Monday, May 19, 2008

Sunday's Globe column: Trying to Best Bose

Yesterday's Globe column focused on Chestnut Hill Sound, a small Newton start-up that is competing head-to-head with more established players like Bose, Boston Acoustics, and Tivoli in the market for iPod-compatible music systems.

Here's the opening:

    Only a few weeks after launching his first product, Steve Krampf realized his tiny Newton company had shown up as a blip on the radar screens of two of the biggest players in home audio: Bose Corp. and Boston Acoustics.

    Two orders trickled in, one each from the two rivals, for the $499 iPod-compatible music system that Krampf's company, Chestnut Hill Sound Inc., launched last year.

    Krampf wasn't surprised that other audio companies were doing some intelligence-gathering; he'd been doing the same with their products, analyzing their acoustical qualities, ease of use, and electronic innards.

And here's the video, with Chestnut Hill CEO Steve Krampf demoing his system:

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday's Globe column: Consumer Electronics for 2008

Yesterday's Globe column focuses on some of the consumer electronics products we'll see from Boston area companies in 2008, starting at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. (One company I should've included, but forgot: Chestnut Hill Sound and their George iPod dock.)

From the column:

    The consumer electronics industry fuels its growth not only by introducing new technologies, but by persuading you to ditch perfectly good products for Version 2.0. The Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes the Consumer Electronics Show, expects the US-based segment of the consumer electronics industry to hit $160 billion in revenues this year. And in no industry do fresh products become has-beens so quickly - except perhaps for sushi.

    But while thousands of new and improved products will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 7 and MacWorld, Apple's major trade show on Jan. 14, talking about them in advance could cause consumers to put off purchases, holding out for the next generation of a products, and the promise of longer battery life, higher resolution, or a less-painful price tag.

Here's the video: conversations with San Francisco-based Bug Labs, and Cambridge-based Ambient Devices about what they're up to:

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Monday, December 3, 2007

'Shocks and awe': Bose's new auto suspension system

I wrote about Bose's secret project to reinvent automobile suspension systems back in June of 2004. Three and a half years later, my Globe colleague Jeff Krasner reports, Bose is still not willing to let journalists drive the demo car outfitted with the heavenly shocks...and Bose still hasn't landed an automaker partner to put the shocks into actual cars.

I guess that if I were to look on the bright side, I'd say that it's a nice thing that 78-year old Amar Bose, the company's founder, still believes in long-range R&D.

A bit from Krasner's piece:

    Bose said a high-end Cadillac would be an ideal platform for his system, and acknowledges that General Motors gave Bose Corp. a big boost when it became the first car company to install its sound system (in a Cadillac) in 1981. But though the suspension system was a success when it was demonstrated to General Motors, he said, talks haven't progressed.

    "When we get ready, we'll give them an opportunity," he said.

    Another possibility, according to analysts, is Audi, the luxury arm of Volkswagen AG, Europe's largest automaker. Audi offers Bose sound systems on its models, and its large A8 luxury sedan has a reputation for employing advanced technology - it has an aluminum frame, unique among large cars.

    "We've shown the system to all of the major manufacturers and Audi has not expressed much interest at this point," said Bose.

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