JBL Takes On Jambox With Soundfly Speaker

Dave Zatz —  July 6, 2012 — 8 Comments

jbl-soundfly-guide

If the FCC is any indication, JBL’s compact “Soundfly” Bluetooth speaker should be hitting store shelves in short order. Unlike the rechargeable and portable Jawbone Jambox ($200), the Soundfly essentially mounts directly onto an AC outlet. I can’t imagine the Soundfly produces killer audio given its diminutive stature, but could make a nice kitchen or travel accessory for streaming tunes from our smartphones… Assuming it clocks in at a reasonable price point. And, related to cost, I’m hoping for the best as JBL has dropped Apple AirPlay capabilities (with associated licensing fees) since printing up their CES flyer (which had indicated a “spring” launch).

8 responses to JBL Takes On Jambox With Soundfly Speaker

  1. Not sure this makes any sense. I mean if this is as small as a JamBox the output is somewhat limited and you want to place it someplace appropriate. So if you’re in a hotel room you’d put it on top of the TV or the dresser or something, not always places you can plug the thing into an outlet…

    I’d stick with the Jambox, which I still love, or the Soundfreaq Sound Kick SFQ-04 if you want something great that’s a little cheaper. $99. Seriously.

    http://soundfreaq.com/store/sound_kick

  2. I guess what appeals to me is the integrated power plugs and no cable. My Jambox is always out of juice and I don’t always have a cable nearby. Whereas this seems like it’d be a streamlined travel accessory. I was also figuring it’d land under $100. But I agree it may not be priced low enough to make sense.

    PS Anyone keeping up on the MG Siegler drama? He says he’d occasionally spike TechCrunch posts with random factoids to track folks who swipe content. Well, I often place random watermarks for similar. And it looks like Ubergizmo has already helped themselves to the FCC photo screengrab above without attribution. ;)

  3. Ha ha! Thanks for the MG Siegler reference. Looks like everything on the web revolves around Marco Arment these days.

    You know I was recently trying to remember who created the Crunchpad. I remembered all the drama but couldn’t remember which blog, which person was the creator. Had faded a bit with history. Had to google a bit to remind myself.

    Its odd. With a bit of history, spending some time listening to him on various podcasts, following his honey on various TwiT podcasts etc I have a very different view of him now than back then…

  4. Aw, I’m disappointed they dropped AirPlay on this. iTunes (and AirFoil) can play to multiple AirPlay outputs simultaneously. Not so with Bluetooth. AirPlay would’ve have made these Soundflys quite a bit more versatile. I wonder, how much are the “associated licensing fees?”

  5. Not sure. But a device manufacturer I used to correspond with had some talks with Apple and licensing, including the video component, was running a crazy $3-$4 per device. Which is probably why we don’t see any (but we do see people doing it without Apple, like Boxee, and thus far they haven’t shut any down to my knowledge).

  6. Gotcha. In addition to the $3-$4 too, is the WiFi circuitry (and associated UI/support for getting it on the LAN) that’d be required…

    Still, I’d pay $25-$50 more for a portable speaker that had integrated AirPlay. There aren’t many (if any) out there and the A/C powered ones I’ve seen are always in the $200+ neighborhood.

  7. It advertises that it will play music on multiple speakers simultaneously… is that true?!!? the JBL website says that it can sync up to four speakers but does that just mean they are all synced to itunes or does it mean that they all play synchronously?

  8. There’s now a WiFi version and a Bluetooth version:

    http://www.jbl.com/estore/jbl/us/search/result.jsp?question=soundfly

    It’s the WiFi version (not the BT version) that says “Sync up to four JBL SoundFly Air speakers and enjoy listening to iTunes virtually everywhere in your home using our exclusive AnyRoom feature.” Since native AirPlay from iTunes doesn’t have such a limitation, I do wonder what that’s all about…

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