Canadian startup SproutBox Design says its Aivia speaker has similar smarts to Google's Home speaker and Amazon's Echo, but with improved sonic output. Like those devices, it can be controlled by voice, but it also has a tablet-like touchscreen, a video camera to the front, a wireless device charging surface up top and a 15-watt subwoofer out back.
The Aivia speaker has been 2 years in the making and was first shown at CES back in January. Now it's been launched on Kickstarter to fund production. The angular, scratch-resistant housing has been designed so that the back of the unit can be placed flush against a wall while still allowing for power cables to protrude from the rear. But it also has an integrated 10,000 mAh battery for 5 hours of cable-free continuous playback per charge.
There's an 8-inch HD touch panel which is tilted back for ease of use, and is used to access Android apps (such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify). SproutBox Design says that the most up to date version of Android available at distribution time will run the show. Users can also issue voice commands to Google Assistant.
The 9 x 6 x 5 in (23 x 15 x 13 cm), 2 lb (0.9 kg) entertainment hub features large full range speakers left and right and a subwoofer out back, which adds up to 10 watts each for the side drivers and 15 W for the bass thumper. All speakers were designed and tuned by Bang & Olufsen engineers, for the promise of top notch audio and booming bass when needed.
Users can stream digital content to the Aivia speaker over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, though it also has 32 GB of built-in storage for when out of range of the home router or a paired smartphone. Cabled connectivity comes in the shape of an aux input and two USB ports. Finally, the upper surface can wirelessly charge any compatible device placed upon it and there's an 8 MP camera facing front for video chats.
The Aivia speaker is expected to retail for US$399, but pledges over on Kickstarter start at CAD312 (about US$250). Backers will have a while to wait if everything goes to plan though, as shipping is not expected to start until July 2019. The pitch video below has more information.