Things are getting just a little bit weird over at Atari. Shortly after revealing some more information about its upcoming Ataribox console, the company announced that it's entering the wearable technology market with Speakerhats, which are baseball caps with speakers inside. (So pretty much exactly what their name implies.) Now you won't have to choose between a hat and some headphones; you can wear both at the same time!
Atari said the Speakerhats are part of a new Atari Connected Life initiative that plans to "blur the line between fashion and future." The company plans to drive that point home with limited edition "Blade Runner 2049" co-branded Speakerhats. That makes sense: The first trailer for "Blade Runner 2049," a sequel to 1982's original "Blade Runner," prominently displayed the Atari logo on the side of a building. Brands, meet synergy.
But, much like a box of chocolates, the Speakerhats aren't about what's on the outside. Instead, Atari's focus is on the device's internals, which feature "high-fidelity speakers," a microphone, and Bluetooth technologies. That combination means you'll be able to listen to music, answer phone calls, and do pretty much anything else you can do with a bunch of internet-connected speakers and microphones. But Atari didn't stop there.
The Speakerhats do have one standout feature: Multiplayer Mode. Atari said this feature will "enable multiple Speakerhat users to simultaneously listen to a single audio stream in perfect synchronization," which could prove useful if you want to listen to music in a public place or play games without waking someone up. (The rub, of course, being that you have to have a bunch of friends who are on board with the Speakerhats.)
This might seem like a joke, but it doesn't appear to be one. Here's what Atari said in a press release:
“Atari has transcended its seminal gaming origins to become a true pop-culture lifestyle brand, but disruption remains deeply rooted in our DNA,” said Atari Connect COO, Michael Arzt. “With the recent reveal of our Ataribox project and now with Speakerhats, we envision a full range of connected personal devices that live at society’s intersection of entertainment, technology and social connectivity that legendary film worlds like BLADE RUNNER 2049 foretell. Our new products will speak to a whole new generation of Atari fans, while also honoring the decades of affection and devotion by our most loyal ones.”
We aren't entirely convinced that people were pining for an Atari-branded bastard child of a hat and a headset. But Atari seems to have faith in the Speakerhats--you can sign up for updates on the product's development and a "chance to win a beta test pack" on the Atari Connected Life website. And hey, it could have been worse: The company could've decided to put the Ataribox's wood paneling on the Speakerhats.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.
It actually appears rather elegant, imo.Reply
I'm starting to think about investing in Atari stock.......
remember how annoying listening to boombox back in the 80s and 90s?Reply
this ain't gonna be any better
Speakerhats! The future is NOW!Reply
I kind of think they should have gone with a top hat design though, so the speakers could be positioned closer to the ears. Imagine a fine felted top hat with the Atari logo emblazoned across the front, and integrated bluetooth speakers in the rim. There would also be plenty of room inside for a subwoofer, and maybe a USB battery bank and smartphone dock. Perhaps they will keep those things in mind for the second-generation units.
They forgot the propeller, big fail.Reply
Kid: Mom have you seen my hat?Reply
Mom: It was dirty, so I put it in the wash.
How long till Apple's lawyers show up saying they patented this already.Reply
You know. . .Isound. . . . .Applehat. . . .Corecap. . . . .
Wonder how much Atari paid for brand placement in the movie.Reply
I was expecting something like an ushanka. The only reason I know what an ushanka is is because I googled "furry hat with ear flaps."Reply
I am kind of interested in what a couple hundred hats in sync for a concert would sound likeReply
Atari hasn't gone anywhere. It was in the 1982 Blade Runner.Reply