Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550 wants to protect you from netbook heat, tinny audio

Look at this thing, now scope out Logitech's Speaker Lapdesk N700 and come back to tell us the difference between the two. Not that we'd ever dare question the sanity of having two Speaker Lapdesk SKUs, but you've got to admit Logitech hasn't really differentiated its new N550 -- a two-speaker, heat-shielded pad for treating your thighs with more kindness and less calefaction -- from its admittedly pricier predecessor. After doing some fine investigative journalism (i.e. reading the press release after the break), we've discovered that the N550 is designed for laptops with screens sizes up to 14.1 inches, and it also omits the USB-powered fan of the bigger N700. Good to know. Now if someone can explain to us why Logitech is announcing this game changer a whole three months ahead of its January 2011 release for £50 ($80), we'd be all set.

Update: Looks like Americans will see it in October for $59.99.

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Logitech Launches Speaker Lapdesk for People with Compact Laptops and Netbooks

Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550 Delivers Big-Time Sound and Comfort for the Small Screen

FREMONT, Calif. - Oct. 7, 2010 - Bringing you rich, stereo sound for your compact laptop or netbook, today Logitech (SIX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) unveiled the Logitech® Speaker Lapdesk N550, a comfy lapdesk that creates a theater-like entertainment experience around the home. A follow-on to the popular Logitech® Speaker Lapdesk N700, which is designed for laptops up to 16-inches, the Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550 delivers premium sound and comfort to people with laptops that are 14.1-inches or smaller.
"Lapdesks are the unsung heroes of the laptop and netbook world," said Denis Pavillard, vice president of product marketing for laptop accessories. "The Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550 solves the two complaints people most often report about their laptops and netbooks - poor audio quality and laptop heat. Using this one product can dramatically improve the experience people have with their laptops."
The Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550 features precisely placed integrated stereo speakers that sit on either side of your laptop and deliver rich, full stereo sound. The lapdesk's 4-layer, heat-shielding design, combined with the soft, air-mesh fabric, helps make laptop use more comfortable. The Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550's angled base raises your laptop screen to a comfortable viewing position, and integrated foldable bumpers on the lapdesk surface help keep your computer in place.
Logitech's newest lapdesk is also easy to use. There's no software to install - you simply plug a single cable into your Macbook®, laptop or netbook USB port to power the speakers.
Pricing and Availability
The Logitech Speaker Lapdesk N550 is expected to be available in October for a suggested retail price of $59.99.