Bluetooth speakers are ubiquitous these days, so it's no surprise to see some companies going out on a limb to set themselves apart. OM Audio, however, is venturing beyond that limb into thin air with its new OM/One floating speaker. Not only is levitation a neat gimmick, but it supposedly also helps the sound travel better. Even if it doesn't, at least it looks cool.
The OM/One includes the basic speaker specs, like Bluetooth 4.0 for quick syncing to smartphones and an on-board microphone for speakerphone. OM Audio says that the levitation feature also helps sound travel better and lets the speaker use less power.
The logic goes that while competitors like the Jawbone Jambox use about 10 watts to pump out sound at 110 decibels, OM/One needs only three watts because of the increased surface area. That would mean the speaker can run at 70 per cent volume for a solid 15 hours. That's a feature we'd have to see to believe. An audio expert told Yahoo Tech that the idea "doesn't really hold water", so the levitation gimmick is probably just a gimmick, but at least it's an amusing one.
An electromagnet in the speaker base responds to a Neo magnet in the south pole of the speaker, allowing it to float even if you tap or push the speaker in either direction. However, you'll need an AC adaptor to power the base, so the speaker isn't quite as portable as it sounds. The speaker works with or without the base, but then again a sphere-shaped speaker that rolls around on the ground just isn't as cool. And according to OM Audio's own logic, it will also be less efficient.
For now, the OM/One is available for $US180 through a crowdfunding campaign, and the standard warnings apply; you can't be sure what you'll actually get. It's unclear what the company plans to do if they don't hit their $US100,000 goal. But with over $US40,000 raised on the first day of the campaign, things are looking good. [OM Audio]