After over 80 years in the consumer electronics business, Philips announced Tuesday that it has sold the remainder of its consumer-focused electronics business to Japan’s Funai. Although Philips steadily reduced its involvement in consumer electronics, leaving its television and mobile phone divisions behind in recent years, the company suffered a fourth-quarter net loss of €358 Million (about $481 million).
Philips has had an interesting history with Apple. It originally sold products that challenged the iPod, including its GoGear series of media players. It then started to make iPod-friendly speaker systems, and later bought iPod/iPhone accessory maker DLO to become a major player in Apple accessories. The company developed quite a few distinctive speakers, eventually including some AirPlay models at widely varying price points, and continued to sell earphones and headphones. Funai will apparently continue to sell these products under its own brand.
Philips will now turn most of its attention to medical equipment, as healthcare sales made up 40 percent of the group’s revenue in the fourth quarter. Consumer lifestyle products accounted for 26 percent of the company’s fourth quarter revenue. [via Wall Street Journal]
Apogee has announced a redesigned version of One ($349), a USB audio interface and microphone that makes a direct digital connection to an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or Mac. One offers three input options — a built-in omni-directional condenser mic, XLR input for microphones and 1/4” instrument input. Also, One can now record two inputs simultaneously — the instrument input and one of the mic inputs. A metal chassis now encases One, which uses Apogee’s Maestro software for iOS to control inputs, mic preamp, outputs, and low latency monitoring. It will be available in March, shipping with Dock Connector support and the need for a user-supplied Lightning to 30-Pin Adapter.
Apogee also introduced the updated Duet ($595) for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Mac, a two-input, four-output USB audio interface for stereo music recording and mixing, another Dock Connector-based accessory that requires the Lightning adapter for new devices. Last but not least, the company also announced iPad compatibility for Quartet ($1295), a four-input, eight-output USB audio interface. Quartet will now ship with a Dock Connector cable, again with the need for a Lightning adapter. The updated versions of Duet and Quartet will be released in February.
Bem Wireless has announced Speaker Trio ($300), which bundles three wireless speakers with a Bluetooth audio and charging base. The three speakers share a wireless connection to the base and can stream the same music to multiple rooms. Each speaker has up to 120 feet of wireless range, while Bluetooth is used to let your iOS device stream music wirelessly at distances of up to 25 feet from the base.
The speakers are 6” x 6” each and offer about six hours of battery life — when not in use, they can be returned to the base for conductive wireless charging. Auxiliary in and out ports are also included. Speaker Trio is available now in black or white.
Twelve South has announced PlugBug World ($45), an all-in-one international version of its PlugBug. PlugBug World piggybacks onto a MacBook power adapter, allowing simultaneous charging of a MacBook and iPad, iPhone, or iPod from the same outlet, adding a separate 2.1-Amp USB port. PlugBug World includes five international snap-on plugs for use in the UK, Europe, Australia, China, and North America.
PlugBug World also works as a standalone international wall charger, as well, promising to charge an iPad up to four times faster than a standard 0.5-Amp USB port, and an iPad mini twice as fast as its included charger; notably, one of the USB ports built into each modern Mac offers identical 2.1-Amp charging speeds, but older Macs and many PCs do not include higher-speed USB ports. The charger is available now.
Withings has announced the US release of its Smart Kid Scale ($180). A Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-connected device, the Smart Kid Scale is designed to track the weight and growth of newborns and toddlers. The scale can be used from infancy to eight years old. It features a large graphical screen and an interlocking baby basket to weigh infants — the basket can be removed to become a toddler scale.
By using the free Withings Baby Companion app in conjunction with the Smart Kid Scale, parents can easily access a history of weight and height readings. The app also logs height, feedings, and how a child’s data compares with children of the same gender and age. Withings’ Smart Kid Scale is available now.
Thought Out has released the PED4 Planet BH50 stand ($50) for the iPhone 5. A steel ball pivoting stand, the PED4 Planet is adjustable, portable, and removable — the stand can be separated from the base and mounted to any tripod for photography. The stand is compatible with either an iPhone 5 or iPod touch without a case.
Also released was Thought Out’s Devil Head ($12) headphone wrap and wrench. Devil Head acts as both a headphone storage device and a wrench for assembly and disassembly of the PED4 Planet stand. Both products are available now; purchased together, the price is $58.
iLounge has announced our 2013 International CES Best of Show Award winners and finalists. Twenty-four winners were selected from hundreds of developers and thousands of products, representing the best and most innovative products we’ve seen at CES. A total of 12 full Best of Show awards were given out, as Incipio took home four Best of Show awards — including Overall Best of Show — while IK Multimedia netted two Best of Show wins. Other Best of Show winners include Adonit, Griffin, LifeProof, myCharge, Soundfreaq, and Switcheasy.
In addition to our 12 full Best of Show awards, 12 total Best of Show Finalist awards were presented to developers. Click here for all the winners and details on the selected products.
