People Products took the idea of a speaker to its most minimalist conclusion in 2012 with the Transparent Speaker, a glass-enclosed speaker that let you see exactly how the drivers wire together to create sound. The only downside (aside from dust accumulation) was the $849 price tag.
Now, the company is back with a new smaller version of the Transparent Speaker, fittingly called the Small Transparent Speaker, that also comes with a much smaller $250 price tag. Like its larger cousin, it's also crafted out of aluminum-framed glass. It downgrades the sound from two 3-inch drivers and a subwoofer to a pair of 2.5-inch stereo drivers, but it also takes up dramatically less space.
The Small Transparent Speaker also wins out when it comes to connectivity, offering integrated Airplay, Google Cast, and Spotify Connect options over Wi-Fi, in addition to Bluetooth. (The Large Transparent Speaker had a slot to hide an Airport Express or Chromecast in, but didn't offer any built-in solutions.) It also offers a 3.5mm aux input to directly connect a device.
Recycling is an important part of the Small Transparent Speaker. It’s meant by design to be easily disassembled, so that parts can be replaced or reused in future speakers to eliminate waste. People Products claims that the Small Transparent Speaker will be able to detect malfunctions and notify users through a connected app in the event that they need to return the device for recycling or repair.
People Products is crowdfunding the Small Transparent Speaker on Kickstarter for $250, a $60 saving on the planned retail price of $310. The company hopes to ship the speakers in June 2017. And while People Products has Kickstarted other devices to market in the past (including the original Transparent Speaker) it's worth keeping in mind that the Small Transparent Speaker is still currently in a working prototype stage, and has not yet undergone any manufacturing or software development.