Hands on with the Parrot Zikmu, an elegant wireless speaker for our iPhone-filled world

Parrot founder and CEO Henri Seydoux joined forces with industrial designing heavyweight Philippe Starck, pictured above, to give birth to the "Zikmu" — which, surprising given its looks, the pair of French gentlemen consider a step forward for speaker functionality rather than aesthetics. It's not enough to focus on the design alone, Starck told us, as the look will go out of date as fast as the parts. The important thing is to give people something they can use, and continue to use.

So the Zikmu came to be. The tall, svelte speakers are designed to work in pairs (though we wouldn't be surprised to see a full home theater suite from Parrot in the future) over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, feature 360° NXT surround sound and can play from music from a computer, or from iPods and iPhones by way of the dock up top. It's the dock that guided the rest of the trim design — Starck called our attention to the fact that the top of the speaker isn't much larger than the iPhone it'll cradle, with only enough room for a few buttons.

As for performance, a pair of Zikmu speakers do pretty much what you want a more expensive set to do: rich sound, with all the highs and lows where they should be. They'd be perfect for easy listening in the living room or even a party. Really, though, this is a set that should appeal to anyone who digs the design, or wants a pair of fancy, no-brainer wireless speakers for their iPod or iPhone.

Look for the speakers in April for $1,500 for a pair, including a heavy duty carrying case that, as Starck joked, took more time to design than the speakers, and will make you look like a mafioso hitman.





CORRECTION: The speakers were previously called the "Zimku" speakers in the post, and have been changed to their correct name, "Zikmu." Nice catch, IlanKGB!