Bang & Olufsen has announced upgraded versions of BeoSound 1 and BeoSound 2 with built-in microphones for Google Assistant. They also come equipped with Airplay 2 and Chromecast.
BeoSound 1 and Beosound 2
At CES 2018 earlier this year, Bang & Olufsen confirmed that it was planning to add support for voice assistants and Airplay 2. The first “smart speakers” from the Danish maker of luxury hardware will be the upgraded BeoSound 1 and BeoSound 2 speakers. They come with Google Assistant built-in.
The speakers are equipped with five microphones to ensure that voice commands are heard even when you are listening to music. The company has also added four ‘favorite’ buttons on top that users can program to specific radio stations, playlists, weather updates via Google Assistant, or another function. If you wish to steer clear of Google’s voice assistant, you can deactivate the microphone array by pushing a button under the speaker.
The company claims that these are "the most powerful and best sounding voice-enabled speaker on the market today". However, they are also significantly more expensive that Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, Google Home, and other voice-enabled speakers out there.
- “We are on an exciting journey to bring the convenience of voice technology across the portfolio to our audience of design-conscious customers, who expect the highest standards in terms of sound and craftmanship. Considering that Beosound 2 with the Google Assistant is the most powerful and best sounding voice-enabled speaker on the market today, this first step marks a solid commitment to our customers,” said Bang & Olufsen Director of the staged and flexible speaker categories Petros Belimpasakis.
BeoSound 1 and 2 are conical speakers built from an aluminum structure with a down-firing bass unit. Beosound 1 has a battery and is portable, whereas Beosound 2 must be connected to a power outlet. Both were designed by Torsten Valuer from David Lewis Designers. The company has also added a charging station for Besound 1.
Both speakers come with built-in Chromecast and Airplay 2. Bang & Olufsen did not comment specifically on the Airplay 2 features but the system will enable you to let the speakers enter into a multiroom setup with products from other brands. In addition, you can connect multiple speakers to Apple TV and play music on the speakers via voice commands to Siri from another device.
At time of launch, the speakers will be available in Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom, and USA. More countries will follow as Google Assistant gets updated with wider language support. They will be available from mid-September 2018 and early October 2018, respectively, at a recommended retail price of €1,500/£1,250/$1,750 for Beosound 1 and €2,000/£1,650/$2,250 for Beosound 2.