On the same day as the Samsung press conference, we got to sit in during the Voxx International Corp. press conference where the mantra to “believe in less” was drilled into our heads. However, let’s be honest; when I come to any CES press conference, I don’t fully know what people are getting ready to unveil. The less I know, the better. During the press conference, Voxx announced a ton of new products for 2013 that offered to create a streamlined experience for us, the consumer. Today, I’ll run through all the highlights from the press conference and hopefully you’ll get a better sense of what the company is and has planned for 2013.
First up, Ian Geise, Senior Vice President, walked us through the upcoming personal home audio and charging products being released in 2013. Lately, it feels like we’re getting more clutter and more expense. Voxx believes in less. Fewer add-ons and a streamlined experience for real needs in the most straight forward way. Today, smartphones are your personal jukebox. We’re used to experiencing entertainment on the go but we’re often spending more time looking for cables to connect our devices to auxiliary inputs in our plug and play devices. Or how about when new connectors are developed that ultimately make your old devices obsolete.
> Personal Home Audio
During the press conference, Voxx announced “the launch of a new line of products incorporating Soundflow wireless audio, which instantly transforms smartphone audio into sound that’s rich and full. Soundflow requires no wires, no pairing. All you do is lay your smartphone on top of the product’s built-in Soundmat. Soundflow does the rest by flowing your smartphone audio to larger speakers. Soundflow wireless audio supports virtually all brands and models of today’s smartphones. In fact, almost any portable device with a speaker works with Soundflow wireless audio. VOXX Accessories Corp. will introduce 3 products featuring Soundflow wireless audio in 2013: 2 under the RCA brand and one (1) under the Acoustic Research brand.”†
VOXX Accessories Corp. begins its line of Soundflow products with the RC250 Wireless Dock Clock Radio with Soundflow. The RC250 uses Soundflow technology to turn smartphone audio into richer, fuller sound. Just put your smartphone on the RC250 Soundmat, and Soundflow does the rest, amplifying smartphone audio through the larger speakers on the wireless dock. The RC250 also features 1 USB charging interface that supports iPhone, Android, eReaders and most tablets, clock radio functions such as dual wake and FM radio, as well as a .9” LED display. The RC250 will be available in May of 2013 and will retail for $29.99.†
The AR ARS60 Bluetooth wireless speaker lets you bring your favorite music with you no matter where you go. This system lets you stream and control music from your smartphone or tablet, comes with dual drivers and a bass reflex system, and delivers 16 powerful watts of sound. The system also features a NiMH rechargeable battery, offering ten hours of music play time (at medium volume), a 3.5mm stereo input for wired devices, and includes a carrying pouch for safekeeping on the go. The ARS60 will be available in the spring of 2012, with a suggested retail price of $119.99.†
Acoustic Research® (AR) introduced today the Stream Wireless Home Audio System (STREAM2 and STREAM3), which will grant consumers high-performance whole-home audio by leveraging two technologies consumers already use: Wi-Fi and iTunes. Since the Stream System is wireless, it eliminates the expensive and messy custom installation most consumers associate with whole-home audio. And because Stream uses an existing Wi-Fi network, it skips complicated wireless setup.
“The marketers and developers at Acoustic Research asked a pool of consumers a simple question: if you could have a sound system in your entire home for less than $800, would you be interested? The response was an overwhelming yes. So, we made it happen,” said David Geise, President of VOXX Accessories Corp. “The Acoustic Research Stream Wireless Home Audio System takes the technology many consumers already have in their homes—Wi-Fi and iTunes on their computer—and leverages them to give consumers full, rich sound anywhere and everywhere at home.”
