First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Bose's new SoundTouch music players to rival Sonos
- — 11 October, 2013 00:01
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.
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.
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.
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.