Harman InternationalSales PrimerPortable Speakers Ravi Lakkundi Product Manager, India Harman International India (Pvt) Ltd Published on: 19 Sep 2012
Harman InternationalIntroductionConsuming music/media on-the-go started with walkman’s which had earphones/headphone coupledwith it. The trend which has not changed in principle for long, consumers now have personal portable‘digital’ media devices viz. iPod/iPad/iPhone/other smartphones which are used for media storage andplayback. The media residing on such devices is played-back over a pair of superior quality earphone/orheadphones.Earphones/Headphones are more of personal music accessory, the music played back is for self to enjoy.Personal audio systems like Headphones are not suitable for social settings or for a ‘mini’ socialgathering. In such social meetings one certainly needs portable speakers. Portable meaning a device thatcan be carried, at the same time allowing one to play music for self and surroundings.Portable speakers have much larger usage scope, not limited to social events. Whether one is at home,in the kitchen, on a road trip, in a hotel, on a holiday, with friends, on the beach --- listening and sharingmusic is what music lovers generally do. If the music is played over one such portable speaker having theability to fill in a small to medium sized rooms, the music experience will certainly be a notch above.This whitepaper is a guide to customers looking for buying/upgrading such portable products. The paperhas some buying tips for customers, tips that focus on price and key target features of a portablespeaker product.El caso de uso !Even the smallest home speakers and receivers/amplifiers are not portable. Only a different category ofspeaker product addresses the growing market need, a need that is triggered by many people who areon the move.Portable speakers are plenty in the market and customers now have wide variety of choices on theirplatter. With multiple brands, feature packed products and amazing designs, one should be careful inselecting such products based on the need and target usage.It would be beneficial if we list the features such portable speakers and later delve into usecases
Harman InternationalThe Features • Portability Portable products need to be portable!! Meaning they should easily fit in ones pocket or backpack. Speakers should be easy to carry and move around. • Good Sound and Power Sound quality is always subjective, but for any speaker that’s designed for ‘on the go’, loudness is one key criterion. It’s probable that the user who is operating such device is in an open area with some friends; hence loudness becomes a key feature. It surely will be desirable if the speaker has acceptable bass performance and a stereo sound field. • Ease of Use The speaker should be easy to use, it should not be an over feature rich product and confusing to use. Any product that is over engineered, probably suffered lack of prioritization in the concept stage. • Source and Connectivity Needless to say, speaker products need to have input audio connection. Mainly a 3.5 mm audio jack, every smartphones/portable media devices has this standard 3.5mm connection and thus this requirement. Wireless connectivity is also a desirable feature, Bluetooth for entry level portable speaker system and Airplay for a little high end system. • Battery Operable Many portable speakers come with capabilities of operating on AA/AAA sized batteries. Although battery operation is a must feature but It’s always beneficial to have some kind of Li-Ion batteries which are rechargeable with micro usb/usb chargers. Reason being these pin types are widely available and speakers supporting this type of batteries and charging systems can be charged from any laptops or AC adaptors. A typical playback time of these battery operable speaker systems should be anywhere from 5 to 8 hours based on speaker size and power. For a little larger speakers yet portable ones the charging pins can be usual barrel connectors, since these will provide fast charging and with bigger batteries a longer playback. • Design and Form Factor Design and form factor are not to be neglected, after all looks matter. The product should be structurally designed correctly and should be usable. The design aspect is very subjective and difficult to quantify, so go for what you like! Preferably not a box
Harman InternationalPortable Speakers can be used in many places as depicted belowThe GuideListing all of such possible scenarios is a difficult task. We surely have creative customers out there whocan imagine a larger set of use case! than what is depicted above.Some of the features listed above may take a back seat while selecting portable speakers based on theusage. Example say Mono/Stereo speakers, if you are a casual listener of music and are travelling a lot, itprobably will be good if you carry a mono speaker system for your music. This will be a personal audiodevice but something more useful than a headphone.
Harman InternationalSince these portable speakers are often used with smartphones, it would be interesting to look forhands free calling feature over Bluetooth in such portable speakers. This feature will be interesting insocial/family conferencing.ConclusionPortable speaker is a must to have entertainment device for music lovers or casual listeners. Withmultitude of use cases one should choose such a device carefully based on the need. These speakers arepriced anywhere between 30 USD to 120 USD based on brand and product category (Entry, Mid/High).ReferencesFor the ones who wish to read more here are some reference World Wide Web links www.harman.com www.jbl.com http:// cnet.com/