CES 2013: Harman Unveils New iOS JBL Speaker Docks And AV Receivers

By Alexandra Burlacu email: a.burlacu@mobilenapps.com | Jan 09, 2013 08:09 AM EST

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This year's International CES (or CES 2013) tech fest is ready to blow minds, and Harman has stamped its presence at the show with five new products.

CES 2013 may center on Windows 8 computers and even more smartphones, but several speaker docks are expected to make a splash. In fact, this year's show appears to be shaping up as the biggest showcase yet for iOS speaker docks, as well as other accessories that support Apple's new Lightning connector.

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Harman, the company behind the JBL line of speakers, will be joining the game with five new products: three JBL speakers and a pair of AV receivers. In terms of speakers, Harman announced its most expensive Lightning dock yet - the JBL OnBeat Rumble, along with a new mid-range speaker called the JBL OnBeat Mini and the JBL Charge Bluetooth speaker.

The JBL Charge Bluetooth speaker claims to have a 12-hour battery life on a single charge, and comes with a $149 price tag. It is a stereo speaker with two 1-5/8-inch full-range drivers and a 2 x 5-watt amplifier. The portable stereo speaker sports a rugged, durable exterior and grille, as well as rubber end rings and a rubber cap for the USB port. Meanwhile, an LED light alerts users when the battery is running low, or when the speaker is in Bluetooth listening or pairing mode.

"The JBL Charge is a durable speaker that goes wherever you go, providing a high-quality audio experience and the convenience of long-lasting power," said Sachin Lawande, executive VP of Harman and co-president of HARMAN Lifestyle and Infotainment. "It is a sophisticated speaker with two high-performance drivers and a built-in bass port that is unmatched in the market. Music fans will hear the truth with the JBL Charge."

The JBL Charge also comes with a 1/8-inch (3.5mm) stereo mini jack for use with non-Bluetooth-equipped devices, and it ships with a Neoprene carrying pouch for convenient portability. The gadget will be available in several colors, including blue, green, and black, from select retailers or the company's Web site during the Q1 2013.

Meanwhile, JBL is expanding its OnBeat family with the Mini and Rumble speaker docks, both of which are compatible with Apple's new Lightning connector. The Mini is a fairly standard dock, and the company touts it as the first portable speaker dock with a Lightning connector specifically designed for Apple's latest iOS devices, including the iPad Mini.

The JBL OnBeat Mini provides up to five hours of playback when used with batteries, and charges the iPad Mini, iPhone 5, fourth-generation iPad, and new iPad models when used with the bundled AC adapter. The gadget also includes a built-in USB connector to power and play other devices.

"This portable Lightning dock continues our leadership in being first to market with high-quality docking stations designed specifically for Apple iOS products," said Lawande. "The JBL OnBeat Mini delivers a truly robust listening experience and goes wherever you go, a feature today's mobile consumer demands so they can hear the truth."

To preserve battery life, an auto-standby feature turns of the dock after 10 minutes of non-use. Meanwhile, and LED status indicator alerts users when the dock needs new batteries. The JBL OnBeat Mini will be available in black or white, with a $149 suggested retail price, in March, from select retailers or the company's Web site.

The JBL OnBeat Rumble, meanwhile, stands at the higher end. The gadget sports both Lightning and Bluetooth streaming options, as well as a 4.5-inch "down-firing subwoofer" for bass addicts, and Harman describes it as a "room-rattling loudspeaker."

The Rumble packs Harman's exclusive TrueStream technology, and combines a 4-1/2-inch subwoofer with proprietary Slipstream port technology so that the bass pounds with low distortion. The Rumble charges Apple Lightning products when they are docked.

"JBL is a brand synonymous with rock music, and we know our fans will love the capabilities and performance that will resonate from this loudspeaker. The JBL OnBeat Rumble is the premiere speaker dock in our growing portfolio of Lightning-equipped audio products, the bass performance is unmatched in the market, and music fans will hear the truth with this special speaker," noted Lawande.

That extra sizzle, however, comes with a price to match: the Rumble comes with a suggested retail price of $399, and it will become available this spring from select retailers and the company's Web site.

Lastly, Harman is also showing off a couple of new Kardon-branded A/V receivers at the 2013 International CES - the AVR 2700 and AVR 3700. Both receivers sports multi-zone functionality, both pack a slew of features such as Internet radio, AirPlay and DLNA connectivity, and both can be controlled using iOS and Android apps.

The AVR 2700 features eight HDMI ports and 4K video scaling, along with 7.1-channel audio (100 watts per channel). The 3700 adds Wi-Fi connectivity, and features 7.2 channels (125 watts per channel), adding a second woofer to the setup.

Both the AVR 2700 and the AVR 3700 are set to become available in Q1 2013, with $799 and $999 price tags, respectively.

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