Belkin Surf, Share, Play & Play Max routers try to make networking idiot-proof

Mar 24, 2010
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Belkin Surf, Share, Play & Play Max routers try to make networking idiot-proof

Seemingly based on the premise that computer users aren't to be trusted with regular routers and are likely to break things, set them up wrong or generally end up weeping on the end of a premium technical support line, Belkin have outed its latest series of so-simple-a-goose-could-do-it wireless routers.  The four-strong line-up - spanning $50 to $130 - all support WiFi 802.11n and have Easy Start and Self-Healing for straightforward everyday use, together with various preloaded apps for sharing music, gaming and printing.

The most basic model, the Belkin Surf ($49.99) supports single-band 2.4GHz use and comes preconfigured with wireless security.  Once you spend a little more, though, things get more interesting: the Belkin Share ($79.99) has a USB 2.0 port for adding external storage or a printer, and has a Print Genie app for straightforward wireless printing together with an auto-backup app called Memory Safe.

As for the Belkin Play ($99.99) and Belkin Play Max ($129.99), they may sound like something from Durex's line-up but they add in simultaneous dualband 2.4/5GHz use, one or two USB 2.0 ports respectively, and DLNA streaming via the Music Mover app while Daily DJ can create mood-based playlists automatically.  The Play Max also gets gigabit ethernet ports.

All four new routers - plus two new USB WiFi 802.11n adapters - will begin shipping in the US come April, Europe come early May, Canada in July and Asia Pacific in Q3 2010.

Press Release:

Belkin Presents a New Way of Thinking with the Introduction of Apps in New 802.11n Wireless Router Line

Wireless routers feature Easy Start and Self-Healing to get you online and keep you surfing

Innovative apps such as Print Genie, Music Mover™, and Daily DJ™ let you easily do the activities you want to do

Simultaneous Dual-Band N Play and Play Max Routers deliver the best speed and performance for streaming HD videos

(Playa Vista, CA) - March 24, 2010 - You can now do more with your photos, music, and videos with Belkin's new wireless routers. Featuring fun and powerful applications, the Surf, Share, Play, and Play Max Wireless Routers enable you to play music, games, and HD videos as well as share photos and print wirelessly from anywhere in your home.

With the explosion of multimedia content, people are looking for new and richer experiences with their photos, music, and videos. In a recent IDC survey, 72% of respondents own a digital still camera and use it at least once a month in the home. As such, we can expect that more people will want to share their photos and videos in more places. According to Forrester, “the digital music market has grown substantially in the past few years and stands at $3 billion in the US in 2008.”* Similarly, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, almost 1 million homes in 2008 eliminated their cable TV to rely solely on the Internet for video entertainment. In recognizing these burgeoning needs, Belkin aims to create richer multimedia experiences to empower people to do the activities they want.

With apps designed to enhance your wireless experience, Belkin's new line of routers are easy to set up and will keep you online. The Self-Healing app automatically detects and resolves network problems and runs routine maintenance scans to give you the clearest wireless channel.

The Share, Play, and Play Max Routers offer the Print Genie app that lets you wirelessly print from any computer on the network in your home while Memory Safe™ automatically backs up your photos and files to an external hard drive (sold separately)—so you can rest assured that your precious memories are protected.

With advanced Dual-Band N technology, Belkin’s Play and Play Max Routers provide the best speed and performance. Simultaneous networks eliminate interference and allow you to optimize performance for media-intensive activities, such as streaming HD movies, gaming online, and downloading large media files.

Apps on Play and Play Max let you do more with your music. Music Mover can play your entire music library on smart devices, like the Xbox® or PS3™, making your music just a touch away. The Daily DJ app serves up daily personalized playlists to match your mood. By analyzing the musical DNA of your music, Daily DJ creates playlists around three mood mixes: High-Energy, Steady Groove, and Kick Back. You can also create your own playlist by choosing a song and letting Daily DJ offer a new take on your favorite music.

AVAILABILITY:
US: April 2010
Europe: Starting in early May 2010
Asia Pacific: Q3 2010
Canada: July 2010

STATISTICS:
40% of people surveyed don’t know the wireless technology behind their networks (IDC, IDC's 2009 Connected Home Survey: Consumer Confusion Means Vendor Opportunities, Doc # TB20091008, October 2009)

72% of survey respondents owned a digital still camera and used it at least once a month in the home (IDC, IDC's 2009 Connected Home Survey: Consumer Confusion Means Vendor Opportunities, Doc # TB20091008, October 2009).

“The digital music market has grown substantially in the past few years and stands at $3 billion in the US and €1.3 billion in Western Europe in 2008.” (“The Global Landscape Of Online Music Stores And Services,” Forrester Research, Inc., April, 2009.)

Nearly 1 million U.S. homes in 2008 did not pay for TV, relying solely on Web TV, according to estimates from Parks Associates. (“More Households Cut the Cord on Cable,” The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2009)

“As of early 2009, 78% of US Internet users watched online video in a typical month, putting online video clearly in the list of top five online activities with online heavyweights like email and search.” (“How Consumers Get Online Video To The TV,” Forrester Research, Inc., June, 2009.)

