Belkin Trying “Apps” To Sell New N Router Line

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Tim Higgins

Belkin today introduced a new line of application-specific 802.11n wireless routers.

The new line is aimed is aimed at general consumers who are not networking savvy and are confused by the "speeds and feeds" marketing approach used with most of today’s wireless routers.

The "app" approach is also aimed at capturing the attention of "app"-savvy buyers created by Facebook, Apple, Google and other companies who have spearheaded the use of free or inexpensive applications that enhance a basic product.

Belkin hopes that the new direction will revive a consumer networking market that has been in decline with eroding prices (and profits) and little consumer excitement due to a general lack of meaningful product innovation.

Belkin’s new line uses an application-driven focus with features and bundled "apps" aimed at specific usage profiles. The routers come with pre-configured wireless security with settings clearly marked on a card attached to each router and even have the network cable and power adapter already attached, to minimize the chance of set up problems for first-time networkers. All models are also designed to be "self-healing" by automatically detecting and resolving network problems.

The four products in the new line include the Surf, Share, Play and Play Max Wireless Routers. Each router supports the features of the model below it and adds its own media-focused functions through bundled apps. All models have a single WAN and four LAN ports and 802.11n radios supporting WEP, WPA / WPA2 and Wi-Fi Protected Setup wireless security.

Models, MSRPs and key features are:

Surf Wireless Router (F7D2301) – $49.99: Entry level model designed for basic web access

  • 2.4 GHz 802.11n radio
  • 10/100 WAN and LAN ports

Share Wireless Router (F7D3302) – $79.99: For sharing, printing and automatically backing up documents

  • 2.4 GHz 802.11n radio
  • 10/100 WAN and LAN ports
  • One USB 2.0 port
  • "Print Genie" app for easy wireless printing
  • "Memory Safe" app for automatic backup to attached USB drive (FAT and NTFS formats)

Play Wireless Router (F7D4302) – $99.99: For streaming music and video and online game play

  • Two dual-band 802.11n radios for simultaneous 2.4 and 5 GHz band operation
  • 10/100/1000 WAN and LAN ports
  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • "Print Genie" app for easy wireless printing
  • "Memory Safe" app for automatic backup to attached USB drive (FAT and NTFS formats)
  • "Music Labeler" app that automatically identifies and labels your music
  • "Daily DJ" app that automatically creates personalized playlists
  • "Music Mover" app for streaming to UPnP AV / DLNA devices like Xbox 350 and PS3

Play Max Wireless Router (F7D4301) – $129.99: Top-of-line "premium" model adding QoS and BitTorrent downloading

  • Two dual-band 802.11n radios for simultaneous 2.4 and 5 GHz band operation
  • 10/100/1000 WAN and LAN ports
  • Two USB 2.0 ports
  • "Print Genie" app for easy wireless printing
  • "Memory Safe" app for automatic backup to attached USB drive (FAT and NTFS formats)
  • "Music Labeler" app that automatically identifies and labels your music
  • "Daily DJ" app that automatically creates personalized playlists
  • "Music Mover" app for streaming to UPnP AV / DLNA devices like Xbox 350 and PS3
  • "Bit Boost" app for data traffic prioritization
  • "Torrent Genie" app for automatic BitTorrent download

Also introduced were companion USB wireless adapters, the Play (F7D4101) – $69.99 dual-band N and Surf and Share (F7D2101) – $49.99 single-band N. All products will begin shipments this month in the U.S.

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