Not long ago, the only Assistant-powered speakers you could get were Google's own. The selection has since expanded with the likes of Sony, Harman, LG, and Anker. Now, Bang & Olufsen has announced some Assistant speakers. The cheaper of the two costs $1,750, which is more than four times the cost of a Google Home Max. On the plus side, they don't look like speakers.
The Beosound 1 and Beosound 2 look like aluminum cones, which is not a shape you'd usually associate with speakers. They look interesting but also sort of like lamps missing their shades. Both devices feature 360-degree sound and batteries for wireless playback. In addition to Assistant functionality for voice, the speakers also have Cast, Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth, and Spotify Connect.
These are different than the current non-Assistant Beosound 1 and 2. The Beosound 1 is the cheaper of the two with a $1,750 price tag. It has a 1 x 1.5-inch full-range driver and a 1 x 4-inch woofer. The Beosound 2 costs $2,250 (yes, for a speaker) with a 1 x .75-inch tweeter, 2 x 2-inch mid-range driver, and 1 x 5.25-inch woofer. I'm sure they sound very nice, but the price will keep most people away. They go on sale in September.
Bang & Olufsen brings the Google Assistant to Beosound 1 and Beosound 2
Copenhagen, August 23, 2018 – Delivering on the promise to bring voice to the company’s range of speakers and headphones , Danish luxury audio brand Bang & Olufsen today announced Beosound 1 and Beosound 2 with the Google Assistant . The two new smart speakers beautifully combine Google’s voice assistant expertise with Bang & Olufsen’s unrelenting focus on sound excellence and superior quality.
“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”, says Bang & Olufsen Director of the staged and flexible speaker categories Petros Belimpasakis.
The conical body of Beosound 1 and Beosound 2 hovers slightly above the surface, releasing thumps of bass from beneath. At the top, which is slightly open, the speaker driver plays downwards into an acoustical lens creating an evenly distributed spherical sound profile. To make sure that the Google Assistant can hear commands through the wall of sound coming from the speakers, the sound engineers have built advanced acoustic echo-cancelling technology and five microphones into the aluminium structure that constantly analyses which sounds come from the speaker and which are commands from the consumer.
Speakers that feel your presence
Beosound 1 and Beosound 2 are designed by Torsten Valeur from David Lewis Designers as an acknowledgement of the fact that people use sound in different ways. While Beosound 1 is crafted for portability and comes with a builtin rechargeable battery, Beosound 2 needs a permanent power connection to produce its vigorous output of excellent sound. The black composite top functions as a minimalistic control panel, and you simply turn it like a wheel to adjust the volume. As the speaker has sensors built in, it knows where you are approaching it from so you intuitively always swipe in the right direction for next and previous track. 1 CES Keynote 2018. 2 Google is a trademark of Google LLC.
Assign tasks to a single button
More than the Google Assistant built-in, Bang & Olufsen has added four favourite buttons to the top of the speakers, which allows you to assign tasks to a single button. Commands you would use often, such as streaming a radio station, your favourite music playlist, reading out the weather report or what is in your calendar for today can be assigned to a single button. The buttons are content agnostic, so they work with any device and music service that are Google Assistant compatible.
Chromecast and AirPlay 2
With both Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2 integrated into the speakers, any major music service can be streamed to Beosound 1 and Beosound 2 from your smartphone and distributed in a multiroom product setup. And with the Google Assistant built-in, the speakers have advanced smart speaker functionally, for controlling your speaker or other smart home devices.
Pricing and availability
Beosound 1 and Beosound 2 with the Google Assistant built-in are available in Bang & Olufsen stores, in key markets, starting mid-September 2018 and, respectively, early October 2018, 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.
To enhance the portability use case for the new Beosound 1, Bang & Olufsen has designed a new docking station that allows you to pick up and move the product around with greater ease. Recommended retail price is €150/£125/$175.
At time of launch, the two 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 the Google Assistant will be available on new markets.