In a play to make its audio gear more relevant in today’s connected home, Bose has launched new smart speakers and soundbars with the Amazon Alexa voice assistant built in. New products from the company include the Home Speaker 500, Soundbar 500, and Soundbar 700, speakers which can be used standalone or in multi-room configurations. All feature onboard Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networking, and can be had in white or black anodized aluminum finishes.
In their marketing, Bose has stressed the competency of the microphone technology built into these new speakers, a critical component for the Alexa assistant and other digital assistants they will support in the future. Their solution includes a Bose-designed, eight-microphone array they say is optimized for both near-field and far-field pickup of voice commands.
Bose Home Speaker 500
The most interesting product in the new range may be the Home Speaker 500. This is an Apple HomePod– or Sonos One-sized speaker, and has an integrated color LCD display on its front face that delivers information about the content currently playing, including album art. Bose says a single Home Speaker 500 delivers wall-to-wall stereo sound without the need to pair with a second speaker.
This new Bose speaker is priced at $399, $50 more than the $349 Apple HomePod and $200 more than the $199 Sonos One. Keep in mind, however, that the Apple and Sonos speakers will need to be purchased in pairs to create stereo sound.
Bose Soundbar 500 and 700
The Bose Soundbar 500 and 700 are designed for use in home theater settings and do not require a separate receiver or amplifier to operate. They connect with a TV via an HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) cable, and can seamlessly switch between audio and video sources.
The $549 Soundbar 500 is the smaller of the two and measures just over 31-in. long. while the $799 Soundbar 700 measures 38-in. long. Both can be placed on a flat surface, or alternatively hung on the wall below the TV with an optional $40 wall bracket. The soundbars can be paired with a Bose wireless bass module and rear speakers for a full 5.1 experience.
More Voice Assistants Coming
In addition to adding more voice assistants to these products through future software-only upgrades (one can assume that will include Apple Siri and Google Assistant), Bose has already committed to providing Apple AirPlay 2 support for streaming from Apple devices by early 2019.
All of these new speakers can also be controlled with the Bose Music app on mobile devices. The app can integrate audio and music services from multiple sources, including Amazon Music, Deezer, iHeart Radio, Pandora, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, and SiriusXM.
The products are available at Bose retail stores, the Bose website, and from authorized Bose dealers.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.