The Premise. It seems a week doesn’t go by without some company announcing a new portable speaker to tap into the rising tide of inexpensive smart devices such as Android tablets. Those devices today are often bridged using Bluetooth, but it might be more convenient to just have them merged into one.
The Product. The Auris Wily is basically a tablet with built-in sound, enabling it to easily access a wealth of popular audio sources such as Pandora, Spotify and Slacker as well as music stored on its internal flash memory and microSD card. It also has an HDMI connector so you can connect it to a TV and use it to stream video from Netflix, HBO Go or other sources. The curvy speaker even has a few other tricks up its sleeve such as being able to be used as a speakerphone or video chat terminal thanks to an integrated 2 MP front-facing camera. The Wily sports sleek, rounded, futuristic styling, similar to 60’s art-deco furniture; endearing, which is endearing in that tacky Jetsons sort of way. Available in red, white and black, it can also pump the volume thanks to its 90-decibel speakers.
The Pitch. The creators of the Wiley make their case with a video that features high production values, including an orchestral soundtrack and expensive digital transition effects. Detailed pictures of everything from production sketches to user-interface closeups are included and it runs through a detailed list of the products specs.
The Perks. Set to release in June 2014, the Auris Wily will cost early birds $169 for a model with 8 GB of on-board memory, and $188 for 16G. It will be available to backers for $189 for the 8 GB version and $208 for the 16 GB version.
The Potential. Although the Auris Wily logo bears a striking resemblance to that of the “Beats” franchise (Seriously, it looks like they just flipped it over) its design and concept stands out. The Wily comes on the heels of January’s announcement of Vizio’s portable smart audio system, which is heavier (8.8lbs for similar, 7-inch screen option) and has less bass response (60Hz). The Wily could be a fun poolside companion to backers who’d rather keep their smartphones out of the streaming chain this summer.