Design Tunes Up Altec Lansing

The once-innovative audio gear maker is banking on building an internal design organization to turn its business around
New iPod, PC, and MP3 speaker systems released this month take design cues from classic Altec Lansing products

Darrin Caddes has his work cut out for him. In the dimly lit backroom of a ritzy Manhattan hotel, a dozen or so gadget bloggers and technology writers have gathered to meet with Caddes, vice-president for corporate design at headset maker Plantronics (PLT). But instead of the form-fitting ear pieces or business communications gear Caddes is known for, the soft-spoken, 43-year-old designer is surrounded by a range of gleaming iPod speaker systems, their LCD displays glowing blue and orange.

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