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.
[kickstarter url=http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2107726947/hiddenradio2-bluetooth-multispeaker width=640]