You’ve already seen dozens of our pre-show reports from Las Vegas, but today’s the day when the 2013 International CES officially opens for business. Completely filling the Las Vegas Convention Center’s floor space, offices, and meeting rooms for the rest of this week—as well as the nearby LVH and just about every other hotel—CES is going to be packed from edge to edge with new product and service announcements—many of potential interest to iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Mac users.
iLounge’s team has been in town for days now, meeting with leading developers from around the world. We’ve shared “under construction” photos from the massive 120,000-foot iLounge Pavilion at CES on our Twitter account, and posted everything from First Looks at new products to company-by-company previews of what’s about to be shown. Join us today at CES.iLounge.com for plenty more live coverage of all things Apple from the show floor—we’re very excited by what we’ve seen so far, and can’t wait to share more with you.
Audio-Technica has announced its new line of products for CES, including new additions to its QuietPoint headphones line and the introduction of its SonicSport headphones. The company’s budget-priced ATH-ANC29 ($100) over-ear headphones provide up to 87 percent noise cancellation, and interestingly, the cord can be detached for cordless noise-cancelling headphone use. Also, the ATH-ANC33iS ($80) in-ear headphones offer up to 90 percent noise cancellation and feature volume control with an in-line mic and control. These earphones come with Comply foam tips for comfort and fit improvements. Both headphones come with a case, airline adapter and AAA battery. They will be available in April.
Audio-Technica’s new SonicSport headphones are designed for sports and active use. The three debut models include ATH-CP700 ($100), which features a headband that wraps around the back of the neck and a cord-mounted remote and built-in microphone; the ATH-CKP500 ($75), which feature earpieces with angled housings that direct the cord behind the user’s neck; and the ATH-CKP200 ($50), which use a hinged ear hook that adjusts around the ears. These SonicSport headphones will be available in January.
JBL has announced OnBeat Rumble ($399), its third Lightning speaker dock. OnBeat Rumble is a Bluetooth-enabled 50-watt speaker with a built-in 4 1/2” subwoofer and two 2.5” full-range drivers. In addition to the Lightning connector, it also has an auxiliary input jack for older and non-Apple devices. Users can download JBL’s free MusicFlow app, which adds additional EQ modes to OnBeat Rumble, as well as enabling music browsing and playlist creation. OnBeat Rumble will be released in the spring.
JBL also announced Charge ($150), a portable cylindrical Bluetooth stereo speaker. Conceptually similar to Flip, the wireless speaker is two inches wide by six inches long and provides 12 hours of playback from one charge of its 6000 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery. Two full-range drivers and a 10-watt amplifier are featured. Charge has a rugged exterior with rubber end rings, and will be available in several colors, including blue, black, or green. Charge will be released in the first quarter of 2013.
NYNE has announced that two Bluetooth 4 speakers will debut at CES, the NB-550 ($300) and NB-500 ($200). The NB-550 is a 100-watt speaker with an aesthetically neutral design, which notably includes a USB charging point and auxiliary input, as well at the very recent Bluetooth 4 streaming technology.
The NB-500 is a smaller, lower powered version of the NB-550, which also uses Bluetooth 4. Both speakers will be available in the second quarter of 2013.
Logic3’s Ferrari by Logic3 sub-brand has announced the Cavallino GT1 ($649), a Bluetooth speaker dock. Heavily based on the Cavallino GT1 Air, which was announced at last year’s CES but never actually released, the GT1 borrows design details from Ferrari’s GT car. An integrated subwoofer boosts the GT1’s speaker system, which features two tweeters and two drivers. GT1 includes Bluetooth and a legacy 30-pin Dock Connector, rather than AirPlay.
A composite video out, auxiliary in jack and USB charging port are all included on the GT1, as is a remote control based on Ferrari’s metal gate gearbox. The GT1 is said to be available now.
iHome has announced its new product lineup to be unveiled at CES, which includes the company’s first Lightning dock speakers. The iDL100 ($150) is a stereo FM clock radio with two Lightning docks, plus a USB charging dock; it’s capable of charging up to three iPads at once with triple 2.1-Amp power. By comparison, the iDL45 ($100) is a version of the iDL100 with only one Lightning dock, retaining the USB charging dock.
iHome is introducing the iBT44 ($200), a portable FM stereo Bluetooth retro boom box. The stereo can operate on six D batteries or use a USB connection to stream audio. Two woofers and tweeters are included, as is a remote control. Other Bluetooth-enabled products announced include the iBT20 ($80), a wireless FM alarm clock radio, and the iBT88 rechargeable mini stereo speaker system, for which no price was given. The iB85 ($100) Bluetooth headphones are foldable and include an on-ear remote and built-in mic, and the iB10 Sport Earhooks ($20) and iB22 ($15) noise-canceling headphones were also introduced. No release dates have been announced.
