It's not just the Beats Executive on-ear headphones that are new from Beats Audio, as the company has also released it's own portable Bluetooth speaker: the Beats Pill. Yes, it's a pill-shaped speaker, likely a play on the fact that it's part of the Beats by Dr. Dre line, and doctors prescribe pills. Anyhow, cheesy concept aside, the Pill brings 12 watts of power across four 1-inch drivers into it's contoured frame, made up of metal grilles and soft-touch plastic. The rechargeable battery can pump out up to 7.5 hours of tunes, and offers NFC support for easy pairing with Bluetooth devices that support the standard (including the upcoming Lumia 920, HTC devices, and all Android Jelly Bean NFC smartphones--the iPhone doesn't have NFC support at this time.) A microphone is also built-in, allowing the Pill to also work as a speakerphone, and a physical audio input lets you connect devices that don't support Bluetooth as well. You can pick up the Pill Bluetooth speaker for $200.
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Monster is jumping into the high-quality Bluetooth loudspeaker game with the ClarityHD Micro, which they introduced at CES 2012. Similar to the Jawbone Jambox that's been so popular over the past couple of years, the ClarityHD Micro produces "higher definition sound" from your Bluetooth devices, and also allows you to take calls as well using its built-in omnidirectional microphone. So you can be streaming the latest from Justin Bieber from your iPhone, and when a call comes through, you can answer it and hold the conversation over the ClarityHD Micro as well. Convenient. Additionally, the speaker grills are magnetic and interchangeable, allowing the user to switch up the color and style. Expect to pay $219.95 when they ship worldwide this March.
According to Jawbone, LiveAudio "enables a spatial listening experience previously only available through headphones for binaural recordings." It's a processing feature that applies crosstalk cancellation features to produce better and deeper imaging, letting artists better create emotional connections with their audience, the company says.
In reality, LiveAudio is a processing feature that seems to boost the high end of the Jambox. Since higher frequencies are easier to locate directionally than lower frequencies (bass), this boost can give the impression of better spatial imaging, especially when used with close walls on either side to reflect the noise. LiveAudio won't necessarily improve your listening experience, but depending on the music you play and the dimensions of the room where you listen to it, it could offer a chance you might find preferable.
Last week at CES, we caught up with Travis Bogard from Aliph to get the rundown on the Jawbone Jambox. You may know Aliph, and the Jawbone brand, as the makers of awesome Bluetooth headsets (like the Jawbone Icon,) but the Jambox is a portable Bluetooth speaker with built-in microphone that rocks for playing audio from your Bluetooth-enabled devices. That could be your phone, digital audio player, or anything else that supports A2DP. Even cooler, you can even use the Jambox to take calls.
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Pretty much any modern smartphone or tablet device has Bluetooth built into it nowadays, and that means you can pair them to a speaker device to send audio wirelessly through a more powerful, louder unit. The thing is, those have been few and far between, and not very good. Aliph changed that with their newly-released Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker. You can easily pair it with your phone, iPod touch, iPad, or any other device that support Bluetooth audio. It's a small speaker that you can hold in your hand, but manufactured in such a way that it provides fantastic sound, so you can stream audio to it from wherever you are in the room, no wires needed. You can choose from four colors, and the battery is rechargeable. You can get it from Best Buy or Apple for $199.
Oh, and of course, if you or someone you know needs a Bluetooth heads, the Aliph Jawbone is one of the best. These guys know how to make Bluetooth devices.
We're still working on our full review of the Beatbox, the first loudspeaker dock from the Beats by Dr. Dre line of products, but we figured there was no more reason to wait to award it a spot in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. This thing is solid. The Beatbox is a speaker dock for your iPod touch or iPhone. You dock it the device, and your music comes to life. This is one of those speakers that can fill a large room with sound, bass and all, with no distortion even when cranked up to the max. The Beatbox sports 5.25-inch bass drivers and 2-inch high frequency drivers, and it retails for $399. It's the best iOS speaker dock that you can find right now, and you can get yours from Apple online.
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Kenwood has developed stereo speakers that also contain OLED lighting. The company claims that there will be about 80% energy savings, which means you can purchase a couple more speakers. Kenwood also plans on using the light/speaker as an energy-efficient Fire Exit sign that can double as a loudspeaker and deliver emergency announcements. We hope they plan on using very calm voices if used in public venues.
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Kef America won Best of High Performance Innovation for their MUON Loudspeakers. They come in a Limited Edition of only 100 pairs. Created from super-formed aluminum, the speakers were designed by Russ Lovegroove. The company claims its Uni-Q drive unit array makes for superior treble and midrange. Kef utilizes its Acoustic Compliant Enhancement tech which allows them to double the volume through absorption of air molecules via activated carbon. Contact Kef for price and availability.
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