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Sci-Tech

Levitating Mars speaker takes your music to new heights

The Mars levitating speaker features a UFO-style disc that floats above a sleek black subwoofer column. And that's only the start of its cool features.

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The Mars speaker seeks to redefine "high" fidelity. Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

As you've no doubt noticed -- especially with the bombardment of post-Thanksgiving specials and sales -- there is no shortage of portable Bluetooth speakers on the market. So in such a crowded field, it takes something truly innovative to rise above the rest. The Mars speaker from Crazybaby does exactly that -- literally -- thanks to levitation technology.

The Mars, which is now accepting preorders on its website and through Indiegogo, is actually a two-part Bluetooth speaker. The cylindrical base serves as the subwoofer and the UFO-shaped disc that floats atop it produces the mid to high-end sounds. The disc can take to the air thanks to magnetic technology Crazybaby got from levitation-gizmo makers Levitation Arts.

In addition to just looking cool, the Crazybaby folks say the levitation trick will actually deliver better sound. That's because, unlike speakers that need to sit on a surface, one that floats in the air will not lose any sound through transference to materials that are touching it. Also, being round, the levitating part of the speaker has no front or back and is meant to deliver sound equally to everyone gathered nearby.

As if having a flying-saucer style speaker hovering above a sleek black column wasn't already enough to distinguish itself, the Mars has a few other tricks up its sleeve.

Crazybaby

For starters, the disc portion of the speaker (called the Mars Craft), which is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, can be used without the base, so you can take it wherever you like and stream to it through the Bluetooth connection. I'm not quite sure how good it will sound without its subwoofer, but it might well be on par with other Bluetooth speakers of its size. It's also magnetic, so it'll stick to the hood of your car or your bike frame when you're out. Plus, it's waterproof to three feet, so you could even play a game of Frisbee with it in the surf (well, maybe not, but you get the idea).

Like most tech toys these days, this one lets you control it with a smartphone app, but a unique twist here is that you can set the Mars to automatically lower and raise its volume as you get closer and farther away from it. Also the speaker will automatically drift down to its base when it runs out of charge and will float back up once it's gotten juiced again.

Finally, the Mars can act as a speaker phone and even has two USB ports in the base to charge your devices if that conference call goes a little long. Though this isn't the first levitating speaker we've seen -- that honor would go to the Om/One -- this is the first one we've seen with so many features and its very own subwoofer.

Right now, you can snag an early-bird Mars for $149 (about £95, AU$176) or get two of them for $289. When the units go live, they will cost $250 (about £160, AU$296) apiece. Customers in the US, Canada and China get free shipping while those elsewhere need to pay an extra $30. Units are expected to ship in April 2015.