A little over a week ago, if a well-heeled music loving consumer wanted to stream music around the home, there was only one solution -- a Sonos system -- but now Samsung and Bose are also vying for a piece of the same market.
Called the SoundTouch Wi-Fi system, Bose’s entry into the premium market comes in a range of three sizes and outputs, each of which is designed to make the most of the acoustics of its location.
Compatible with Apple’s AirPlay for automatic streaming of tracks from an iPhone, iPad or Mac’s music library, they also support Pandora, and compatibility with other internet radio stations and streaming services such as Deezer are in the works. The largest, the SoundTouch 30 wi-fi system (25.4x43.18x17.78cm) is powerful enough to serve as a home’s main music system and has an enhanced woofer for better bass.
It can be added to with the smaller 17.78 x 30.48 x10.16cm 20 wi-fi speaker plus a fully portable (including a rechargeable battery) unit which at 15.24 x 25.4x7.5cm is also small enough to drop into a bag for music on the go. Bose plans to add to the system with a selection of extra stereo speakers and other modules plus a range of weather-resistant speakers for use outdoors.
And as well as an app for controlling which speaker in which room plays what and when, a remote control unit is also available that can be wall-mounted to put control in a central location. Other nice touches include one-touch operation. Once preferences have been set up and favorite music sources and playlists chosen, pressing a button on any of the units will start playback. However, this ease of use comes at a price.
The SoundTouch 30 system will be sold for $699 and the SoundTouch 20 and SoundTouch Portable system for $399 each. These prices peg the system as a direct competitor with Sonos who offers very similar speakers at the same retail points. However, like the Californian firm, Bose has the right reputation for quality and a big enough existing music-loving customer base to offer something in this segment.
The company has also made it clear that all of its future home audio products will be compatible with the SoundTouch system so that consumers really will be able to mix and match speakers and other products to suit their needs. Earlier this month, Samsung also announced the US launch of its own Sonos-challenging speaker system, the Shape M7, which at $399 per speaker plus an additional $49 for a hub for multi-room, multi-speaker set-ups puts it on a par with the competition in terms of cost, but not in terms of quality. The supporting app is less than polished and the system doesn’t yet support a number of internet radio and streaming services. Nor is it clear whether or not the system support’s Apple’s AirPlay technology.