SoundTouch Series II delivers updated apps and music services to Bose's Sonos competitor
Bose announced its second-generation SoundTouch system are now available -- with the main difference being a choice of colors -- as well as a host of software improvements and new streaming services.
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
ExpertiseTy has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast.Credentials
Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
The Bose SoundTouch series of multiroom wireless audio streamers is back for round two -- with some nice improvements on board.
A year after the company first unveiled its Sonos-style SoundTouch wireless audio system, Bose is already upgrading it to "Series II" status for 2014. The "new" line is actually the same hardware -- the flagship SoundTouch 30, the SoundTouch 20, and the SoundTouch Portable -- but now available in black as well as the original white. The black models, shown above, were unveiled at a New York City event highlighting Bose's 50-year anniversary.
Perhaps more importantly, though, Bose has begun to deliver on some of the improvements it promised earlier. New to SoundTouch is Deezer, Spotify Connect and iHeartRadio integration. That's a nice step up from before, when it just offered Pandora and Internet radio. The SoundTouch also supports streaming from PC/Mac based music libraries, including non-copyprotected iTunes files. Bose says that new music services and functionality will continue to be added regularly.
Improved control apps (available on Android and iOS) are also on deck, with a new search function which lets you find artists and songs in your music library, in addition to a new bass control.
The other thing the company removed is the unusual requirement of plugging the SoundTouch unit into a PC in order to set it up. The SoundTouch device can now be setup wirelessly from your smartphone or tablet via the app. (All of the software, service, and app improvements should be available to owners of the original SoundTouch, too.)
All of the upgrades help address many of the criticisms we noted in our review of the original SoundTouch system earlier this year. (To that end, stay tuned for an updated review with these Series II updates in the near future.) Of course, the multiroom wireless audio space is now more competitive than ever, with companies as varied as Samsung , LG , Monster , and Harman Kardon all vying -- along with Bose -- to take down current market leader Sonos .
The company also announced SoundTouch-compatible Lifestyle Series III home entertainment systems and a new CineMate line of home theater products.