Author(s): Peter Bryer
Today's Daily Insight offers a lighter observation, but levitation could develop into a serious consumer electronics trend. Floating Bluetooth speakers are appearing on the horizon and capturing the imagination of gadget lovers and, hopefully, music lovers as well. The theory is that such speakers offer completely unobstructed, 360-degree sound emission by floating above their base. Nothing gets in the way.
Two crowd-funded projects are selling wireless, surface-less speakers. It's certainly a refreshing take. It appears that gadget fans and science fiction fans alike are making their pledges and waiting for their orders to arrive.
The OM/One spherical Bluetooth speaker was introduced back in August and quickly reached its funding goal. It's a miniature football-shaped speaker that levitates above a base — the start-up behind the device claims it's a "paradigm shift" in the design and function of speakers. There's no doubt it looks very different than any speaker before it. It's also portable, so it works when away from its base, and has a built-in microphone so it can be used for conference calls. The OM/One is priced at $200.
A Hong Kong-based start-up called Crazybaby just unveiled a floating speaker called Mars, a descriptive name as it looks like a saucer-shaped UFO. Like the OM/One, Mars hovers above a base which doubles as a subwoofer and also claims that levitation prevents surface sound absorption. The speaker is portable, waterproof up to a depth of three feet, and is currently priced at $170 through its Indiegogo campaign, due to ship in April 2015.
These form factors have a certain magnetic charm, but other speaker manufacturers should take note if the functional claims are accurate. The market is filled with wireless speakers, but these start-ups have found a way to stand out. If three makes a trend, there's still a product missing to make this one official. However, makers of consumer electronics might want to prepare for gravity repulsion.