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January 9, 2018

Ashley Chloe wants to build a modular smart speaker in 2019

by John_A

Headphone company Ashley Chloe is thinking about building a modular smart speaker that will create a whole ecosystem of products around it. The firm turned up to CES with a concept device — little more than an industrial design model — that, if there’s enough interest, may become a real product by the end of 2019.

The Ashley Chloe Ensembl is a series of plastic discs sat atop a rose gold and cream plastic cylinder that could replace the Echo in your home. The idea is that, at its heart, it’s a stylish smart speaker that can work with one or two of the major voice assistant platforms.

But on top of that, users could slap on a number of accessories, including a 360-degree IP camera for home security or a glowing lantern disc for use outside at night. If you’re feeling flusher, you could splash out on a pico projector disc for movie night, a QI charging base or a battery for taking the speaker on the go.

Each of the discs, which are for now just pieces of painted plastic, would retail for between $50 and $100-ish, depending on what item you’re buying. And Ashley Chloe is also hoping that third parties will join the bandwagon and produce other accessories for this ecosystem.

The modules themselves would be connected either by USB-C, pogo pins, or both, depending on, again, what happens in the next two years. And it’s thought that the basic speaker, which would either rival Google Home or an Amazon Echo, would set you back around $199.

You know, if it becomes anything more than a stack of plastic discs.

Nicole Lee contributed to this report.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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