06
Jan
Vizio-Thumb

Vizio's pulled the curtains off two new Portable Smart Audio speakers that are powered by Android 4.4. What makes them special are the touchscreens embedded into the front of each device. Instead of having to pair them with a phone using Bluetooth, users will be free to stream music directly from the likes of Spotify and Pandora or enjoy video from Netflix or YouTube. Think of each version as a bulky tablet that doesn't need to rest in your lap, one with speakers that you won't leave you reaching for earbuds.

Vizio2

The Portable Smart Audio line doesn't have the most memorable name, but consumers will have two options to pick from once these land on store shelves. The first, smaller option has a 4.7-inch screen and is roughly eleven inches in length. The larger version has a 7-inch screen and is six inches longer overall. The screen resolution is essentially the same for both, 1280x720 versus 1280x800.

VIZIO, INC. AUDIO LINE-UP

Both speakers come with local storage, Bluetooth support, and USB connectivity, so you won't have to rely on cloud services if you don't want to. You don't even have to stream media at all to get use out of the hardware. There's a mic included in each, so you can use the boxes for Skype chats or Google Hangouts instead.

The Portable Smart Audio line isn't due out until the second half of this year, so certain details haven't been set in stone. We don't yet know what storage sizes will be available or how much the speakers will eventually sell for. But in the meantime, you can get more information by checking out the snazzy source links below.

Source: Vizio, Press Release

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

    Why.

    • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

      Because pairing devices is hard. Gosh.

    • Cephas

      I sort of understand it. Throw Spotify on it and download all your music onto the speaker system itself.
      Means the battery drain is taken away from my phone.
      Means anyone can control the audio coming out (limited by what apps I allow).

      • Robert Alex Kibler

        That, and the music won't stop playing when you walk away with your phone. I regularly use the bluetooth in my car stereo whenever we're having a cookout or whatever. But if I have to run upstairs, I almost never forget to take my phone out of my pocket, meaning my phone inevitably loses connection and the music stops.

        • ddh819

          yeah and this is a little nicer than my current old phone on wifi hooked up to PC speakers in a bathroom caddy setup

    • Aaron Berlin

      It's too bad this doesn't have a camera to go with the mic - I could imagine something like this as a web appliance that just sits in the kitchen for video calling, internet radio and music streaming, etc. I'm impressed that it's running KitKat, if nothing else.

      • Aleksey_US

        I'm against the camera idea due to the fact that someone will be taking pics/video with it at some rally or a concert.

      • Mike Reid

        And then might as well throw in a phone & GSM/LTE data function too, LOL.

    • Sergii Pylypenko

      Bluetooth audio is still inferior in quality to plugging speakers into your phone. But then, you'll get a cable sticking from your phone.

    • OmniWrench

      I could see using it in my house, the wife is on iOs, I'm on Android, and all our house music is already sitting on a home server. We listen to music in the kitchen with the kids, so we could just use something like this instead of randomly connecting our hand-helds to some bluetooth speaker. i.e. Squeezebox, but using a small android device.

      It would likely be "slightly more convenient" to have a dedicated player that could do cloud stuff but not need a tethered handheld, but that said, the price of this thing will almost certainly put it into "what are you thinking honey?!?" territory, so I'm sure we'll stick with bluetooth.

  • RL010

    I like it, would be nice for an alarm clock with TuneIn and shuttle (for my music). If the price is right i will be interested

    • Robert Alex Kibler

      Don't get your hopes up on the price being right. Decent bluetooth speakers without a built-in tablet are too expensive. I'm imagining $300 for the 4.7", $400 for the 7".

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    Finally, a WiFi-enabled portable radio. It will probably be too expensive though.

    • Mike Reid

      There have been others, probably not billed as smart speakers though.

      Eventually adding "smart" could cost as little as $10-20 I think. And can eliminate the need for hardware knob volume and other controls.

  • Brayden Reesor

    "Both speakers come with local storage, Bluetooth support, and USB connectivity" so.. what about Wifi? This would be cool to be able to use with my Google music installed.

    • http://the-jade-domain.com Jaime J. Denizard

      It has WiFi. How else will it stream cloud music?

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