Bose Enters Mobile Speaker Category


New York - Bose has expanded into what it calls the mobile speaker market with a premium AC/DC single-chassis speaker system that streams music from smartphones and tablets via stereo Bluetooth.

With the speaker, consumers can play back music stored on their handheld mobile device as well as music streamed from the device's Internet radio apps.

Bob Maresca

The book-shaped amplified stereo speaker, called SoundLink Wireless Mobile, is available today in Bose-owned stores and authorized retailers at $299 for a model with dark-gray nylon front cover and $349 for a model with dark-brown leather front and other cosmetic enhancements. The cover protects the speaker grille, and it folds open for use as a table stand. When the cover is closed, closed, the speaker automatically shuts off.

Optional covers in other colors are also available.

Because of its size, shape and ruggedized design, the speaker is designed mainly for on-the-go use when away from home while traveling for work, vacationing at the beach, or going to a park or the office, although it can also be used at inside the house and outdoors around the house, said product marketing director John Roselli. The speaker's rechargeable lithium-ion battery delivers three hours of playback time at high volume and eight hours at what the company calls typical listening levels.

To make it easy to travel with, the new SoundLink Wireless Mobile speaker is book-shaped and only about 5 inches by 9.6 inches by 2 inches, making it easy to put in a briefcase or backpack, Roselli said.

It stores the Bluetooth pairing IDs of the six most recently used Bluetooth devices to automatically pair with a user's smartphone or tablet.

The company launched the product because of the rapid rise in the number of smartphones and tablets, including iPhones and iPads, with integrated stereo Bluetooth during the past few years, Roselli said.

The Bluetooth-speaker market, he said, is still "nascent," but sales have picked up in the past year, he noted.

The device isn't Bose's only portable AC/DC speaker system. The company also offers the $399 SoundDock Portable, but it is designed primarily for around-the-house use. The SoundDock Portable, which is an iPod/iPhone-docking speaker system with integrated handle and without Bluetooth, is larger and features an upright, non-folding design that is not as easy to pack when traveling, Roselli explained.

The new device also isn't the company's first stereo Bluetooth product. At $599, the company offers an AC-only tabletop SoundDock 10 whose 30-pin iPod/iPhone connector can be removed and replaced with an optional $100 stereo Bluetooth module.

And in 2009, the company launched its first portable AC/DC product with stereo Bluetooth. That model, called SoundLink wireless, was a one-piece speaker that streamed PC-stored music up to about 150 feet from a PC equipped with a companion USB Bluetooth dongle. That product, since discontinued, was shaped like the SoundDock Portable and also targeted mainly for use around the house.

Because the SoundLink Wireless Mobile speaker is smaller than the company's SoundDock Portable, Bose said it turned to new driver configurations to deliver high output and full-range response with significant bass output. The company uses four 1-inch neodymium-magnet drivers for the mids and highs and turned to two ported flat-diaphragm racetrack-shaped passive radiators, one behind the other. Each moves in opposing directions to minimize vibrations. The passive radiators feature a waffle-like surface said to deliver longer excursion in a linear fashion.

 The driver design delivers bass output equivalent to what a 27-inch wave guide would produce, the company said.

To ruggedize the speaker, Bose sealed the electronics and designed it to withstand tests in which it was subjected to hundreds of hours in 100 percent humidity and a salt-fog mist at temperatures up to 140 degrees. In addition, end caps are made of automotive-grade chrome.

Two nylon-cover options -- purple and red -- are available at $29, and two leather-cover color options -- tan and burgundy -- are available at $49.


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