Apple and HTC might be at each other's throats in court, but they're living in peace and harmony in Pioneer's world. The fresh new SMA wireless speaker line supports both Apple's AirPlay format and HTC Connect-certified DLNA to take audio over WiFi no matter whether it's coming from an iPhone or a One S. Proof that we can all get along is good in itself, but Pioneer is also throwing in Wireless Direct, a trick that turns the speaker into its own WiFi access point if it can't latch on to a nearby router. Pioneer's stratification of the range is dictated by whether you value freedom or raw power. The XW-SMA1 is the baseline with two 3-inch speakers and a 3 / 4-inch tweeter, with a bass reflex port doing its best to mimic a subwoofer; the XW-SMA3 is the exact same with a lithium-ion battery good for six hours of cord-free play, and the XW-SMA4 goes battery-free but rolls in a proper 4-inch subwoofer and an extra tweeter. The lot arrives in August and costs either $299 for an SMA1 or $399 for either of its premium siblings.
Pioneer SMA wireless speakers hands-on
Zach Honig contributed to this report.
NEW WI-FI SPEAKERS FROM PIONEER FIRST TO INCORPORATE HTC CONNECT
SMA Series of Speakers Support Advanced Wireless Connectivity Including HTC Connect
NEW YORK – CEA Line Show – (June 27, 2012) – In support of HTC Corporation's new exclusive HTC Connect™ program, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. proudly introduces three new Wi-Fi® speaker systems, the XW-SMA1, XW-SMA3 and XW-SMA4, that allow wireless streaming of audio files from HTC One smartphones1 directly to the speakers, as well as DLNA 1.5 certification and Pioneer's Wireless Direct feature.
"We're continuing to expand our product categories with devices that embrace the growing smartphone market," said Russ Johnston, executive vice president for the Home Electronics Division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. "By introducing the SMA wireless speakers with HTC Connect, we're solidifying our commitment to developing innovative products that support one of the most popular operating system platforms and smartphone manufacturers in the market."
HTC Connect compatible smartphones provide complete control of both music content and the volume transmitted to the Pioneer speakers. In addition to HTC Connect, DLNA 1.5 is also supported, as well as Pioneer's new Wireless Direct technology. By creating its own Wi-Fi wireless access point, Wireless Direct enables users to stream music directly from their smartphones to the speakers when a traditional Wi-Fi or home network is not available.
Ensuring the SMA speakers produce exceptional sound quality, each model was tuned by Pioneer's chief speaker designer Andrew Jones. Further differentiating them from other wireless speakers on the market, Pioneer chose to take advantage of Wi-Fi's high bandwidth to provide the highest sound quality without additional audio compression.
• XW-SMA1 – Features dual 3-inch speakers and a ¾-inch soft dome tweeter, and uses a tuned bass reflex port to enhance bass response.
• XW-SMA3 – Using identical audio components as the XW-SMA1-K, the XW-SMA3-K model adds a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery and a tough exterior for added convenience and portability. When battery power is used, music playback lasts up to 4 hours at maximum volume and up to 6 hours at 50 percent volume.
• XW-SMA4 – Features five speakers, including dual 3-inch speakers, a dedicated 4-inch subwoofer and dual ¾-inch soft dome tweeters.
The Pioneer SMA Wireless Speakers will be available in August with suggested retail prices of $299 (XW-SMA1), $399 (XW-SMA3) and $399 (XW-SMA4).