Connected Objects Music

Vinci is a smart headphone with a screen on the side

Apple’s removal of the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 was a truly divisive move. Some see it a company prescient about the longer-term industry trends while others label it a cash grab. No matter what it really is, consumers are left to figure out what to do next. With the Vinci smart headphones, the choice is pretty easy.

The Vinci over the ear headphone is an internet-connected pair of Hi-Fi cans embedded with an AI-powered personal assistant (ala Amazon’s Alexa) to help facilitate a wide array of functionality. Users can interact with Vinci using taps and swipes on either of its colorful screens on either side or by simply using voice. Musically, Vinci’s AI continually learns about user preferences to recommend new songs, fine tune old playlists, or add a soundtrack to a workout session based on heart rate and pace. No matter the situation, though, the Vinci produces high-quality, immersive 3D sound and pairs it with 28 db of intelligent active noise canceling that still lets in important sounds to keep users safe and aware.

Music Networking

Nativ networked music system boasts high fidelity, large capacity

There are so many streaming music systems on the market that it’s hard to tell many of them apart outside of the industry-leading Sonos products.

Nativ, however, is a high-resolution music system with a distinctive design that adds video streaming to the mix. It’s made up of two separate devices with audiophile components: Nativ Vita, an 11.6-inch, touchscreen music player that provides a whopping 4 TB of music storage, access to a streaming service and whole home audio; and Nativ Wave, a digital-to-analog converter that connects Vita or any other digital device to an amplifier or AV receiver. Wave comes with a headphone amp for connection to a set of headphones (not included).

Vita resembles a tablet and can also be used without Wave to stream music directly to wireless speakers and headphones. It can also be attached to a TV via HDMI or wirelessly via Google Cast to view music videos. The built-in multi-directional microphone enables voice control to tell Vita what music to play, adjust the volume or skip to the next song.

Music Tech Accessories

Sno Speakers adds streaming, touchscreen to the portable speaker crowd

The Premise. Having music any time, any place, is something made increasingly possible through mobile devices. One new product delivers home audio quality with an integrated streaming interface for any music, anywhere.

The Product. Sno Speakers are the next in a growing line of all-in-one streaming music systems. Weighing in at under two pounds, the Sno system includes a proprietary OS that can access Pandora, Spotify, other streaming services, and also play music off internal storage ranging from 16 to 64 gigabytes. With 30 hours of playtime and a fog-proof touch panel, this Wi-Fi-enabled speaker can complement any social activity or be mounted on a wall to create a jukebox on-demand vibe in any room. Bluetooth 4.0 and AirPlay support ensure that music can also be streamed onto the speaker from virtually any device.

The Pitch. With an understated, scarcely narrated campaign video, Sno Speakers just shows the product in use, with pop-up video bubbles explaining the available features. The second half is dedicated to showing off the speakers in a variety of places they would excel, from parties to game rooms, showers to fishing trips. The rest of the campaign materials are dedicated more closely to providing technical specs and installation and mounting instructions for the device, which all look pretty simple and intuitive. Sno Speakers has a prototype in place and is ready to move onto manufacturing, trying to raise $75,000 to do so.

The Perks. A Sno Speaker with 16GB onboard storage is available for only $89. The 32GB model is available at the $109 level, and the 64GB model can be had for $125. Wall mounts are also available to create a stable panel for accessing room-filling music. All speakers are expected to be delivered August 2014.

The Potential. Sno Speakers are a great idea, but the portable 21st century boombox idea is already taking off. We’ve already covered the Auris Wily, which offers less onboard storage but more connectivity and utility options with its integrated camera, and other electronics giants have shown tablet-infused offerings. Ultimately if the Sno Speakers want a chance at finding market traction, it will have to be on the merit of its sound quality and the proving it’s a more convenient option than controlling via a smartphone.