Oakley Thump: Sunglasses Meet MP3 Player

From Oakley’s press release:

Oakley, Inc. today announced the introduction of Thump, the world’s first performance eyewear combining patented optics with an internally integrated MP3 music player. Oakley will launch Thump in December for the 2004 holiday season under an exclusive distribution arrangement with Circuit City Stores, Inc. for the consumer electronics channel. Thump will also be offered by Oakley’s own O Stores, online at Oakley.com and through limited specialty retailers.

“Oakley believes that Circuit City is the ideal retailing partner for this product launch during the 2004 holiday season,” said Oakley’s chief operating officer Link Newcomb. “We have the utmost confidence in their highly-trained sales specialists to demonstrate the unique features and unsurpassed benefits of Thump to customers.” “Oakley remains on the cutting edge of product development and Thump solidifies that position,” said W. Alan McCollough, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Circuit City Stores, Inc. “We look forward to being the primary holiday retail distribution partner for Oakley’s venture into electronics and offering one of the coolest holiday gifts to our customers.”

“Thump reinvents the experience of on-the-go music,” said Jim Jannard, chairman and CEO of Oakley. “The audio circuitry is built inside the eyewear frame, which means there’s nothing dangling from your body and there are no wires to get in the way.”

Oakley’s digital music player mounts the speakers to the eyewear frame with miniature extendible booms, enhanced with pivots. They allow the wearer to adjust speaker position for optimal ear placement and to reposition the speakers away from the ears whenever necessary. By pivoting the speakers, the wearer can control the balance between environmental sound and digital music. “When you want to carry on a conversation, you simply flip up the speakers,” continued Jannard. “We even designed the lenses with a pivot mount, so you can flip them up for low-light conditions.”

Oakley engineered premium analog and digital sound processing to match its new world-class design innovation. The integrated circuitry features a high performance 18-bit Sigma Delta DAC for high fidelity acoustics including a signal-to-noise ratio of greater than 90dB. An on-chip 75MHz Digital Signal Processor is optimized for extended battery life and tailored to decode high quality audio algorithms. Custom-engineered Mylar speakers offer a wide range of frequency response, up to the 20kHz limit of normal human hearing. Anti-pop and short-circuit protection are included. Volume, song selection and power are controlled via a convenient and intuitive five-button interface located on the earstem.

The new device plays MP3, WMA (DRM – both enabled and disabled) and WAV file formats. Its 128MB or 256MB NAND flash memory minimizes power expenditure. File transfer is completed with a simple “drag & drop” in Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X operating systems via a high-speed USB 2.0 connection that is backward compatible with USB 1.1. Although available storage capacity varies, the device also can store non-song file formats of virtually any kind, making it a convenient means of backing up important files and transferring files between computers.

Powered by an internal lithium ion polymer battery, a full charge is completed in just three hours, and an 80 percent fast charge requires only one hour. Depending on volume level, file compression mode, external temperature and other factors, the internal battery offers approximately six hours of play time between charges. For added convenience, Oakley included both an audible and visual charge indicator (via LED).

The electronics are fully integrated within a lightweight O Matter frame. The flip-up lenses are raked-back with 8.75 base lens curvature, maximizing peripheral view and improving protection against sun, wind and side impact. Oakley’s patented XYZ Optics maintains precise clarity at all angles of vision, even at the lens periphery.

Thump will be available in Circuit City stores nationwide for the December holiday season via Oakley’s exclusive consumer electronics distribution arrangement and will also be offered by Oakley’s own O Stores, online at Oakley.com and through limited specialty retailers. Distribution is expected to expand further in 2005, including a global introduction through Oakley’s international offices.

The suggested retail price of Thump is US$395.00 with 128MB of memory and US$495.00 with 256MB of memory and polarized lenses.