This award-winning speaker also acts as a phone-stand and pen-stand!

The Waving Multifunctional Speaker is a perfect example of how form and function can help redefine a product’s design. The speaker isn’t just designed to act as an audio-playing device. It’s mindful of the objects and spaces associated with it. Given that wireless speakers are almost always used with smartphones, the Waving Multifunctional Speaker even doubles as a dock/stand for your mobile, allowing you to watch videos on it while the three mid-range audio drivers on the front pump sound out.

The Waving Multifunctional Speaker even comes with a distinct wave-texture on its top which serves as a nifty area to rest stationery. Aware of the fact that most speakers find themselves placed on workdesks, the Waving Multifunctional Speaker integrates clever and convenient solution, allowing you to rest your pens and pencils on it while you work. Pretty clever, eh?

The Waving Multifunctional Speaker is a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2020.

Designer: RuiWang Xiang

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Microsoft’s new ‘Surface Headphones 2’ are designed for music as well as Skype/Zoom meetings

You have to admit that Microsoft under Satya Nadella’s CEO-ship has really gained a whole lot of perspective. They aren’t just the OS company anymore. Nadella’s vision for Microsoft was to always make it as ubiquitous as the air you breathe, which is why we now have elements like Microsoft Azure, OneDrive, Outlook, Skype, Windows, Teams, LinkedIn, embedded deep into everything we do. Wherever you go, if there’s an enterprise involved, Microsoft has a solution somewhere allowing it to function seamlessly… and that ability to cross the T’s and dot the I’s is what makes Microsoft’s products great. In fact, they’ve got a thriving hardware setup too, and the reason why Microsoft’s hardware works so great (unlike its failed acquisition of Nokia under Steve Ballmer), is its ability to be a holistic software powerhouse. Take for instance Microsoft’s Surface Headphones. In a market flooded with headphones (and pretty competitively priced ones too), Microsoft’s Surface Headphones have a crystal clear vision of their purpose.

Unlike every other pair of wireless headphones out there, the Surface Headphones 2 aren’t just built for music… they’re built for work too. Given that we’re in an era dominated by Zoom and Skype meetings, the Surface Headphones 2 also focus on the ‘conference’ aspect with the same emphasis as the music aspect. They come with a comfortable design that allows them to be worn for hours (because meetings can go into overtime), have a day-long battery life, pack a whopping 13 levels of active noise cancellation in, so you can drown out sounds like the living-room TV or your kid screaming in the hallway… and perhaps the most mindful feature yet, a dedicated microphone muting button that allows you to quickly alternate between talking to your colleagues and yelling at your kids to keep the noise down.

Obviously Microsoft didn’t know a pandemic would upend businesses, forcing everyone to work from home (I refuse to entertain the conspiracy theory that Bill Gates was in on the COVID thing all along)… but the Surface Headphones 2 come at a perfect time, allowing people to conference more effectively from their home-offices. The headphones boast of the same clean design from last year, and feature 40mm Free Edge drivers to produce stunningly immersive sound that’s perfect for listening to music. The headphones come with dedicated ring-dials on the outside that allow you to control the volume and the noise-cancelation, so you can either completely drown external sound out, or blend them in, allowing yourself to be immersed in audio yet aware of your surroundings. Like all smart headphones, you can tap, hold, and swipe on the Surface Headphones too, performing activities like controlling playback, answering calls, or summoning the voice assistant… and if you’ve got an active Microsoft 365 subscription, you can even dictate text to the Headphones hand have your laptop type it out in Word, Outlook, or any of Microsoft’s other surfaces… Pretty clever, eh?

Designer: Microsoft

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