A Southern California wireless technology company that used the 2018 NAB Show as its launching pad for a line of next-gen earbuds has, just in time for the 2018 Radio Show starting Sept. 25 in Orlando, formally brought to market the industry’s first in-ear headset combining a built-in FM receiver with digital signal processing (DSP) technology for customizable sound effects.
Blackloud on Tuesday (9/18) began shipping its SOUNDOT AF1 FM Headset for iOS Lightning devices.
It features an iOS app and “premium lossless sound quality” for listening to music, watching videos, answering calls, and activating Siri.
But, here’s the plus for radio broadcasting executives: The SOUNDOT headset also lets users directly access compression-free FM radio anywhere in the world via the FM chip embedded in its control box, without requiring internet connectivity or an activated FM chip in the iOS device itself.
Blackloud’s SOUNDOT AF1 is an Apple MFi certified accessory, and its SOUNDOT CF1 (for USB Type C Androids) is under development and expected to roll out in 2019.
Android-powered devices such as Samsung’s smartphones have FM chips enabled in their handsets, and it is how the Emmis Communications-owned NextRadio app first found an audience.
Apple is apparently unrelenting in its refusal to include an activated FM chip in its iPhones.
Chih-Hsu Yen, an EVP at Blackloud, commented, “Even without internet users can tune directly into FM radio to listen live and compression free to sports, music, weather and even emergency broadcasts. Listening to FM radio via the built-in chip uses no mobile data, saves battery life, and eliminates the delays of streaming.”
The SOUNDOT AF1 FM headset for iOS devices is now available for $79.89 from https://www.blackloud.com, as well as from Amazon, Newegg, Sears, Walmart and other online retailers.
Initial units are red, with white and silver options planned by year end. The earbuds come fitted with a medium-sized cushion, with small and large cushions also provided. Each package also includes a quick guide and carrying pouch.
Blackloud representatives will be present at the 2018 Radio Show in Orlando, at booth 73.
Blackloud is developing an affiliate program for radio stations, which will be announced at the Radio Show.