New audio company FELTaudio has announced two new products that will debut at CES. Offered in white, black, and gray, Pulse is being pitched as “the world’s smallest multi-functional Bluetooth speaker;” a portable speaker with a clip, the Pulse can fit in a pocket, and attach conveniently to the back of new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch cases. When used with an iPhone, its microphone allows for hands-free calls.
FELTaudio’s Rewind wireless earbuds work up to 40 feet away from Bluetooth devices. Housed in a hard plastic box with a clip—and the ability to interface with the aforementioned Apple device cases—Rewind has a cable management system to prevent the silicone-tipped earbuds from getting tangled. Integrated volume controls are included on the earbuds’ box, and a microphone is included on the cord. Rewind earbuds also come in white, black, and gray. Release dates and pricing were not announced.
Mobee has announced three new products that will debut at CES, two leveraging the company’s inductive charging platforms for ease of use. Magic Juice ($79) is a backup battery/charging station that can be carried in a pocket, and inductively recharged using Mobee’s previously-released Magic Feet or Magic Charger charging platforms. Somewhat curiously, the battery promises to fully charge an iPad once or an iPhone twice, and is compatible with Lightning and Dock Connectors, mini USB and micro USB, thanks to a standard USB port on one end.
Magic Tunes ($99) is a wireless Bluetooth speaker. Equipped with speakerphone functionality, it’s billed as the first “double wireless” speaker, capable of both wireless audio streaming and inductive wireless charging. Finally, Magic Link ($49) is an energy-saving wall adapter and illuminated cable for Apple mobile devices, showing you charging status through the cable’s glowing color before turning off automatically to conserve power. Magic Link also promises Lightning, Dock Connector, mini USB and micro USB compatibility. All of these new products will be released in 2013.
Soundmatters has announced Dash 7 ($249), a slim, pocket-portable Bluetooth wireless soundbar speaker system. A 3/4-inch-high speaker featuring a miniature woofer and rechargeable battery with up to 12 hours of life, Dash 7 also works as a speakerphone. It serves as a smaller sequel to the company’s earlier foxL series, which inspired Jawbone’s Jambox, while promising wider stereo separation and similarly powerful volume levels.
Dash 7 is designed to rest in front of an iPad without blocking the screen, but an angled stand is also included. Coming in four colors, the Dash 7 will be shown at Soundmatters’ CES booth at the iLounge Pavilion, Jan. 8-11.
Carbon Audio has announced Zooka ($100), a distinctive new wireless Bluetooth speaker. Zooka promises to perform audio up to five times louder than the iPhone, iPad, or Mac laptop it works with, and interestingly can slide onto a laptop’s top, while a removable metal stand makes it an iPad holder, as well.
The elongated speaker comes equipped with two 30mm speaker drivers and features a 30 ft. Bluetooth range.
Zooka has a built-in microphone and a rechargeable battery that offers up to eight hours of play time. The speaker comes in eight different colors, and is available now.
Soundfreaq has announced Sound Platform 2 ($149), an updated version of Sound Platform that now features dual Bluetooth streaming—a novel technology that allows two systems to pair together to act as one system, with each handling left or right audio. Sound Platform 2 also offers larger speaker drivers, enhanced bass, dual USB charging ports, and an auxiliary input, as well as a device tray that can keep user-supplied charging cables out of sight. An optional rechargeable battery offers up to 7 hours of listening. It will be available at Target on Feb. 17, 2013.
Soundfreaq also announced two Lightning versions of its Sound Step speaker, the Sound Step Lightning and Sound Step Recharge Lightning — the latter comes equipped with a rechargeable battery. A new Lightning version of the Sound Rise alarm clock speaker was announced, as well. No prices were announced; these speakers will be available in spring 2013.
Bose has introduced the SoundDock Series III digital music system ($250), which is compatible with the Lightning connector and built for the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, and seventh-generation iPod nano, but not iPads. It’s the newest edition of Bose’s SoundDock Series — the original SoundDock debuted in 2004, followed by the SoundDock Series II in 2008, as well as the SoundDock Portable in 2007 and the SoundDock 10 in 2009. This is the first SoundDock to sell for less than $299, a price point that we’ve noted repeatedly was too high for the regular SoundDocks given the quality of the audio hardware inside.
An included remote controls the SoundDock Series III and playback controls for the iPhone or iPod, and an auxiliary input for other audio devices is also included. The SoundDock Series III is available now.
Philips has announced four Lightning connector speaker docks for Apple’s latest devices, including some designs that look familiar from prior products—and notably no prices, as of yet. The large, boxy Lifestyle Music System features a retractable Lightning dock, a CD player, and an FM radio, while the smaller egg-shaped Portable Docking Speaker is a compact speaker that promises eight hours of battery life.
Philips’ platform-styled Bedroom Docking Speaker features a clock display that automatically syncs with an iOS device, and a USB port is included on the back of the speaker to charge an additional device. Finally, the mid-sized, pill-shaped Room to Room Docking Speaker rounds out the group. According to the company, the speakers will be available this month, though it’s unclear as to how widespread their distribution will be and when prices will be announced.