Tech and gadgetry can sometimes be so uniform in design that it's always refreshing to see playfully-designed products. The world of portable speakers is vast and varied, which gives us a great (and inexpensive) outlet for self-expression. Here are seven particularly cool options to help you inject some personality and color onto your desktop or device.
1. Portable Balloon Speaker ($45)
Inject some color into your life with these portable balloon-shaped speakers. Winner of the 2010 iF Product Design Award, these foam balls are sure to elicit a smile, and they last for 4.2 hours at max volume. Comes in red, pink, light green, dark green, black and yellow but no single retail seems to stock them all.
2. Tiny Acorn iPod Speaker ($45)
This delightful iPod speaker, made from natural cut apricot wood, is the actual size of an acorn. Remarkable, then, that is also includes an FM radio function along with the USB/standard jack combo. Play time for the speaker is about 5 hours before recharging is needed.
3. Earphone Speaker Keychain ($8.99)
This handy keychain is an oversized nod to the Apple earbud. It's a plug and play speaker and does not require charging, so just pull it out of its keychain carrier, pop it in, and you're good to go.
4. DIY Recycled Plastic Speakers ($16)
These cool plastic speakers would make a great gift for a creative person in your life. They arrive flat and come with colorful markers, so when you assemble them into their 3" cube form, you can have fun drawing and decorating! Plus, they contains 80% recycled materials.
5. USB Puppy Speakers ($45)
For a dose of cute (or surreal), try these speakers in the shape of puppies! Imported from Japan, these pups run from USB-supplied power. Along with the dalmation and Cavalier spaniel, you'll also get a wired remote control in the shape of a guitar.
6. High Heeled Shoe Speakers ($55)
Another cute/surreal product from Japan, these USB-powered stereo speakers are in the shape of red and black high-heeled shoes. According to the manufacturer's website these have been making waves on Japanese television and newspapers all year long, but they don't seem to be available in the US yet.
7. LaCie USB Speakers ($26)
Designed by Neil Poulton, these USB speakers from LaCie are small, portable and stylish enough to please everyone. They're USB-powered and come with an additional power adapter for use with iPods and other mp3 devices.