Bose's new SoundTouch music players to rival Sonos

Bose SoundTouch 30, SoundTouch 20, and SoundTouch Portable aim to make Wi-Fi music systems "mainstream"

Bose has unveiled a brand new suite of Wi-Fi enabled music systems designed to compete with the popular Sonos range, but the devices will only support Internet radio, and the Pandora streaming music service at launch.

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The company officially announced three new products marketed under the SoundTouch brand overnight. The flagship SoundTouch 30 ($899), will be joined by the smaller SoundTouch 20 ($549), and the compact SoundTouch Portable ($549).

The latter has a built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion battery and can therefore be used without a power adapter.

The one piece Wi-Fi music systems can stream music directly from the Internet, including working with dedicated streaming service Pandora, and Internet radio stations.

The devices will also stream music from a users' stored music library over a home Wi-Fi network.

The units come with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, feature six preset buttons that can be assigned to multiple sources, and have an OLED display, and a dedicated remote control. They also support multi-room audio when more than one speaker is connected in a home.

When a music source, such as an Internet radio station, or a Pandora playlist, is assigned to a preset on the SoundTouch system, the unit can be powered on and immediately begin playing without the need to select or search for music.

The Bose SoundTouch 30, SoundTouch 20, and SoundTouch Portable Wi-Fi music systems.
The Bose SoundTouch 30, SoundTouch 20, and SoundTouch Portable Wi-Fi music systems.

Bose Australia's retail training manager, Sam Carter, claims this addition of presets, while not a new feature in the audio market, makes the SoundTouch products easier to use than many other Wi-Fi music systems on the market.

"Presets are nothing new, but what we have we believe is quite unique because you can assign different sources to different presets very easily."

When questioned as to why the SoundTouch products don't support popular music streaming services like Spotify and Rdio, Carter said a software update "within six months" would incorporate new services.

"At launch it [the SoundTouch products] will be supporting Pandora only, but within six months we are planning a major software update that will incorporate a number of other music services. If there are more services that become popular down the track we can choose to integrate them too."

"Customers can still Airplay current music services like JB Hi-Fi Now, and Spotify, if they have a compatible iOS device, but at launch the SoundTouch products will only support Pandora."

"Pandora is only available in US, Australia and New Zealand, so we are kind of riding the wave of that which is nice."

Carter said that while Wi-Fi music systems are not new, Bose believes the ease of use of the SoundTouch systems will help these types of products become mainstream.

"We believe is there is a better way to have a music system that connects directly with your home Wi-Fi network. Of course, these products exist and Wi-Fi music systems have been around for close to 10 years."

"But if Wi-Fi music systems have been around for 10 years, and tens of millions of people stream music everyday, why is there only a small percentage of people who use these products?"

"We are not the first company to bring one of these products to the market, but we believe that we can make Wi-Fi music systems mainstream."

The SoundTouch 30, SoundTouch 20, and SoundTouch Portable range of products will work with dedicated applications for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, as well as Windows and Mac based desktop and notebook computers.

The Bose SoundTouch app for iPad
The Bose SoundTouch app for iPad

In addition to the dedicated SoundTouch devices, Bose has also launched a total of 12 home-based music devices that support the multi-room SoundTouch technology, including an upgraded Wave sound system, a range of dedicated home theatre speakers, and a number of outdoor speakers and amplifiers.

The three new SoundTouch home music systems will go on sale across Australia from Monday, 14 October.

The top of the range Bose SoundTouch 30 system will retail for $899 in Australia.
The top of the range Bose SoundTouch 30 system will retail for $899 in Australia.

Tags wi-fi music playerSonoshome speakersBose SoundTouchBosehome theatre

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

Good Gear Guide

11 Comments

Scott M

1

Late to the game Bose!.........and you were in such a rush you put out really high priced, low capability dinosaur products! This is what happens when you rest on your laurels.

John

2

Lol late to the game? These systems are mostly non existent in people's homes right now.

Kindred

3

Non existent? This type of system has been already readily available to anyone for the past couple of years. Try Sonos. They've also been around long enough to work out most of the downfalls in user controlled apps and supported products.

I've worked in a high end retail store which sells a LOT of different products; both Bose and Sonos included. Bose have their strong points. Undoubtedly their Sounddocks, headphones, cube speakers (to the right client) and computer speakers are great, but i feel this range, like so many of the other Bose products, falls straight into the fail bin.

This new range will still do well, selling to those that already own a Bose LS system (when the adapter comes out), or Bose fanboys. But for those that want the best multi-room wireless expansion, Sonos (at this stage) is nahds down the best solutions. All you need to do is compare price point, supported apps (like Spotify, Rdio etc), overall cosmetics, and ease of use. Sonos wins every time.

Winning

4

I don't think you really know what you're talking about Kindred... How much research have you done around that market share Sonos has captured? And furthermore how in the world would you know that said system will be "hands down" easier to use yet you've never used the new Bose stuff. Sounds to me like YOU are just another naive "fanboy" that craps from the mouth

Kindred

5

"Winning" what are you talking about? As I said I sell both brands and have absolutely no bias in this matter. Im making a call based on my experience in both brands' current product range. I do know that the usability of Sonos is designed to cater to pretty well anyone that knows how to operate a smartphone, ipad etc. And no, the Bose system is not released yet, but after reading plenty of articles surrounding the Bose, one of the biggest criticisms is that the operating system of the Bose is still far from complete. And in regards to market share, in all fairness, absolutely no research. What I do is access whatever is receiving the most hype, best reviews, then test it against whatever our business currently stocks. To this day I havent found something that is more suitable for wireless multi-room that Sonos (given most people's needs). Not quite sure what you're trying to argue? You think Bose is worthwhile? Give me a reason.

jausel

6

I looked at the Bose Soundtouch 20 and the Sonos Play:5 yeterday at the store. The Sonos did not even touch the Bose in terms of sound quality and I ended up getting the Bose. The problem is that the Bose SoundTouch controller app is really primitive. You can't even make a playlist with it. Hopefully they'll release an update sometime soon.

David_Melbourne

7

All I want is a portable Sonos5, ie. with a built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion battery included so it is truely portable ! I hate to have to run power extension leads outside for my current Sonos5. on Sonos,This type of product would kill the new Bose SoundTouch Portable

Andrew_Melbourne

8

@ David_Melbourne - I totally agree. I have had Bose previously over the years and now have completely upgraded to Sonos and very very happy. The only product left for Sonos is a rechargeable speaker (probably the Play3 size would be great) with a decent battery to allow listening for 10-12 hours at reasonable volume. Of course the existing functionality to pair two together for separated stereo would also be great!

Andrew_Melbourne

9

One more comment. Presets?? I mean this is like using an old car radio! At least Sonos gives you full access from your smartphone lol.

Shady

10

I'm a music lover..... BOSE soundtouch 30 provide much richer, deeper sound than the play 5
As a music lover, the number one thing that I'm looking for when buying a product is the sound quality, before anything else..... And I'm sorry but the bose soundtouch 30 KILLS the sonos play 5.

Shady

11

I'm a music lover..... BOSE soundtouch 30 provide much richer, deeper sound than the play 5
As a music lover, the number one thing that I'm looking for when buying a product is the sound quality, before anything else..... And I'm sorry but the bose soundtouch 30 KILLS the sonos play 5.

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