Because the Stream System uses AirPlay wireless technology and specially-tuned speakers, the result is as good as systems that cost several times as much. In addition, the Stream System is as easy to control as it is to set up—select speakers, adjust volume, choose songs and playlists, all through iTunes on a computer. You can even control the Stream System from an iOS device. The Stream Wireless Home Audio System will be available this month in two (2)-room (STREAM2) and three (3)-room (STREAM3) systems, with suggested retail prices of $399.99 and $599.99, respectively.†
The 808 full-size headphones are available in three (3) colors: black matte (HPA88BKM), black high gloss (HPA88BKG), and white high gloss (HPA88WHG). Each 808 full-size headphone features 40mm drivers and a foldable design, with two (2) detachable cables (round without mic and flat with mic) as well as a high-quality soft travel case included. These full-size models will be available this month for an MSRP of $99.99. The On-Ear 808 Drifts and In-Ear 808 Switch headphones will be available in the second quarter of 2013.†
> Charging Solutions
The RCA 4-port USB charger is the simplest possible solution to a problem that most modern families face: how to charge the family’s portable devices where and when family members want to charge them. Just plug a single RCA 4-port USB wall plate charger into almost any home outlet, and presto: instant high-speed charging for everyone! No more wall adapters hogging an entire outlet. No more waiting for slow-poke chargers to fill up Mom and Dad’s phones before you get your turn. And no more chargers that just flat-out don’t work with your device. The RCA 4-port USB charger offers four full-speed outlets for simultaneous rapid charging of four 1-Amp devices, like smartphones and eReaders. Two of the ports provide 2.1 Amp charging for simultaneous full-speed charging of two tablets. And the bottom 2.1 Amp outlet can accommodate virtually any USB-charged device on the market today, with a patent-pending switch that adjusts to the different charging circuitries in today’s devices—regular chargers can’t do this. The WP4UWR (white) and WP4UAR (almond) are available now, with a suggested retail price of $29.99.†
Discerning consumers carefully coordinate the most lived-in rooms in their homes, finding functional accessories and accents that blend with the style they’ve chosen. Addressing both functional needs and form requirements, the RCA Home USB Charger and LED Nightlight provides what almost every consumer wants in almost every kitchen and bath: the convenience of a soft-glow night light for getting around the house after bed, and the USB charging they need throughout the day. Consumers expect more from their outlets in these areas.
Research shows that over 75% of consumers want to charge their phones in the kitchen and just under 75% want the same for the bath as they prepare for the day ahead. The RCA Home USB Charger and LED
Nightlight provides an attractive nightlight and USB charging solution that’s designed to match kitchen and bathroom décor. The USBNLL1 (and color variations USBNLL2, USBNLL3, USBNLL4) will be available this March, with a suggested retail price of $16.99.†
RCA lets consumers make the absolute most of high-demand power outlets in the home, with a product that provides charging where people need it without asking them to sacrifice space. The Wall Plate USB Charger with Nightlight leaves a regular AC outlet for regular use, but it gives consumers two other functions as well: 2 USB charging outlets and an auto-sensor LED nightlight. The need for USB charging goes without saying—after all, there are more cell phones in the US than people! However, the research and development teams at RCA have also determined that nightlights are still one of the most common permanent outlets residing in high-traffic areas.
Hence, the wall plate USB charger with nightlight offers a simple plug-and-use design that not only gives consumers USB charging where they want it—it actually gives them back an outlet where they need it most! The WP2UNLW (white) and WP3UNLA (almond) will be available this March, with a suggested retail price of $24.99.†
Soft Light Clock Radio with Motion Activation
With a wave of your hand and the clock radio conveniently turns on the light so you can see the time or have a light to guide you around in the dark.
