updated 10:15 pm EST, Fri February 10, 2012
AirPlay, Bluetooth optons
Two different tech gear companies have announced two new products for music lovers who want small speakers. Gear4 out of El Segundo are launching the AirZone Series 1 home speaker and iPhone/iPod dock that incorporates AirPlay compatibility for remote sounds and control, while iPod accessory maker iHome is offering two different mini-speakers that stream music and more via Bluetooth connections, one including a mic for speakerphone use.
Gear4 AirZone Series 1 ($299) will be featured at Apple retail stores and lets users stream music from any of their devices anywhere in their home using AirPlay. The speaker doubles as a dock for charging or connecting the music player directly and also features an FM radio, six equalizer settings, a built-in amplifier, a line-in connector for non-iOS devices and a separate remote control for them as well. It is expected to start shipping from Gear4's website shortly.
New Jersey-based iHome have two different wireless Bluetooth mini-speakers that feature quality sound for music, games, videos and more up to 30 feet away. The globe-like iDM8 ($60) and the cube-ish iDM11 ($70) have slightly different features, but both are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and can also accept audio from devices with a 3.5mm headphone jack using an included 3.5mm-to-micro-USB cable.
The iDM11 adds a built-in mic and answer/end controls for speakerphone use, SRS TruBass circuitry, ATI SoundClear voice echo cancellation and LED power/battery status lights along with a "ground lighting" effect. Both the iDM8 and iDM11 are available now directly from iHome.
iHome iDM8 and iDM11