Bose Tackles Music Streaming With SoundTouch
System designed for ease of useOctober 10, 2013 By Jeff O'Heir
After more than four years of development, Bose is ready to launch a music streaming system that includes three new wireless speakers and an app for accessing and controlling music.
The SoundTouch Wi-Fi system launches October 10 and includes the SoundTouch 30 ($699, with a 9-pound woofer for deep base), SoundTouch 20 ($399, a fully redesigned system to optimize sound quality in a smaller footprint) and SoundTouch Portable. Almost all of Bose's new and refreshed products - including VideoWave entertainment systems (early next year), Wave music systems (in December) and Jewel Cube speakers - will be based on the SoundTouch architecture. All SoundTouch products are AirPlay enabled and include a remote. A premium controller (shaped like the Nest thermostat, it can hang on the wall and automatically lights up when someone approaches it) will be sold separately for $99.
Bose executives and engineers said they had one major goal when they first started designing the system: To make it as easy as possible for anyone in the household to set up, manage and use. "We're trying to reach customers who appreciate ease of
use," said Phil Hess, vice president of Bose Home Entertainment.
Each of the SoundTouch speakers includes six presets for songs, playlists or stations. While users don't need a mobile device to control the speakers, the heart of system is the SoundTouch app for iOS and Android devices.
To configure the presets, users choose music files, streaming services (Pandora is the only one offered today, but Bose executives promise more soon) or Internet radio stations from the "Explore" section of the app and then drag and drop the icon onto the preset number. Presets are automatically configured on the speaker systems.
The bottom of the app features tabs for each SoundTouch device in the home. Users can tap the tab to activate several devices at once. A "Play Everywhere" mode streams the same song on all chosen speakers.
Bose will role out SoundTouch display and demo units to its key dealers and retailers. A comprehensive advertising and marketing campaign will support the launch. The key to selling the new systems, however, is getting consumers to use and hear them, Bose executives said.
"We think people who try it will buy it," said Bob Maresca, Bose president. "We believe we can get across the simplicity" of the systems through retail demos, he added.