Philips Announces Bluetooth Speaker Systems

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Philips stages a Holiday in June event every year as a way to promote and preview consumer electronics products it plans to push during the upcoming end-of-year holiday season. This year, that company previewed two new tabletop speaker systems aimed at the digital music crowd—and in addition to handling things like iPods and USB connectivity, the new units will support wireless A2DP Bluetooth streaming from phones or portable media player, enabling users to pump their music to a real speaker system without the hassle of having to dock a player and fuss with cabling.

“Growing demand for versatile entertainment is leading to more product convergence,” said Andy Mintz, Philips’ senior VP of marketing, in a release. “Philips’ Bluetooth Wireless Music System will stream music from any Bluetooth phone, wireless iPod(R) docking cradle or a PC.”

The new systems are dubbed the BTM628 and BTM630, with the 628 offering a satellite speaker design with separate wireless iPod dock, and the 630 offering an integrated console design. Philips has not released complete specifications on either unit, but says both units support MP3 players and other portable media devices via USB, can play back both standard audio CDs and MP3-CD and WMA-CD (and present track information on an integrated text display). The systems will also offer one-touch 2× CD ripping into MP3 format without using a separate computer.

In addition, when used with Bluetooth mobile phones, both units offer a full duplex speaker phone with a built-in mic and Caller ID display so users can easy switch back and forth between music and phone calls.

The BTM629 sports a Bluetooth-powered iPod dock, while the BTM630 sports an integrated iPod charging iPod dock, along with an SD/MMC slot for playing music stored on portable media cards used in some phones and media players.

Philips is a little inconsistent on pricing, saying the BTM628 will be available in September for a suggested retail price of $149, with the BTM630 landing in August for $199; however, the company’s press release states both units will be priced at $199.

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