Sugr Cube wireless speaker plays music, offers sweet touch functionality

There are many Wi-Fi speakers on the market, but other than doing away with wires, they tend to work very much like old-fashioned wired speakers.

The China-based creators of the Sugr Cube Wi-Fi speaker have designed their product to directly stream online music, while also offering intuitive touch control functionality. The user just has to tap the speaker to play or pause a song, tilt it left or right for the next or prior song, double tap it to share the current song with those who have paired their own Sugr Cubes, and touch it and leave the hand there to share the current song with Facebook friends

The companion iOS app enables easy Wi-Fi setup, multi-room control, sleeping mode and alarm, and the ability to keep updating the speaker with new features. Android and other unspecified devices will be supported soon. Sugr Cube, which comes in wooden housing, currently supports iTunes music, Pandora and BBC radio. Other services may be added later. Backers who pledge $119 will get the speaker when it ships in June as part of an early bird Kickstarter discount. Its maker is looking to raise $50,000.

The speaker has a lot of promise. Although there are other Wi-Fi speakers that offer some degree of touch control, like the Aether Cone, Sugr Cube uses the feature more extensively. But it faces the same problem as any other speaker sold online by a new company: There is no way to gauge how good it sounds without hearing it in person.

Music Technology

Prizm teaches speakers to be in tune with your mood and your friends

The world of streaming music over the past decade has exploded, with dozens of companies offering competing services that all want to be your one and only source for tunes. But with the increase in all this choice, the process of figuring out what to listen to can be an unnecessary obstacle to our enjoyment.

A Parisian company created Prizm to facilitate the process of personalized music curation. The slick product connects to existing speakers through Bluetooth, optical, or a 3.5mm wire, and provides an interface to not only discover new music, but instantly sync your favorites to your playlists with a simple press of a button.

Prizm is clever, too: its contextual approach adapts to not only who is in the room, but the kind of atmosphere as well. If there are just two people present, it combines their tastes and plays a song they both enjoy. If there are 15 people present, the acoustic sensor will recognize the ambient noise and play something more suitable. Compatibility with Spotify, Deezer, and Soundcloud will ensure all users are represented with more services on the way. Interested backers can grab their very own device $129. These ideas have pushed the company towards their $70,000 goal.

The product that most closely resembles Prizm is the Aether Cone, but upon comparison the differences are stark. While the $399 Cone boasts a decent speaker to directly play the music you want, it is more of a streaming radio device. On the other hand, Prizm contains many more features allowing users a lot of personalization– even a friend’s Prizm will recognize who you are and adapt to your taste! This level of personalization and interconnectedness is impressive, even if it may tread very closely to the many privacy concerns up in the air these days.