Upstart Augen Hits The Dock Market Running With Some Innovative, Slick Gadgets — Including One That Turns Any Surface Into A Speaker


Speakerball, anyone? The G-Note 14's wireless speakers.

LAS VEGAS — I’d never heard of Florida-based Augen before running into the tiny, gadget-strewn booth at this year’s CES.

That’s because, says VP of Product Dev Daniel Gofman, they’ve been working to produce tech for other companies the last few years; 2010’s CES marks the first year they’re striking out on their own into the already over-saturated iPod/iPhone dock market. But Augen has a trick or three up their sleeves worth looking at.

First up is the G-Note 14, a dock with two removable, wireless speaker balls. The lithium-ion-powered speakers receive signals via a 2.4 GHz connection and have an impressive 100-foot range, says Augen. No word on when the 14 will be available, or when it’ll hit stores.

Can Augen's clean-lined, solid-sounding, as-yet-unnamed dock bring B&W's Zeppelin down like the Hindenburg?

Next is what Gofman says is a challenge to the ultra-high-end dock market, and is part of their “SEM” line. What separates this dock from others in its realm is the imposing subwoofer: not only that it has one, but also that it’s wireless — stick the dock on a shelf, hide the woofer behind a couch and start the party. Sound from the speakers struck me as impressively meaty, even in with all the CES background din. And check out the unit’s remote in the photo above — it’s one of the slickest I’ve come across. The dock is so new it’s still nameless, but should be out this Spring and will cost $350.

The little turtle-like thing is actually Augen's G-Vibe sound device

Finally, the little turtle-looking thing in the photo above is the G-Vibe1,a Bluetooth device that can attach itself (with a massive magnet on its underside) to any surface, then turn that surface into a speaker. I tried it on the laminate counter in the photo and on a metal chair and sure enough, both he chair and counter started channeling Elton John. The sound wasn’t great though, and had a tinny, harsh quality to it; the G-Vibe2, a 26-watt version, might sound better than the 1’s 5 watts. Gofman says the G-Vibe works best on wood or glass — which kinda defeats the purpose of the magnet (luckily, it also comes in a mountable version — which defeats the unit’s portability. Oh well).