Why own a portable speaker that connects to your smartphone or computer over Bluetooth, when you are never compelled to move the speaker from its "spot"? Counteracting the current trend of premium wireless speakers that just tend to sit there, newcomer NudeAudio has developed their first line of minimally designed, lightweight yet durable speakers that are meant for tossing and carrying around—and the occasional dropping—without ever feeling guilty. The best part is the Move line starts at just $30, and even the smallest speaker emits such a clear, loud sound that you second guess its little size and price.
German-born and educated, NudeAudio co-founder Peter Riering-Czekalla worked at renown design and consultancy firm IDEO in San Francisco for nine years, advising big name clients including Nike and Samsung on brand strategy and execution. Using this work experience, Riering-Czekalla analyzed that in the overcrowded marketplace of portable speakers, there was in fact a hole—which he translated into an opportunity.
"If you look at the speakers that are successful, like Jambox or the Beats Pill, they are all $170-190 for a small little speaker," he tells CH. "We don't believe that the world needs another premium speaker brand, but needs something that delivers good design: Simple, engaging, playful and personality without trying too hard—at a fair price. We want to be the countertrend to over-premiumization." Thus, SF-based NudeAudio was born, and made it their mission to bring premium-quality speakers to everyone.
NudeAudio achieves great sound quality at half the price by stripping away all of those "additional" features many consumer speakers boast—such as dual or stereo pairing, talk-back and alarm functions. "Simple design is the way of keeping the cost accessible. The only feature we added is the microphone so you can make phone calls—and so friends can join the call." Focusing on just the essential audio feature allowed NudeAudio to devote more funds to higher quality amplifiers and drivers for their speakers. They also avoid celebrity endorsements and large advertising campaigns as not to pass those costs onto the customer; instead, they rely mostly on word of mouth.
Riering-Czekalla also noticed that people were paying for wireless speakers but didn't take advantage of their portability, instead choosing to leave it permanently on their kitchen counter or desk. This might be due to the way the speaker is designed to sit on a flat surface, or if it's fragile-looking or heavy. The Move speakers come in three different sizes (S, M or L) and the exterior is designed to entice users to pick it up. For example, the corners and body are rounded and each speaker has a knotted rope attached to one side. "The whole range is inspired by—in regard to material and color—performance fashion. It's almost like a sneaker," says Riering-Czekalla. "The cord just invites you to grab it, and hang it somewhere, off a bike or branch."
Thick kitchen-grade silicone also covers the sides, making the speaker feel less like a hard chunk of plastic and instead, evokes a firm tennis ball by adding softness. One note of caution: The cover isn't meant to be removable; having peeled it off once, we learned that we shouldn't do it again. But this too was a carefully thought-out detail, because the silicone (and the lack of glue) makes the speaker feel more natural and less like a consumer electronics product.
When Riering-Czekalla brought prototypes of the M model home to his two toddlers, he knew he had something different: "They were so excited, grabbing the rope and running around and playing with it." The family often listened to music in the kitchen, because that is where their previous portable speaker was, but with the Move speakers, the music followed them whether they were in the garage or in the garden, seamlessly integrating into their life.
Overall, the Move speakers are remarkably loud and crisp and even the smallest speaker packs a huge punch. They are charged and ready to go as soon as the box is opened; the battery lasts eight hours and is rechargeable with the provided USB charging cable. For outdoor use, we recommend the M, which had the strongest combination of portability and sound quality. For moving within the house, the larger L has full-range sound and doesn't clip, even when cranked all the way up.
Move speakers come in three different sizes (the smallest size also has a cabled option in lieu of Bluetooth) and are priced from $30 to $100, available for purchase from DijitalFix and Amazon in two colors, mint or coral. For more product specs, visit NudeAudio.
Photos by Nara Shin