HiddenRadio was one of the first crowdfunding successes. The original model nearly hit $1 million on Kickstarter in 2012 and spawned legions of fans. The creators, John Van Den Nieuwenhuizen and Vitor Santa Maria, built a small Bluetooth speaker that offered excellent frequency response and acceptable bass with a very cool design aesthetic. Now they’re back for more.
HiddenRadio 2 is the pair’s latest creation and it’s already well on its way to funding. The new model offers surprisingly rich sound out of a case that is about as big as soup can. However, unlike a soup can the HiddenRadio looks great and will remind some of the new Mac Pro with its staid styling, touch-sensitive top, and simple setup.
I got a chance to sit down with Van Den Nieuwenhuizen last week and heard the new HiddenRadio in a nearly empty bar. He compared it with a few popular speaker systems including the Jambox and I was duly impressed. While we couldn’t set it too loud, you could definitely hear a nice presence in the HiddenRadio 2 and excellent bass.
The pair have also added some new features to the device including a far better port placement as well as a way to connect two $119 HiddenRadios together to create a stereo pair. None of their competitors have these features. That is has a noise-cancelling microphone and can act as a speakerphone are just gravy.
The design is very impressive. The outer shell is chromed and there is a touch-sensitve top that allows you to spin a finger to control the volume or tap to turn the music on and off. A single tap will also raise the lid off of the speaker grill for listening.
It’s fascinating to watch mass CE products like this make it in Kickstarter . Whereas the really geeky stuff tends to take off – Pebble watches and Udoo boards are surprisingly popular – the interest peters out once you enter into speaker territory. However, with high-design and low cost items like HiddenRadio you can definitely see a move in a more general direction. I’d love it, for example, if Sony or Samsung put a product up for crowdfunding. It would show a definite interest in the audience and could be a very successful move.
A guy, as they say, can dream.