Gadgets

Watch out, Jambox: Beats launches $199 Pill portable speaker (photos)

NEW YORK — You may not like Dr. Dre and his line of Beats headphones, but you’ve got to give Beats one thing: It knows how to market its products.

That trend continued today as Beats announced the Pill, its elegant answer to devices like the Jawbone Jambox and HiddenRadio. The $199 compact speaker offers Bluetooth connectivity,  seven hours of battery life, and even tap-to-pair functionality via NFC. As with the Jambox, you can also use it for audio conferencing.

The Pill’s sound quality is about as good as you’d expect for a device of its size, though Beats co-owner Jimmy Iovine says the company didn’t sacrifice audio quality for the sake of the device’s footprint.

“We will not put something out because it’s small. We will only put something out when it sounds great,” Iovine said.

Alongside the Pill, Beats also announced the Executive, a $299 pair of noise-canceling headphones aimed at highly mobile professionals with money to burn. While comparable headphones often sacrifice audio quality for the sake of noise cancellation, Iovine said that Beats managed to bridge that gamp.

“To balance between noise-canceling and powerful sound is very, very difficult. I think we’re the only company that’s gotten close to getting it right,” Iovene said.

Third on the list of today’s announcements is UrBeats, Beats’s new $99 in-ear headphones.

What’s notable about all of Beats’s announcements today is that they are the first products its created without the aid of Monster. The two companies severed that deal January, which means that Beats is all on its own from this point on.

“We completely own our destiny,” Beats Electronics CEO Luke Wood said today.

Photos: Ricardo Bilton/VentureBeat


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