* Built-in softlight: convenient light on the nightstand
* Motion activation: for nightlight on/off and snooze
* 0.9″ blue LED display
* Display and nightlight brightness control†
Introducing Clean Shield, a remote control that’s not only easy to clean but that is actually designed to protect itself from dust and debris. Its smooth surface lets you wipe away spills and residue, while the Clean Shield also protects itself with an outer membrane that prevents dust and debris from settling between the keys. It’s a simple remote that’s easy to clean.†
* Controls TV, SAT-CBL-DTC
* Protects itself with outer membrane that prevents dust and debris from settling between keys
* Cleans up quickly and easily†
> Streaming solutions
[New] Roku Ready® digital antenna will allow consumers to receive over-the-air local HD broadcast and streaming entertainment from the Roku platform which features hundreds of entertainment channels. VOXX will introduce the new digital antenna with Roku Streaming in the fourth quarter of 2013 under the RCA and TERK brands.
“TV-watching habits are changing, with more and more consumers getting their entertainment from over-the-top sources, like Netflix and Hulu. Consumers are also realizing in growing numbers that over-the-air digital TV gives them the best picture and the most options for programming,” said David Geise, President of VOXX Accessories Corporation. “Roku is the leading provider and innovator in streaming, with a line of award-winning products. We are the market leader in over-the-air digital TV reception. We believe the marriage of the two will create an exciting product for consumers who are looking for an innovative way to receive their TV entertainment.”†
Overall, RCA is about simplifying, saving time and energy as well as getting your money’s worth.
> Car Solutions
Afterwards, Audiovox Electronics’s President, Tom Malone, gets things started by reminding us that in order “[to] know where you’re headed, you need to know where you’ve been”. Audiovox introduces a new era of growth and innovation through the announcement of a rear view mirror navigation, wireless chargers, and a Siri head mount. We take a look at how your driving experience would be changed through some Audiovox these as well as a few other innovations.
Rear View Navigation
Rear view navigation embeds GPS navigation into the rear-view mirror, a place where you are already looking. The navigation is only on when it needs to be or when a command is given. Also has lane assist built into the system with 3D graphics. Additionally, you will be able to pair your phone to the system which is built into the mirror with the navigation system. I wasn’t able to find the press release for this one, but I bet if anyone is interested, I could definitely hunt for more info.
The automotive wireless charging Qi Cradle features a stylish and ruggedized design that comes in four (4) colors to allow for in-vehicle personalization. The universal design features quick release locking arms that will hold most smartphones. The Qi Cradle is designed with optimized heat dissipation, capacitive sensing to activate charging and an LED indicator which highlights charging status. The cradle includes a slim design, automotive 12-volt adapter (CLA). There are two mounting options; a suction cup mount and a cup holder mount to accommodate the consumers’ preference and address some state regulations regarding mounting locations. The target MSRP for the Qi Cradle is under $70 plus the selected mounting system, and will be available in the summer of 2013.†
Advent® branded OE-styled multimedia Nav Systems
Introducing Advent® branded OE-styled multimedia Nav Systems are iPhone5/iOS6 compatible and Siri compatible. In addition, the systems are also compatible with Android-based activation devices.
“I am pleased to say that our internal engineering team has certified the complete line of Advent
OE-styled multimedia head units compatible with the new iOS6 platform. This will allow
drivers to have more Siri voice activated capabilities, which will further enhance both driver
safety and convenience,” said Tom Malone, President, Audiovox Electronic Corporation.
Consumers continue to drive connectivity. They’ve invested billions in personal media devices
and other electronic technologies and they want it all to connect – without care or hassle – when
traveling in their cars. Advent has made this possibility a reality by faithfully engineering
advanced connectivity into every product in its line, making connecting quick and simple. The
Advent systems will operate through the vehicles voice activation feature or Bluetooth button.†
Car Connection Pro
Car Connection Pro includes the ability to add a remote start and/or lock/unlock module to the already popular Car Connection telematics device. Car Connection Pro will be available at 12 Volt dealers everywhere. In addition to the new features, Car Connection Pro allows the consumer to Monitor, Manage, Maintain and Control their vehicle’s health, driving habits, location, and through optional ZoomSafer technology, even restrict cell phone usage while driving. The company will be adding Automatic Crash Notification (ACN) that will allow the driver to designate who they would like notified if their vehicle, is involved in a collision and Roadside Assistance. Car Connection Pro will utilize the Sprint wireless network in the U.S. and the real-time monitoring capability will go through OmniLink.
