Smart Atom's LaMetric Speaker Adds Info to Your Music

Can your desktop speaker do this? Show time, news, deadlines, temperature or any other data you're interested in? Stream music services like Spotify, Pandora and iTunes from your phone or tablet? Smart Atom's LaMetric can. In addition, this speaker is hackable. In all my years as an audio reviewer, I have never before written the words, "this speaker is hackable."

LaMetric is a prime example of the newest thinking in audio technology. A speaker is a nice thing. A speaker with Bluetooth is nicer. A speaker that closely integrates with your personal devices is even nicer. And a speaker that can be customized is the nicest. So - the facts. LaMetric is a dashboard and a speaker. More specifically, it is a Bluetooth-enabled stereo speaker with a WiFi dashboard compatible with with iOS and Android apps.

The dashboard can be easily set up to display a variety of information; for example, it can display the events on your calendar, or count down the days to your summer vacation. In addition to choosing which data to display, you can combine icons, scrolling text, data, and sounds, all through an app. Picture those classic stock ticker scrolling message bars, and you'll get the picture. Operation is simple - launch the mobile app, and connect to WiFi to set the widget rules; after that, everything is controlled from the speaker.

More cool stuff: LaMetric can be integrated with several home automation systems like SmartThings, WigWag or Ninja Blocks; thus, for example, it can notify you when a package is delivered or when little Raul gets home from school. Similarly, you can connect it to an RSS feed or integrate it with your email. An "Action" button on the speaker lets you input any simple command; for example, if a meeting notification is displayed, you can press the Action button, scroll through different actions and for example, tell everyone you're running late. From an audio standpoint, the speaker operates as a Bluetooth speaker; it can stream from music services via your phone or tablet. Its display can show music visualizations, if you're into that sort of thing.

The LaMetric makes a whole lot of sense. Think about it - as a speaker, it is already sitting on your desk and its display eliminates the need to check your phone. Instead, you can check multiple data right on the speaker. Pretty nifty.

MSRP is $169 for a plug-in version and $199 for a battery-operated version. The speaker will be available in Spring 2015.