It looks like the designer(s) had a helluva lot of fun on this one.
An audio products startup called GravaStar, a company willing to take stylistics risks that Apple, Bose and Sony aren't, is releasing wireless noise-canceling earbuds targeted at gamers. At just $80 a pop, I'm guessing the sound quality of these Sirius Earbuds isn't fantastic—but at press time they'd landed $283,470 in pledges on a $10,000 goal.
How, and why? Well, look at how they're designed:
If you want to get really otaku about it, the aesthetic is more anime/mecha than cyberpunk, but you get the idea. The designer(s) have obviously been heavily influenced by the original Ghost in the Shell anime (the all-style, no-substance promo video below rips off some scenes shot-for-shot), and have rightly guessed that gamers, too, are drawn to the aesthetic.
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The ridiculous amount of funding comes despite the fact that you need a not-included Bluetooth adapter to get these to work with your Xbox/Playstation. On top of that, the marketing materials are careful to refer to their tech as "environmental noise cancellation" (italics ours), making it a good bet that these may not offer true noise cancellation.
The backers likely don't care. They must feel like this product was designed for them, right down to the names of the paint schemes:
They're also offering a lower-priced model that ditches the in-ear detection and knocks $20 off the price:
Absurdly, the case of the pro model can be used as a bottle opener.
Anyways, this is a great example of how targeting a popular subculture, and using style—not design, style—as a differentiator can make your product stand out. The low price can't hurt either. I can't imagine that these are actually good—at that cost, it's got to be mathematically impossible to match the quality of a Bose or Sony—but GravaStar has undoubtedly tapped a ready market.
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