Once upon a time, the mighty boombox was a staple of audio on the go, a pulsating package of portable partying. When the iPod became a huge hit, a number of battery-powered docking speakers arrived to amplify its extensive music libraries. And more recently, Bluetooth-based products accept streams from smartphones. But the reliance on iPods and smartphones took something away from the mostly self-contained boombox experience.
Those are the days that Auris is trying to recapture and modernize with ithe Zwing, a high-powered (110 dB), bass-tuned portable audio system that features a 7” Android touchscreen between its stereo speakers. Tapping Google Play, the Zwing can access virtually any mainstream music streaming service from a Wi-Fi connection. It can also access video streaming services that it can accompany with powerful audio. At least for music playback, the Auris is rated at 20 hours of battery life, so it should be able to provide the soundtrack through even Charlie Sheen-class blowouts.
The Zwing also has an HDMI connector for easy connection to a TV. And for those who would rather store their music and movies than stream them, it’s offered with up to 32 GB of flash memory plus room for 64 more via microSD. There’s also Bluetooth support for the opportunistic use of a smartphone’s screen versus the Zwing’s. Auris seeks $75,000 in its Flexible Funding campaign (which means it will deliver rewards even if it fails in its goal) due to end June 3rd.
Those who want to put a little more Android in their audio have a choice of limited early bird options that top out at $269 for the 32 GB Zwing. That includes a basic carrying bag and represents a 40 percent discount off the final retail price according to the campaign.
The Zwing is attractive and has very impressive battery life although its screen may well wash out in the bright sunny pool parties in which Auris portrays it in the campaign video. Beyond that, it is the latest attempt in a hard-luck category that has included a previous effort by the company (the cancelled Wily on Kickstarter), the more compact Zettaly Avy, and a line of similar products from Vizio that never appeared.