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Thu, May 29, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Sony unveils new speaker

AP , TOKYO

Sony’s ‘‘Sountina’’ is pictured at a press conference at Sony Corp headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

Sony, the company that brought you the egg-shaped music player and the dog-like robot, has now created the transparent tube speaker.

Called Sountina — a combination of “sound” and “fountain” — the ¥1 million (US$9,600) acrylic speaker will go on sale on June 20 in Japan. Overseas sales are still undecided.

Sony Corp said the 1m long speaker produces high quality, natural-sounding audio that spreads 360 degrees all around from the tube and is able to fill hotel lobbies, wedding halls and other spacious areas.

Sony officials did not give the exact distance the sound reaches, saying it varies depending on an area’s surfaces.

The tube, which measures 95mm in diameter, or slightly thicker than a baseball bat, vibrates to produce a clear, natural sound, they said.

The speaker, shown to reporters at Sony’s Tokyo headquarters yesterday, has light-emitting diodes (LED), in such colors as blue, amber, pink and purple at the bottom of the tube. The LEDs are reflected in the stainless steel at the top of the tube and if the room is dark enough, can also be seen reflecting off a steel string dangling inside the tube.

The colors don’t change automatically and must be set by hand using a remote controller.

Sony senior manager Noriyasu Kawaguchi said the Sountina is designed to deliver a soothing sound, but acknowledged some people may prefer more blast with heavier bass.

“Maybe it doesn’t work in the way some American consumers are expecting their speakers to work,” he said.

The Sountina is targeting a sophisticated niche consumer, including businesses seeking a speaker that blends into an interior, Kawaguchi said.

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