CNET First Look
Bose takes on Sonos with SoundTouch, new multiroom wireless audio systemNew WiFi line includes 3 speaker models at launch: the SoundTouch 30, SoundTouch 20, and SoundTouch Portable
I'm David Carnoy, Executive Editor for CNET.com and I'm here at a townhouse in Greenwich Village where Bose is demonstrating its new SouthTouch system. This is a WiFi-based multiroom audio system and it has introduced three new speakers, the SoundTouch 30, which is the largest system that's designed for bigger room, that's $700 and there's the SoundTouch 20 which is a little bit smaller speaker that retails for $400, and then there's an even smaller portable unit, the SoundTouch Portable which is also $400 and has design to be taken from room-to-room you can unplug it and it does have a rechargeable battery inside it. The key to the system is the Bose has tried to make it ultra simple. Thus, the SoundTouch name, there are six buttons on top of these units that correspond to six presets in the app so you can set any radio station or Pandora. It will launch with Pandora and in future software upgrades they'll add additional services next year. You can also obviously stream your music library from your computer and map one of those presets to your music library. All the speakers are designed to work with the apps and you can app various rooms by adding various speakers, they're also Airplay compatible. So, if you want to go straight to one of the speakers using Airplay from your iOS device, you could also do that. The units also come with a IR remote, with those same corresponding six buttons. So, if you don't wanna use the app, you can use that little remote. Additionally, Bose is going to be selling a special SoundTouch controller, it's a little bit fancier remote that is also designed with-- to work with all the systems. So, look for more Bose SoundTouch products later this year and next year. Couple other things worth mentioning on the two non-portable speakers, there is an Ethernet connection, so you can use these as a wired speaker and add them to your network. There's also auxiliary input so you can play other audio sources through the speaker without going wireless. In terms of streaming from room-to-room, you can stream to one single speaker and have it playing just in that room or you could combine various rooms and join them up and have the music play everywhere throughout your home. The Bose SoundTouch app, which is free, will be available for iOS, Android and both Mac and Windows PCs. So, all-in-all, an interesting move by Bose and 'til now, Sonos has really owned this multiroom audio in the consumer space but with Bose going into it, obviously it's gonna put a lot of marketing dollars behind this. So, I'd say Sonos will have its first big competitive year and we look forward to testing these products further. I'm David Carnoy and that's the new Bose SoundTouch Multiroom Audio System.