Skipping to the next track just takes a wave of your hand with a new internet-connected loudspeaker from Taiwanese home audio devices maker Auluxe. The company showed off its gesture-controlled Wave E3 speaker at CES Asia this week, and aims to make the device available for retail for later this summer.
The Wave E3 uses gestures to control a number of basic playback functions: Raising or lowering the volume is done with a circular motion; skipping to the next track takes a wave to the right, and a motion to the front pauses or resumes a track.
However, the speaker doesn’t use Xbox Connect-like gesture control, which means it’s not possible to interact with it via gestures from afar. Users instead have to hover their hand over the speaker. Alternatively, it can also be controlled with a smart phone app.
Auluxe wants to sell the Wave E3 for around $500 this July. The device uses Quallcomm’s Allplay platform to offer multi-room audio functionality, which means that consumers can play the same song simultaneously on multiple speakers throughout their home. Auluxe’s speaker is also compatible with Apple’s Airplay.
The company does enter an increasingly crowded market with its internet-connected speaker: Market leader Sonos has been selling speakers to stream Spotify and other online music services for years. Google has struck alliances with a number of Hifi device manufacturers to establish Google Cast as a multi-room standard, and Amazon has gotten a lot of attention from consumers for its Echo loudspeaker.
At the same time, it’s becoming clear that the industry is still searching for the best interaction model for in-home music streaming. Both Google Cast and Sonos rely on smart phone apps, with physical buttons often adding basic controls.
Amazon’s Echo on the other hand is using voice control, which ahs not only been a success with consumers, but also inspired competitors. Google is reportedly working on its own voice-controlled speaker, and Chinese online retailer JD.com has been selling an Echo clone for some time. Sonos CEO John MacFarlane recently acknowledged that voice will play an important role in the future of the connected home, and vowed to invest in voice control as well.
At the same time, Sonos is also exploring other interaction models. The company’s latest Play5 speaker for example comes with an integrated touch pad to allow swipe motions. In this context, gesture control could be another interaction model to help connected speaker makers build easier-to-use products, and in turn popularize music streaming in the home.