Bose is launching a new speaker for kids that takes cues from toys like Goldie Blox and Linkitz, but instead of teaching kids to code, it gives them an introduction to building hardware.
"It's the harsh reality that the world is being eaten by software," says Joe Titlow head of product innovation at Bose. "But at the end of the day, we live in the real world." The company is hoping to appeal to kids by operating in a middle ground with a toy that is hands-on, but also has a digital component.
Known for its quality speakers, Bose is figuring out how to introduce its brand to younger generations. Rather than make cheap, cute products, they decided to build something more representative of its reputation for quality speakers. What they came up with is a high-performance speaker that has more life to it than your average wireless sound system. "We're just a huge company of engineers who get all geeked up about how stuff works," says Titlow. "So we said, Why don't we distill that experience down to something that we could give to a child?"
The Speaker Cube, as it's called, is the first project to come out of BoseBuild, a new department devoted to developing innovative products for children. Aimed for kids between the ages of 8 and 13, the $149 kit comes with both the means to build a relatively sturdy cubed speaker as well as a magnet and a copper and plastic tube that kids can use to understand the way sound works. To teach them the fundamentals of sound, the kit also has a mobile app that walks kids through the process of how sound is created, complete with video explanations for each section. Kids can play with sound-wave strength and frequencies as well as audio balance. To keep kids engaged, the app keeps each lesson locked, so kids have to go through them to unlock a new level. At the end, it shows how to build the full speaker and allows users to connect it to Spotify.
While the app is enough of a game to keep children interested, it's not likely the app and its lessons in audio will get more than a few uses. However, while kids may eventually grow bored with the educational component of the Speaker Cube kit, they're still left with a quality speaker—something that will appeal to parents shelling out the $149 for this product.
"We want it to be their sound system for years," says Titlow. "We hope they bring it with them to college."