“Car Connection is one of the most exciting products we have brought to market in some time. Adding the remote start and lock/unlock capability gives 12 Volt dealers a great profit opportunity and incentive to carry this product,” said Tom Malone, President of Audiovox Electronics Corp. “Dealers can sell Car Connection Pro alone-a new category and new profit opportunity-or they can attach that sale to a remote start module or lock/unlock module. The products are all professionally installed so the dealer has that profit opportunity as well,…all while giving the consumer the ultimate in vehicle monitoring programs.”
Car Connection Pro utilizes an innovative user interface accessible from your laptop, tablet or smart phone that allows you to monitor driving habits and vehicle location using Safety Zones (Geo-fences), stolen vehicle recovery, and even find your way back to your vehicle in a crowded parking lot with Car Connection’s built-in Lot Spot™ feature.
An online account with Omnilink is required to activate all the Car Connection Pro features. Two services plan options: 1) $9.95 per month + $19.95 one- time activation fee or 2) $89.95 per year (over $25 savings) + $19.95 one device activation fee. These options provide consumers with the flexibility to select the package that best suits their needs.
Car Connection Pro allows consumers to print out vehicle diagnostic reports to bring to their mechanic; lets you monitor fuel economy and can even assist in the coaching of young or elderly drivers. One of the key features of the product is its ability, through optional activation of the ZoomSafer software, to manage the driver’s cell phone use even eliminating the ability to text while driving.
Car Connection Pro also includes driver scoring and the company plans to announce partnerships with auto insurance carriers for future Usage Based Insurance (UBI) programs this coming year.
Audiovox has partnered with Agnik, Omnilink, and Sprint for this program. Agnik will be supplying the vehicle analytic data that resides in the module; Omnilink will provide the online interface and Sprint the wireless access.
Car Connection Pro Key Features:
* Remote Start The ability to remote start and stop a vehicle from your smartphone
* Lock/Unlock Remotely lock and unlock a vehicle from a smartphone .
* Driver Scoring Monitor driver habits. Great for coaching new or aging drivers.
* Fuel Savings Monitor daily driving habits and generate reports. Gives fuel savings tips.
* Vehicle Location Know where your vehicle is, or where it is heading. Track online or form a smartphone in real-time. Notifies you if your vehicle has been moved or towed.
* Restrict Phone Usage Smartphone app for Android and Blackberry to limit control of the phone while driving.
* Safety Zones Know where and when your teen or aging driver travels. Set boundaries and receive notifications and alerts when a boundary is breached.
* Vehicle Health Know what your mechanic knows before you go for a service.
* LotSpot Guides you back to your car no matter where you are.†
† Denotes anything that was provided from an official Voxx Press Release. Direct links provided where available. Images provided by Voxx.
About VOXX International Corporation:
VOXX International Corporation (NASDAQ:VOXX). The Company that began as Audiovox over 45 years ago has morphed into a worldwide leader in many automotive and consumer electronics and accessories categories, and now into premium high-end audio. The Company’s brands hold leading market positions across a wide-spectrum of consumer and automotive segments.
Today, VOXX International is a global company….with an extensive distribution network that includes some of the world’s Fortune 500 companies and an international footprint in Europe, Asia, Mexico and South America, and a growing brand portfolio, which is now comprised of over 30 trusted brands including Audiovox®, Klipsch®, RCA®, Invision®, Jensen®, Acoustic Research®, Jamo®, Energy®, Mac Audio®, Magnat®, Heco®, Schwaiger®, Hirschmann Car Communication® and Oehlbach®. The Company continues to drive innovation throughout all of its subsidiaries, and maintains its commitment to exceeding the needs of the consumers it serves. For additional information, please visit our Web site at www.voxxintl.com.