Boomboxes Getting Bluetooth Update – Boomboxes from the ‘80s and ‘90s are having a comeback, but being updated with this century’s Bluetooth. Pyle Audio’s Street Blaster is their largest and most powerful outdoor Bluetooth speaker, said to deliver 1000-watt stereo output, and it comes with a rechargeable battery good for four to six hours. It has mic and guitar inputs so bands can amplify live music, and there are adjustments for tone, echo, volume and mic and guitar levels. A USB port can charge smartphones and blinking LEDs pulse to the music. It’s $249.
More Wireless Speakers from Samsung – Samsung now has both the Shape M5 and the larger wedge-shaped Shape M7 wireless speakers which can be connected in multiples so your music follows you from room to room. They have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, and are controlled with an Android app. You can also play music from your streaming radio apps or your own music collection. The speakers come ion white or black, and work lying flat, on their sides, or mounted to the wall. Their only cord is the power cord. There is also the HW-H750 Soundbar ($598) and wireless subwoofer. It is 320 watts and will play music from any other device besides the TV via Bluetooth. Since the Shape speakers don’t require multiple cables, you can place them where you want them in any room to achieve the desired surround effect, and no receiver is required. The M5s are $299 and the M7s $349.
Home-Automation Interest On the Rise – More affordable home-automation options and the ability to use smartphones and tablets to control home systems are opening up the market to younger middle-class consumers who own or rent, according to the PD Group. Although products for home automation aren’t in wide adoption yet, interest is building. 48% of consumers said they were either “extremely or somewhat interested” in purchasing home-automation products. Among smartphone/tablet owners, the figure was 62%. 88% of mobile device owners are aware of home-automation devices. Previously home automation required expensive equipment and professional installations and appealed mostly to upper-income home owners. Now a fifth of consumers who have home-automation products ren their primary residence.
FCC Rules Speed Up Wi-Fi Networks – The FCC has adopted new rules to accelerate Wi-Fi speeds in homes and in Wi-Fi hot spots. They apply only to the 5GHz band, will increase overall network capacity and reduce congestion at hot spots. The permissible power of Wi-Fi networks has been increased, and outdoor Wi-Fi hotspots can offer 1GB-download speed with the latest Wi-Fi version in the 5GHz band. The FCC is still considering opening up an additional 195MHz of bandwidth in the 5GHz band for Wi-Fi, expanding it by 35%. They are analyzing the two bands that would provide the extra 195MHz.