Plantronics enters wearable tech with BackBeat FIT

Headphone manufacturer aims to capitalise on fitness trend with its newest wireless product

Plantronic may be known as a headset company, but it wants to reinvent itself as a device company with products such as BackBeat FIT.

Plantronics Australia national retail sales manager, Peter Petrides, said the new wireless stereo headphones signal the company’s ambition to be a leader in wearable technology.

“Everywhere you look there are fitness devices being used, and Plantronics is going down that path as well,” he said.

Petrides said the company is well positioned to capitalise on the wearable technology trend, particularly as headphones were the original wearable device.

In addition to audio services such as Spotify fuelling a boom around portable audio, Petrides said the fitness space is also crossing over.

“Most people, both male and female, like to listen to music when they exercise,” he said.

“What we’re trying to do with BackBeat FIT is bring a product that is unique and fits the mould for fitness use."

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Wireless headspace

Bluetooth had a rocky start due to audio quality and battery performance issues, but the wireless format has improved over the years to gain strong consumer adoption.

Read more: Tablets, not wearable technology, creating BYOD challenges: Good Technology

By 2017, it is expected that 19 million Bluetooth wireless headphones of different varieties will be sold worldwide.

Petrides expects the actual sales numbers to surpass that prediction, as analysts are unaware of what Plantronics and other companies have on the roadmap.

“Year-on-year the industry overcomes issues of power management and audio quality to make Bluetooth audio better than before,” he said.

Read more: Telstra adds Sony wearable to its range of contract products

The industry is already speculating that phones will soon lose the headphone jack, as Bluetooth can be viable substitute for it.

Plantronics’ BackBeat FIT is available from Rebel Sport from July 1 for $159.

It will be available from Officeworks, JB HiFi and selected Telstra and Optus stores shortly thereafter.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

Read more: Wearables mean it is the Internet of Your Things: Aerohive

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