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Boom, Boom Logitech Finds A Wireless Audio Winner

By David Richards | Friday | 19/07/2013

Swiss accessories Company Logitech may have found the brand that delivers them the success they have been looking for. Back in 2008 Logitech aquired Ultimate Ears who yesterday rolled out an extremely clever waterproof wireless speaker that Companies like JB HI FI believe will be a hot seller this year.

During the past few years Logitech has struggled however their $34M acquisition of Ultimate Ears could deliver the Swiss accessories Company the product and brand that they need to get a return on their investment. 

At a press launch in Sydney yesterday the senior Vice President of the US based Company Rory Dooley revealed a new wireless Bluetooth speaker that is one of the best we have ever seen. 

At $199 this waterproof product is a skinny cylindrical device that pumps out 360 degrees of music and has a battery that delivers 15 hours of battery life.

A unique Swiss plasma coated material that is waterproof and stain resistant is wrapped around the NFC-enabled speaker, the fabric allows music to travel through it without distorting the sound.

The device will go head to head with new portable Bluetooth speakers from JBL, Beats and several other Hi Fi Companies who are looking to push cheap made in China imitations off the shelves of retailers. It could also impact the once popular but expensive Jambox which alongside the likes of the Logitech UE Boom.
What's really neat about the Ultimate Ears Boom is that two of the devices can be paired to deliver 360 degree stereo sound.

Users can pair two separate devices simultaneously, allowing two users to share the speaker and take turns to play music through either speaker. 
The only downside is that the speaker is only designed to work at this stage with an Android or iOS source. What would have liked to have seen is the ability to pair two speakers with a PC especially one of the new large screen all in one PC's?

During the past three years Logitech has struggled as the PC market collapsed and consumers turned to smartphones and tablets.

Management also struggled to make headway in the audio attach market, now their future is being bolstered by a $34M investment made five years ago in a leading audio Company. 

Speaking in Sydney yesterday Dooley said "Since its inception, Ultimate Ears has been driven by innovation, close ties to its customers, and the desire to enable an immersive audio experience. Logitech's success has been built on using a deep understanding of their customers to create products that let people immerse themselves in their pursuits."

He said that the combination of Ultimate Ears expertise and Logitech's distribution and engagement expertise is leading to growth in a market that he tips is set for rapid growth.

"The dock era is over and retailers had a lot of success selling docks, they now recognise that wireless audio and products like the Boom are replacing docks. People are fed up of being tied to an Apple proprietary system".  

Ultimate Ears was founded in when Jerry Harvey, Van Halen's primary audio engineer, produced a pair of in-ear monitors for drummer Alex Van Halen and, ultimately, the rest of the band. When the opening act, Skid Row, offered him $3000 for six pairs for their own use, Harvey reckoned he might have a saleable product and founded a company with his then wife, Mindy.
Mindy ran the business end of things back home in Las Vegas and Jerry continued touring with bands and promoting UE monitors.

Fortune Magazine at the time reported that by 2003 Ultimate Ears employed five technicians and did $5 million in business. That was also the year Harvey discovered a nifty little device called the iPod and recognized that he could sell a gazillion more in-ear monitors if he could design a more affordable line of products. The UE-5c debuted in January 2004. The problem was that the Harvey's needed to finance that growth with outside capital.

The Logitech acquisition came at precisely the right time. Jerry Harvey "retired" from UE after the launch of the UE-11 in 2007 and  today the operation is 100% owned by Logitech with the Company benefiting from the economies of scale and the international marketing know-how of Logitech.

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