What's in the box?
The cube is perhaps the most perfect polyhedron, second only to the sphere as possibly the most perfect form known to man: in the past few days alone, we've seen new ways to make them and new ways to inhabit them. Similarly, I've noticed that a handful of recent Kickstarter projects—specifically, iPhone accessories for a target market at the ever-growing intersection of smartphone-toting urban professional and space-saving citydweller—have adopted the highly symmetrical form factor.
It should comes as no surprise that the "1Q" Bluetooth speaker by Vers Audio (a.k.a. David Laituri) has been hyped to the effect that they've raised nearly 20 times their $10,000 funding goal with less than a day to go. It takes the shape of a 3” wooden cube that acts as a miniature speaker cabinet to produce "warm, surprisingly natural sound" via a Bluetooth or wired source. They can be paired for true stereo capability, and the 10-hour charge comes via USB (of course).
I'm curious to actually hear it myself, but I can see the appeal: it's a perfectly understated portable speaker that would be useful in any social setting. Backers can pre-order a standard bamboo or walnut 1Q for roughly 20% off the $119 MSRP (the KS limited-edition in red beech is slightly more expensive), and Laituri & co. have promised earbuds for $180+ backers as an additional incentive in the final push to cross the $20K mark in these last 20-odd hours.
If the name '1Q' is a subtle reference to the cube, an eponymous iPhone dock might be considered as an equally subtle homage to the iconic flagship store, a transparent 100%-polycarbonate desktop dock that's roughly the size of a teacup. Unfortunately, KC Lee's "Cube" fell short of didn't make the cut, garnering two-thirds of the $70,000 funding goal by the deadline earlier this week.
Savvy smartphone users know the old trick of placing the device in a cup or bowl to amplify the unsatisfactory speakers of handheld electronics, a physical limitation of an object that fits comfortably in one's pocket. The "Cube," then, is a refinement of the makeshift vessel, with a compartment in the base to accommodate the charging cable.
Lastly, the recently-launched "Bloombox" isn't as cubic as the other options (the internal volume is perhaps just a tad off), but then again, it doesn't aspire to geometric regularity, representing a rather different aesthetic. Where the "1Q" evokes nature through its materials—and the fact that Vers Audio is planting a tree for each and every Kickstarter pre-order—the "Bloombox" is essentially a combination of a terrarium and a phone dock. Nicholas Hyde and Brennan Conroy are working with Mudshark Studios, their local ceramic concern in Portland, OR, to produce the
As with the "Cube," it's designed to hold a standard iPhone cable... plus a few succulents in its open, frame-like body. Again, I can't speak to its acoustic properties, but it's an interesting take on an unpowered amplifier, and they'll only need to sell a hundred of 'em to secure the $5K they're seeking for the first run.
For those of you who aren't as enamored with cubes, we've seen plenty of duly minimalist
speakers of late:
» The Hidden Radio recently launched, following a successful Kickstarter campaign
» We're still waiting to hear back from Hannes Harms for news about the Flat Boombox
» As is the case with People People's glass ghettoblaster
» This Yamaha speaker is as loud as it looks
» There's no way the iNuke Boom could be as loud as it looks... right?