LAS VEGAS — Bluetooth speakers have gotten better and better over the years as audio specialists have found ways to tailor sound for compact form factors. But all the software and drivers in the world can't replace space and air, two factors that are absolutely necessary to get the best audio.
Massachusetts-based startup Pow Audio believes it has found a solution around that dilemma. It's a tiny, collapsible Bluetooth speaker called Mo that can easily flatten or expand thanks to a silicone component in the center. When the speaker is pressed down, it can easily fit inside a pocket. When fully expanded, it can deliver some powerful bass for its size.
At the heart of the design is Pow's Wavebloom technology, which effectively turns the entire midsection of the device into a giant passive radiator. Although it was difficult for us to isolate the speaker's sound in the packed exhibition hall here at CES 2019, I was impressed with the Pow's robust low-end performance as it shifted and vibrated in the palm of my hand.
You can also daisy-chain two of these speakers together to form a stereo set, which is easily done by pressing a button on each one. Pow ships each Mo speaker with a magnetic mount that snaps onto the back of your phone. When the speaker is attached to the mount, it also acts as a sort of kickstand, propping your handset up. Pow offers cases, sold separately, with built-in magnets for all of Apple's latest iPhones.
The Mo retails for $99 from Pow's website, though they're not quite ready to ship yet — customers will start getting theirs in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the company is also working on some different designs for larger versions of the Mo speaker that still make use of the Wavebloom technology.
The price point is a little steep right now, but Pow's little speaker is endearing and packs a punch. The industrial design is clever and attractive, and with an 8-hour battery life, water resistance and magnets that allow it to stick to any metal surface, it seems functional as well. If the Mo can pair those ideas with solid sound, it might just be one to watch in the crowded Bluetooth speaker space.