LAS VEGAS — The boombox is a largely foreign concept to anyone who grew up after the '90s or so, but these large, obstreperous music players once filled entire households with everything from Mozart to AC/DC. A smartphone and a set of Bluetooth speakers can now accomplish the same thing, but the Avy smart speaker eliminates the daisy-chain and provides a powerful set of speakers with a full Android box to run it.
I got a chance to go hands-on with the Avy at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, where I learned about Zettaly, the company behind it, and the Kickstarter campaign to optimize the product. Zettaly representatives assured me that the product would go to market with or without a successful Kickstarter, but early adopters could take advantage of the crowd-funding campaign to get Avy speakers on the cheap.
The Avy itself is an extraordinarily simple concept: Take an Android operating system, but instead of attaching it to a sleek phone or tablet, put it inside a powerful box with massive speakers.
As such, the Avy favors multimedia programs like Spotify, Pandora and Netflix, but there are few software limitations as to what it can run. The device features a quad-core processor and will run on Android Lollipop upon release (the version I saw was still running KitKat).
This means that the potential applications for the Avy should encompass any Android app with a focus on good sound. The Zettaly representatives believe that the device will find a home in the kitchen especially, since cooking apps and music with which to sing along are natural complements for one another.
The era of blasting your boombox on the local bus may never return, but the boombox itself is not dead. It's simply getting an upgrade.