QUOTES:
Kurt Scherf, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Parks Associates:

"Belkin’s approach to studying user experiences and how people are interacting with their digital content is evident in how they’ve designed their new wireless routers. Features such as Easy Setup and its Music Mover app help people do the activities they want to do, and Belkin is communicating these benefits in a simple way such that people can understand."
Jim Wagner, General Manager at Belkin:

"The explosion of digital content is heralding new opportunities, and this in itself is exciting. Using our consumer insight research, we learned that people want to do more with their photos, music, and videos throughout their home and across their network. Further, we found that while people had high aspirations for their network and media, unfortunately they were not buying routers capable of giving them the best of those experiences.
"With that in mind, we created a line of wireless routers based around the activities people want to do most. We made our Surf, Share, and Play Routers powerful enough to give great networking experiences, and we added easy-to-use apps to enable these activities. Now, even the most novice of consumer can create great experiences in their home and across their network."

Play Max Wireless Router (F7D4301) - $129.99
Stream HD videos, play games online, and download large media files
Features high-speed Gigabit ports for media-intensive applications and simultaneous Dual-Band networks for maximum speed and coverage
Simultaneous 802.11n Dual-Band for speeds of up to 300Mbps*
2.4GHz – Perfect for data and web traffic, and file- and picture-sharing
5GHz – Perfect for streaming media and video games
Dual-plane antenna positioning and unique implementation of MIMO technology provides three-dimensional coverage, which means consistent signal, even through walls and floors
2 USB ports to support external USB hard drives and USB printers
UPnP server
Pre-configured wireless security
Wi-Fi Protected Setup™ - 256-bit WPA®/WPA2® and 64/128 WEP encryption
VPN Support: PPTP and IPSec pass-through
Compatible with Mac OS® X v10.6 and v10.5, and Windows® 7, Windows Vista®, and Windows XP

Play Wireless Router (F7D4302) - $99.99
Provides the fastest, most reliable speeds for streaming video, playing music, and online gaming
Simultaneous 802.11n Dual-Band for speeds of up to 300Mbps*
2.4GHz – Perfect for data and web traffic, and file- and picture-sharing
5GHz – Perfect for streaming media and video games
Dual-plane antenna positioning and unique implementation of MIMO technology provides three-dimensional coverage, which means consistent signal, even through walls and floors
1 USB port supports external USB hard drives or USB printers
Pre-configured wireless security
Wi-Fi Protected Setup - 256-bit WPA/WPA2 and 64/128 WEP encryption
VPN Support: PPTP and IPSec pass-through
Compatible with Mac OS X v10.6 and v10.5, and Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP

Share Wireless Router (F7D3302) - $79.99
Easily share and access documents, photos, and files from multiple computers
802.11n
2.4GHz – Perfect for data and web traffic, and file- and picture-sharing
Dual-plane antenna positioning and unique implementation of MIMO technology provides three-dimensional coverage, which means consistent signal, even through walls and floors
1 USB port supports external USB hard drives or USB printers
Pre-configured wireless security
Wi-Fi Protected Setup - 256-bit WPA/WPA2 and 64/128 WEP encryption
VPN Support: PPTP and IPSec pass-through
Compatible with Mac OS X v10.6 and v10.5, and Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP

Surf Wireless Router (F7D2301) - $49.99
Surf the Web, email, and instant message from anywhere in your home
802.11n
2.4GHz – Perfect for data and web traffic, and file- and picture-sharing
Dual-plane antenna positioning and unique implementation of MIMO technology provides three-dimensional coverage, which means consistent signal, even through walls and floors
Pre-configured wireless security
Wi-Fi Protected Setup - 256-bit WPA/WPA2 and 64/128 WEP encryption
VPN Support: PPTP and IPSec pass-through
Compatible with Mac OS X v10.6 and v10.5, and Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP

Play Wireless USB Adapter (F7D4101) - $69.99
Surf & Share Wireless USB Adapter (F7D2101) - $49.99
Connects your desktop or notebook computer to a wireless network
Provides optimal range and distance when paired with an 802.11n router
WPS security with the push of a button

APPLICATIONS:
Self Healing: Automatically detects and resolves network problems and runs routine maintenance scans to give you the clearest wireless channel. Available on Surf, Share, Play, and Play Max.

Memory Safe: Automatically backs up precious photos and important files to your external hard drive. Available on Share, Play, and Play Max.

Print Genie: Print wirelessly from any computer on the network from anywhere in your home. Available on Share, Play, and Play Max.

Music Mover: Play MP3s from your music library on your home stereo wirelessly. Connect your external hard drive on which you store your music to the router—and move music from your computer to your stereo through devices like Xbox 360® and PlayStation® 3. Available on Play and Play Max.

Music Labeler: Automatically identifies and labels your track with the correct title, artist, and genre. Available on Play and Play Max.

Daily DJ: Get daily personalized playlists from your music library based on your mood. Available on Play and Play Max.

Torrent Genie: Downloads large media files like movies, music, and games, even when your computer isn’t on. Available on Play Max.

Bit Boost™: Prioritizes traffic on your network for video, gaming, and VoIP, letting you easily select your most important data streams for seamless network traffic. Available on Play Max.


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