WiFi-connected speakers: the latest audio trend

Sonos Play:1. — AFP pic
Sonos Play:1. — AFP pic

LAS VEGAS, Jan 10 — One of the biggest trends to emerge from CES in Las Vegas this week has been internet-connected speakers which look as good as they sound.

As digital music sales decreased for the first time in 2013 and online radio and music streaming services rise, it seems consumers are seeking to be able to play music directly without the hassle of Bluetooth, Gigaom points out.

Trailblazing the way is Sonos, which launched its Play:1 wireless speaker and its sleek Playbar, both of which allow users to access “all the music on Earth” via its app and wireless technology, in 2013.

But the industry is quickly catching on, and British manufacturer Pure chose CES to debut two new colour ranges for its Jongo wireless speaker systems, which are set to be able to stream music directly from Spotify and other services in the first quarter of 2014.

Pure Jongo speakers Vibrant range. —AFP pic
Pure Jongo speakers Vibrant range. —AFP pic

Meanwhile the collections, based on the Pantone colours of 2014, prove that consumers are not willing to compromise on aesthetics when it comes to statement speakers.

Also muscling in on the action is electronics giant Samsung, whose Shape wireless audio streaming system M5, an update on its M7 speaker, previewed at CES this week. The device hooks up to a wireless router and is activated through the company's Shape app.

Qualcomm, has also announced that its AllPlay wireless audio player will now be available to commercial buyers for the first time, allowing users to access cloud-based music services from all over the home.

“AllPlay is representative of the rapid evolution of the wireless home audio market,” said Ike S. Franco, Managing Partner of Infinity Group, owners of the audio electronics brand Altec Lansing.

Meanwhile, Boston-based brand ClearView Audio attracted attention for its stylish 'invisible' glass speaker Clio, which functions via Bluetooth technology.

Other notable design-led Bluetooth speakers on the market include Jawbone's Jambox speaker, featuring bold graphic lines, and Soundfreaq, which debuted three new types of Bluetooth speaker this week at CES.

The X-Mini We and the X-Mini Me, by Singapore-based company X-Mini, were also on display at the show. The pocket-sized portable speakers are small enough to be worn around the neck and can be synced to a smartphone via Bluetooth. — AFP-Relaxnews

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