Harman Kardon has been on a tear lately with a slew of killer products featuring clean functional design. From headphones to speaker systems, they have been setting the high bar in terms of visual design aesthetic and materials used.
The new Esquire speaker is a great example of the new Harman Kardon product line up. This little, portable speaker not only features Bluetooth, it has NFC for all those Android devices that are packing that technology. At $250.00 it isn’t cheap, but if it’s anything like the Aura speaker system I own, it’s worth the money.
Esquire is a wireless audio system with designed with travel in mind. The speaker has dual drivers, a built-in bass port, and can be used for music listening around the house, office, or on-the-go. In addition, Esquire can be used with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones to make clear, no-fuss conference calls. Esquire uses custom-tuned microphones and noise cancellation technology to improve call quality even in noisy environments.
Prepare totravel in a completely different way. The Harman Kardon Esquire is your new, on-the-road, wireless audio system. Esquire is a Bluetooth®-enabled speaker with a built- in conference phone system that redefines how you take your music with you. This durable, portable speaker is crafted out of fine materials with a leather panel and metal finish on the outside. On this inside, it’s pure Harman Kardon engineering, with dual drivers and a built-in bass port for clear sound, as well as custom-tuned microphones and noise cancellation technology for clear conference calls from your Bluetooth®-enabled smart phone. Top performance and outstanding design, this exquisite, portable speaker from Harman Kardon is substance and style. It looks as good as it sounds.
I love this little animated short for Legic by Goldener Westen. Great sound design coupled with flat design imagery and solid motion graphics help sell the NFC features in an easy to understand way. The animation premiered at the European data security trade show »Sicherheit earlier this year. The 1:45 piece really shows off a tight collaboration between the animator and sound designers on this project.
Animation: Nico Roicke. Sound design: Uwe Bossenz and Philipp Koller.
For some time now I have been saying NFC will overtake things like QR codes as more Android handsets ship with built in NFC readers. Hopefully the next gen iPhone will have a built in NFC reader as well. When that happens, we will have reached the tipping point. Here is a great example of why I think NFC has a huge future with smart phone users.
“LikeBelt”, developed by Deeplocal, have created a prototype android app,that allows you to like physical, real objects. “Likes” are triggered by reading RFID chips embedded in real-world items which are read by NFC enabled Android phones. Those “Likes” show up on your favorite social network (who might I be talking about?). The LikeBelt terminology is a bit odd but if you can get past it, and the weird sexual thrusting, you can see the potential here.
QR Codes are nothing new. The things have been around since 1994, but in the last year they seem to have exploded with the proliferation of smartphones with cameras. These days you can’t go a day without seeing one it seems like, but the cold hard fact is six out of ten Americans don’t know what they are, and the number is about the same for people who will actually scan them. None the less marketers and advertisers continue to develop and roll out QR codes right and left. In the graphic below there were three things that reinforced my opinion about QR codes, their use, and their possible future.
6 out of 10 don’t know what they are.
Almost 60% are found in retail locations and or magazines
87% of the people who do scan them expect a coupon when the associated site launches.
if you put this together it’s not what I would call a winning formula. It basically means that you are expecting 29% of your target audience to take a phone out while shopping, pick up an item, launch the QR reader on their phone, point it at the code, then save a digital coupon. You are also expecting the cashier to know what to do with the coupon when it is presented. The same thing is true with people seeing these in a magazine. You are expecting the reader to stop reading, get their phone, fire up the software, scan the code, and execute on what ever your QR code serves up. That is provided your audience isn’t one of the six out of ten that have no clue about what your QR code is.
Right now there are to many steps, and too much confusion about what QR codes are and how to effectively use them. This is why I keep thinking that they are short lived and will be eclipsed by better technology in the near future. Smartphone adoption has helped generate buzz about them, and I know QR codes are here to stay. I’m just not all that convinced they are going to give you any ROI that is worth your time.
The infographic below is from SystemID. if you scan the QR code at the bottom of the image you will be taken to their mobile site where there is even more info on QR codes and what you can do with them.