While the fashion-focused headphones stole the show at the Monster press conference this morning, the company announced a bevy of other innovations that will be introduced to consumers this year. They also notified us that (appropriately) they will now be called just Monster, instead of the company’s former official name of Monster Cable.
First we have a new power management system from Monster and the folks over at Power People. With the aim of eliminating so-called “vampire energy,” energy that gets used by chargers and the like even when you don’t have a device connected, the two companies have joined together to create a power management system that works with a PowerCenter and an app on your phone or other device. Monster will be offering a family of PowerCenters, including the PRT 100M ($60), PRT 100MC ($70), and PRT 300 MC ($120). These will all work with a coordinating GTW 100 Gateway ($60) or users can opt to buy a package deal with the PRT 300MC and the GTW 100 for $150.
The main selling points here are that one, users can monitor and track usage hours and dollars of energy over time, and two, users can schedule connected devices to turn on and off at certain times. This means that you could schedule your gadgets, chargers, or other electric home appliances to turn off at 8 am when you leave for work and turn back on at 5 pm when you return. Through the Power Control App, user’s can also turn on or off connected devices at any time. The goal of this is to eliminate unnecessary energy use while you’re not using it, ultimately saving the consumer some dollars.
While it was packed on either side by seemingly more important announcements, Monster also announced a compact portable wireless speaker called the Clarity HD Micro ($220). This small Jambox competitor combines portable audio with an effective speakerphone and voice command and control. We witnessed Noel Lee demo some of the voice command voices that can be downloaded from the internet by users, including a chill reggae character and a chatty Brit. The Micro is said to ship in March and will initially come in black and white, with added customized grilles in different colors and prints to be available at a later date.
From there, the packed press conference was all about headphones. In true form to its love of collaborations, Monster is now partnering with Livestrong to create a pair of sports-worthy durable earbuds that claim to pack powerful audio specs. The iSport Livestrong Edition in-ear headphones will retail for $180 starting in February (they’ll be available at partner Radioshack) and a portion of the profits will go to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The earbuds feature a special ear clip design, will be washable and sweatproof, and come in the signature Livestrong yellow color.
In yet another partnership, Lee Skyped in celebrity Nick Cannon to talk about Monster’s new Ncredible line of headphones aimed at younger consumers as well a variety of accompanying bags and backpacks. Stepping away from the generally high price tags of most Monster products, the new Nergy and NTune headphones will retail for $70 and $130 respectively. The Nergy in-ear style has fun features like magnetized buds that lock together like a necklace, and the NTune on-ear style is designed to offer big sound and eye-catching style; both feature a Control Talk playback control and hands-free calling for Android and BlackBerry devices. Both models are available now.