While waiting for the “Apple of China” to grow as ambitious about its international prospects as domestic arch-rival Huawei, today we get to see the local… Motorola (?) make an official US debut with a… floating speaker.
Confused? It’s hard not to be, given Meizu’s phenomenal 2015 box-office growth, recent Chinese smartphone announcements, both at the high and low end of the spectrum, its visionary VR plans, and now the American introduction of the “state-of-art” Gravity Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker.
The whole affair is made weirder by the Zhuhai-based company’s appeal for financial support on Indiegogo, though it’s pretty obvious Meizu can afford to invest in Gravity development, production and distribution itself, and will do exactly that whether or not the crowd-funding campaign hits its $100K flexible goal.
Nowhere near as intelligent and multifaceted as the Alexa-enabled Amazon Tap or Echo, the Meizu Gravity simply connects to phones, tablets and other audio sources via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or an auxiliary port, playing music stored on your devices or content from popular services like Spotify, Soundcloud, TuneIn, and Last.fm.
Nothing special or groundbreaking there, but as shallow and unimportant as it may sound, the Meizu Gravity stands out from the Jambox – Beats Pill – Bose SoundLink pack with a truly unique design.
“High quality acrylic glass” comprises a transparent display that gives basic track information the “stunning” illusion of a floating message. The “half-mirror” prism protrudes from one side of the minimalist aluminum beam body, losing itself in the background of your living room and making the whole thing look like artwork rather than a futuristic, aggressive piece of technology aiming to catch the eye by any means necessary.
This is no doubt a bold aesthetic choice, not to mention highly original, but you have to wonder if it’s worth the $250 retail price. For a limited time, of course, early Indiegogo backers can lower that to $170, then $200, with estimated December delivery.