Vizio Debuts Portable Smart Audio Line [CES 2014]

Portable Smart Audio Family

You know it isn’t a CES trip without us stopping by Vizio to see what is new. While we see a range of new TVs and soundbars which all look great and are items you need to buy, what really stood out this trip was their debut of some portable smart audio devices. Dubbed the Vizio 7 and Vizio 4.7, these devices take portable audio in a different direction. Most devices in this space are Bluetooth devices that you stream music to and from your smartphone or tablet. But what Vizio did was instead to make the actual device itself smart.

Combining unparalleled high-quality audio performance with a built-in touchscreen display that runs Android KitKat, VIZIO’s latest audio innovation is built for easy direct streaming. Rather than being tethered to a Bluetooth-enabled or docked device, the VIZIO portable smart audio collection offers consumers all-in-one portability that allows audio and video apps to be streamed independently from smartphones or tablets. Thanks to Android KitKat, streaming content like music, TV shows, movies and games is easier than ever.

4.7 Inch Display Portable Smart Audio2 The innovative VIZIO portable smart audio line-up will debut with two sizes, offering either a 7” or 4.7” touchscreen display for easy access to Android apps for streaming audio and video playback. Equipped with 802.11n, apps can be downloaded and accessed whenever the portable smart audio device is connected to Wi-Fi. When out of wireless range, users can also play content from their smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth, or utilize the portable smart audio’s on-board memory for local playback of their favorite tunes. Alternatively, a USB port is available for additional storage expansion.

I personally think this is a good concept, but as I mentioned to them is just one foot away from being perfect. Vizio wants to bring out a devices that isn’t just a Bluetooth speaker you stream your music to, but a high quality audio system and stand alone by building in the Android “smart” experience to it. Thus making it independent of your phone or tablet. My take on this is, you came all the way thing, but then stopped right before the finish line. They way I see it, having Android in it makes perfect sense. I can add music and play it without needing my phone. BUT if I was to use it on the go (at a beach or picnic), I would no longer be in an WiFi area. So unless I decided to tether my smartphone or 3G/4G LTE tablet to it, I would only be able to use the music I had before I left house. I think if they were to also add in a cell signal as well, this would truly be a complete and standalone device without no need of an phone at all.

I think Vizio is on to something here, and is something I’ll be watching to see how they develop this. Currently there is no release date or price point, but I will keep you guys updated as I learn more!