French tech company Parrot has defended the pricing of its new Zik wireless headphones, following the announcement that they will cost $100 more in Australia than the US.
The company revealed today that its Zik wireless Bluetooth headphones, designed specifically for use with smartphones, will cost $499 when they go on sale in Australia in August. The Zik headphones will sell for $399USD in the US and £349 in the UK.
"The $499 has GST included and with various supply chain costs, this is how we get to the $499 price," said Chris Roberts, Parrot Australia's managing director. "With supply chain costs to bring product to Australia and distribute it around Australia, that's probably a discussion for the retailers rather than the manufacturer."
Roberts said Parrot would honour the warranty if a consumer purchases the Zik headphones overseas. "Parrot is a global company so obviously we have to look after global consumers, but we also have to develop and support the product locally," he explained.
The Parrot Zik headphones deliver music via Bluetooth and are therefore compatible with any Bluetooth device. The product forms part of Parrot's "design by" range and was designed by French designer and architect Philippe Starck.
"We are investing significantly on the long life of the product with major retailers throughout the country," explained Roberts. "We've spent three years developing this product, we've invested considerably on its development."
Among the features of the Zik wireless headphones are swipe touch sensitive controls to adjust volume and change tracks, a jawbone sensor that aims to improve voice quality and four microphones to handle voice calls over Bluetooth. In addition, a presence-sensor will pause your music when the headphones are removed from your ears and an active noise cancelling system insulates from surrounding background noise.
A smartphone app available on both the iOS app store and Google's Play Store will allow users to alter the acoustics and sound-space of the Zik headphones.
The Parrot Zik headphones also include an NFC (Near Field Communications) chip for quick pairing, where tapping an NFC capable phone against the headphones will instantly pair the two devices. However, the NFC feature is initially only compatible with two smartphones, the BlackBerry Curve and the Nokia N9.
Parrot's Zik Product Manager, Florence Augereau, confirmed the Zik's software would be updated in the coming months to support various other NFC compatible smartphones like Samsung's Galaxy S III, but did not provide a specific time frame.
Parrot says the battery of the Zik will last for up to five hours of music playback on a full charge, and will take around one and a half hours to fully charge.
The Parrot Zik headphones will be available in August from Apple Stores, leading consumer stores, concept stores and Hi-Fi stores for $499.