable of running on AA batteries, while the Pasadena features a built-in rechargeable battery. Glendale will be available for $199.99 and the Pasadena will be available for $99.99.

Acoustic Research Orleans

The limited-series Orleans, which is $99.99, features big, bold, three-way sound. You can stream and control your music from your devices using Bluetooth wireless technology or the built-in Aux Input for other wired sources. The Orleans features 10 Watts of high-quality, full, rich, audio performance and has a power span of 10-12 hours using AA batteries.

Visit Acoustic Research in the Central Hall at Booth # 10406 at CES.

UGO Makes Little Speakers with Big Sound

UGO SpeakerI had the opportunity to check out these cute, colorful, speakers in person yesterday. This was completely unexpected, because the place I found the UGO speakers at was a Strawberry Festival. That isn’t the type of event where one would expect to find anything tech related. (The festival did live up to its name, however, and had plenty of desserts that were filled with some of the biggest strawberries I’d ever seen).

The name of the company is UGO (which is pronounced “you- go”). They were among the many booths of vendors at the festival. What immediately caught my attention about them was that I could hear the music that was playing through the little speaker from several feet away over the noise from the crowd. I can see where having just one UGO speaker would work well for a person to use at home (or wherever else they decide to go).

UGO speakers come in six different colors: pink, blue, red, purple, black, yellow, and silver (as shown in my photo). The UGO mini-speaker costs $39.95, and the UGO Bluetooth Wireless Mini-Speaker costs $129.95.

Each has a micro SD slot. You can load your favorite songs onto a Micro SD card, insert it into the UGO speaker, and the speaker itself becomes your music player. It also has a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. The website says it has a 30′ (9.14m) range in which the sound will carry. UGO offers a 12-month manufacturer guarantee. The vendor at the UGO booth at the Strawberry Fest said that the UGO Bluetooth Wireless Mini-Speaker can be used with any Bluetooth enabled device.

Vivick’s Latest Gadgets

Vivick HeadphonesCanadian firm Vivick produce a wide range of gadgets, covering everything from iPhone cases, laptop accessories and AV gear. Andy and Scott look at three of the latest products.

On show from Vivick is anLED desk lamp speaker that can be driven via Bluetooth but wouldn’t look out of place on the set of a 70s sci-fi movie. Continuing the theme, they had a Bluetooth headset which looked a bit more up-to-date but I can’t comment on the sound quality. Finally, they showed off a combo-laptop / USB rechargeable battery which had some really good design ideas. It seems to be a brand new product as it doesn’t yet feature on their website, but if you are a battery hogging traveller, keep an eye out for it.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the TechPodcast Network, who should be commended for keeping the interview going.

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beatpower Speakers

Beat-Power If you start looking for portable speakers for your iPhone or iPod you quickly notice that most companies have a one-size fits all policy. Fortunately there is a company that thinks differently, beatpower.  beatpower policy is to create speakers for different types of people. They have a category of speakers that are made for people who are more fashion conscious. Another category for those who like things to look more traditional. A third category for those who want their speakers to have the same design quality as their iPad or iPod and a fourth category for the audiophile. All speakers no matter what the category are bluetooth enabled and most have a microphone installed.

The final category that was shown was the beatbox which is a hi-fi system for the home. The beatbox is covered with hand-stitch leather in various colors. It has optical wireless and bluetooth capability. It also has two USB charging ports which you can use to charge your iPhone or iPod. The Beat Block comes with a remote control that allows you to control the treble and bass that is coming out of your iPhone or iPod.

You can take a look at the various speakers available at the beatpower website. The prices for the various speakers will run from $29.99 up to $199.00. For more information about availability you can send an email to [email protected] They are also working on an e-shop, which should be coming soon.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network and by Nick DiMeo of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Zooka Bluetooth Speakers

Zooka Anyone who has a tablet, or smart phone knows that their one weakness is their speakers. One solution is to use a speaker dock. The problem with this solution is that it requires an outlet to plug the dock into. This is not very useful if you are in a park or on a beach, the other solution is to use Bluetooth Speakers. This is where the Zooka speakers by Carbon Audio Inc come in. They are Bluetooth speakers made of medical grade silicon. There are no mechanical moving parts and no dock. It slides on to a tablet or top of a notebook. It was designed so it doesn’t hide the iSight camera. There is a kickstand which tucks away into the side and screws into the back. It includes:

  1. Two 30 mm speaker drivers at either end of the Zooka
  2. 30ft Bluetooth Range
  3. Rechargeable battery, providing up to 8 hours of playing
  4. Frequency response of 150 to 20,000 Hz

The Zooka is available at Target, Best Buy Amazon and at Carbon Audio Inc. It comes in a variety of colors and is priced at $99.00

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Armadillo outdoor Bluetooth speaker unveiled

Outdoor Gear announced today a new outdoor speaker, appropriately named the Armadillo. The new speaker works with Bluetooth 4.0 to play your tunes outside without need of worry about the weather conditions.

The company describes the new device as “A larger version of its predecessor, the Turtle Shell®, the Armadillo is a rugged shelled boombox that will allow you to dig into the dirt and experience the outdoor terrain with your favorite tunes via AirPlay or Bluetooth. Ideal for camping and for the home, the Armadillo is shockproof, waterproof, allows for daisy chaining and provides a USB port for charging other devices.”

Details as to release and pricing were left vague with the release being set for “later in 2013″ and pricing completely non-existent (the Turtle Shell is $149). While the Armadillo looks good for a backyard party, I don’t see lugging it on a camping and hiking trip as a viable option. Perhaps if you park and stay at a campground then sure, but my son and I hike from place to place and camp, mostly backwoods, and packing light and moving quickly is a priority that these luxuries do not lend themselves to.