Wilsonville headphones maker to partner with Motorola

Wilsonville headphones maker to partner with Motorola

Sol Republic got an Olympic-sized marketing boost when swimmer Michael Phelps sported the company's headphones before events at the London Games.

Now, the Wilsonville maker of premium headphones is primed for another blast and a pivot into a new market through a strategic partnership with Google-owned Motorola. The fruits of that partnership were unveiled today and include a new wireless speaker product called DECK and a new line of headphone colors that are compatible with Motorola's much-hyped Moto X phone.

The Android smartphone was released Thursday in New York City and allows users to personalize the phone's look by, among other things, customizing the color of the outside casing. As part of the launch, Sol Republic has released a series of in-ear and on-ear headphones in compatible colors with a single-button remote and microphone.

DECK is a small, portable speaker that offers 360-degree surround sound and a 300-foot wireless range, among other features. The most "game-changing" technology, however, according to Sol Republic CEO Scott Hix is Heist Mode, which allows up to 5 people to simultaneous use DECK anywhere within the 300-foot-range and take turns controlling the music.

"So if you don't like my John Denver, you can heist DECK and change it to your Dave Mathews," said Hix, who added the Sol Republic and Motorola began talking about a year ago. "We found lots of synergies. They wanted the benefit of our knowledge of the 15-to-28-year-old Echo Boomer demographic and our acoustic understanding. We were interested in their wireless protocol and technology."

Sol Republic, which has 85 full-time employees split between Wilsonville and San Francisco, has experienced remarkable success since its 2011 launch. It's shipped 2-million headphone units into the market and has raised at least $27 million from investors.

Hix said more new products will be released later this year and he expects the "big growth" that will result will make Sol Republic one of Oregon's fastest-growing companies.

Portland Business Journal is a KATU News partner.

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