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How Bose Is Changing Its SoundTouch Wireless Multiroom-Audio Systems

Bose is bringing Bluetooth to its SoundTouch Wi-Fi-equipped multiroom-audio speakers, soundbars and home-theater systems for the first time to rebroadcast a Bluetooth stream over a Wi-Fi network around the house.

The company also made its single-chassis tabletop Wi-Fi speakers more affordable, reducing the opening price point of a tabletop speaker to $199 from $399. It also reduced the price of two other tabletop models without changing audio performance while adding Bluetooth, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11n with MIMO, and integration of many Spotify features within the Bose app.

The three new SoundTouch speakers include the $199 SoundTouch 10, which is the line’s first mono speaker. The SoundTouch 20 is priced at $349, down from $399; and the SoundTouch 30 is $499, down from $699. The company dropped a $399 battery-operated SoundTouch speaker, calling it a niche product that didn’t deliver long-enough battery life on a Wi-Fi network.

Like before, all newer soundbars and home theater systems are available with SoundTouch, either built into the product or with an included adapter.

With Bluetooth rebroadcasting, content from Android and iOS mobile devices can be shared throughout the house, and users aren’t forced to go through the process of logging onto a home’s Wi-Fi network to do so.  Previously, Bose’s platform did not let Android users send phone-stored music to SoundTouch products, and sharing from an Apple mobile device was limited to streaming to one SoundTouch device at a time via AirPlay.

Bluetooth rebroadcasting is also positioned as a way to enable SoundTouch systems to playback all audio-streaming services from a mobile device as well as simplify access to a SoundTouch network without logging onto a Wi-Fi network.

Multiple Bluetooth devices can be used at once to rebroadcast music to different sets of SoundTouch speakers in a home network.

Like before, SoundTouch products offer embedded vTuner Internet Radio, Pandora, Spotify, Deezer and iHeart, but SiriusXM is coming early next year.

In another change, Bose revamped its SoundTouch app to access many key Spotify features, including playlists and search. And from Spotify’s app, users can control a SoundTouch system while accessing all Spotify features. The former capability is exclusive to Bose for an unannounced period of time. Spotify’s app for other wireless multiroom-audio systems also enables audio-system control.

The company also said it is working on enabling a pair of SoundTouch speakers be used as separate left right speakers. It’s also working on rebroadcasting a source plugged into the aux input of a SoundTouch product.

Also new are new SoundTouch soundbars and home theater systems starting at $1,099 and a new SoundTouch streamer/amplifier, which has been upgraded to improve efficiency.

The company didn’t add high-resolution audio playback to the new SoundTouch products.

Bose began rolling out the products two weeks ago.