Some accessory companies who have been selling low cost made in China "attach" sound systems are also coming under threat from traditional Hi Fi companies who initially resisted moving into the attach market, but have used the recent CES Show to launch a range of new high quality sound systems designed to work with a new generation of Android and Apple devices.
These companies, unlike brands like iLuv, TDK and Teac, are set to benefit from the brand pedigree associated with their Hi Fi history.
At this year's CES Show in Las Vegas, several accessory company executives admitted a move away from Apple devices which have a set form factor will hurt them due to the difficulty of designing, for what has been described as a "vast" range of Android attach devices, spanning smartphone and tablets.
Android now accounts for over 70% of all smartphones globally (72.4%), versus Apple's 14% in Q3, 2012 according to analysts at research group Gartner.
Executives from iLuv said the move away from Apple products was a "complex" issue: "We recognise that demand for Apple accessories could slow down. The real issue for us is that with Android devices there is no common form factor. We are currently developing new lines for the Samsung range of Android devices but this is just one vendor. There are so many different Android devices it will be very difficult for any company to get an advantage unless they have a unique design."
When it was put to the iLuv executive that some of their products on show at CES were Chinese copies of successful sound systems already on sale, the executive--who did not want to be named--said "Yes but ours are cheaper" .
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|Original Jawbox rear, iLuv copy in the front.|
When ChannelNews pointed out the close resemblance between the highly successful Jawbone Jambox player and the iLuv MobiOut, the executive said "we are not a sound company, we are an accessory company that makes low cost sound products. We now have Bluetooth built into our products and this is what retailers want".
Melissa O'Neil, the Marketing Manager at Force Technology, the distributor of the Jawbone's product range in Australia, said "We became aware at a recent Hong Kong Show that a lot of companies had moved to copy the design of the Jawbone product range. The one thing that they cannot copy is the quality and the prestige that goes with the Jawbone product range".
Geoff Matthews, the CEO of Convoy and a distributor of several successful Hi Fi brands, said "Several companies are now trying to sell knockoffs of premium quality brands. The headphone market is full of cheap made in China headphones and knockoff sound gear. We believe that the consumer is able to pick the difference.