A newcomer to the UK market, consumer electronics brand Otone Audio, is receiving a very favourable reception from both retailers and consumers. What is special about Otone Audio products? asks Anna Ryland.
Otone Audio was set up in 2007 and during the initial four years the company’s founders have been developing its products “from the ground up”. “We have our own industrial, mechanical designers and acoustic engineers. At the same time we conducted an extensive research of the market – starting from the PC sector, gaming, TV and multi-media categories – looking how we can improve audio experience there,” explains Gareth Thomas, Otone Audio’s business manger.
Otone’s first products were launched at the Gadget Show Live in April 2012 and prior to this the company has been providing its product samples to leading consumer electronics titles from which they have received very positive reviews. “It is gratifying for us to see the four and half years of effort yield fruit finally – so much of our time and passion went into these products. We have spent a lot of time getting the things right and now we are very pleased to get such a positive reaction.”
Otone’s portfolio includes portable speakers as well as 2.0, 2.1 and 5.1 speaker systems which can be used with PCs, MP3 players, iPods and iPhones but also with televisions and gaming.
“TV manufacturers spend a lot of time on contents and aesthetics of the TV sets but their sound performance deteriorates as the panels become thinner. Many consumers are aware of it and are now making additional purchases of 2.1 systems and soundbars. Initially we launched 2.1 and 5.1 systems which perform the same role as soundbars. However, we will be branching out into other areas which offer growth, and we already have in place a roadmap of future product launches,” adds Gareth.
“We also have travel speakers. One of their USPs is the ability to add in a micro SD card; so the users can take their micro SD card out of their smartphones and plug it into the speaker – and take it on their travels; as it also has a built-in rechargeable battery which gives eight hours playback.”
The management of the company has 45 years of experience in the audio industry between them, gained working with such brands as Sony, Orange and Belkin.
The company is based in Altrincham, Manchester, and it has already developed very close links with the Salford University where there is a large development team researching acoustics and sound.
Otone Audio’s products are currently distributed via its website and Amazon. “However during the last four weeks we have been talking with independent retailers and sector’s distributors. Independent retailers are well suited to sell our products because you need to listen to them to see the difference in the sound at these price points to appreciate what we offer,” explains Gareth. The company has recently joined retra as an associate member.
Robert McDougall, national account manager, argues: “We are not ‘me too’ products. In addition to standard features our products have extra benefits and very modern design. We have to be better and different to be noticed in the crowded UK market. The dealers who have seen and heard our products – and looked at their price points – have given us a very positive response.”
Winger Zhang, Otone Audio engineer, points out: “In the UK people enjoy a different type of music than for example in the USA, therefore the specification of speakers has to be different. For example, for hard rock music we had to prepare special designs for the base. We are also making sure that the highest power of our speakers is limited so you won’t get distortion. Some of our competitors push for maximum power and the sound at the top of range gets distorted.”