The Blazar is yet another wireless speaker designed to play nice with your iDevices, and any other music-machines you might have laying around. This one distinguishes itself with a few neat features, including stereo pairing and NFC.
The Blazar comes from Salt Lake City-based Beacon, and joins the smaller Phoenix speaker and a range of headphones. It has Bluetooth, a microphone for talking to Siri or people who call you on the phone and 360-degree sound. But what we’re interested in is the NFC and stereo.
More speakers are adding stereo capability. Some have it built in, but two speakers in one box doesn’t give much separation. The Blazar opts to connect to another speaker, and then each speaker becomes either the left or the right channel. Yes, this means you need two speakers, but I guess that the idea is to get you to buy more.
More interesting is the NFC. The details aren’t clear, other than that it will be used for easy pairing. My guess is that it’ll be used to pair not just the speaker with the source phone, but to pair the speakers themselves.
Just like Bluetooth, NFC is starting out as a technology looking for a purpose. You might not remember, but Bluetooth had a long and painfully slow gestation which is making NFC look like Dropbox’s acquisition of Mailbox by comparison.
But I’m already seeing actual, everyday uses for it. For instance,. I am currently testing another speaker, the Wren. Like many AirPlay speakers, it can grab the Wi-Fi passcode from any iPhone that’s plugged into it. Unfortunately my iDevices all run on a 5GHz network while the Wren uses the crappy 2.4GHz network, so I have to swap networks on the phone to get it to work.
NFC might not help with the second part, but as The Lady keeps hitting the “setup” button on the Wren instead of the power button, I could really do with not having to find a Lightning cable every time I need to reconnect it. And NFC could help with that.
The Blazar will be on sale soon, for an as yet unannounced price.