Bose, a U.S. company that designs, develops and sells premium audio equipment, announced the new wireless smart speaker “Home Speaker 500” with Alexa onboard on Wednesday. With the announcement of Home Speaker 500, Bose is looking to make a full-scale entry into the smart speaker market and take on Apple’s HomePod.
“Voice-controlled speakers aren’t new, and there are plenty of great options to choose from. But we had a different vision for ours, inspired by what we could uniquely do to make the experience better,” said Doug Cunningham, category manager in the Bose Consumer Electronics Division. “All of our new smart speakers double up on functionality. It takes just one Home Speaker 500 to deliver true stereo separation — there’s no need to pair two.”
The premium Home Speaker 500 is well-designed and wrapped in a high-end anodized aluminum casing that provides an excellent cabinet for the speakers. The compact device is 8 inches high, 6 inches wide and 4 inches deep.
According to the company, the Bose Home Speaker 500 has the “widest soundstage of any smart speaker available today”. Thanks to the two custom drivers inside the speaker that are pointed in opposite directions so that the sound reflects off the walls nearby, separating instruments to the far left and right, and placing vocals where the artist did. It also has buttons for basic functionality located right on top for controlling playback.
The Home Speaker 500 ships with Alexa onboard, which means you have access to things like weather reports and news headlines, too. Bose says that this is just the beginning with “other voice assistants to follow,” which means one can probably expect Google Assistant to arrive in a few months. It also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for wireless streaming. Bose is expected to add Apple AirPlay 2 functionality early next year.
Given that it is a voice-controlled speaker, there’s a custom-designed eight-microphone array that supports far-field voice recognition. This means that the speaker will be able to listen to the user’s voice accurately even in situations where they are across the room or the background noise is relatively large.
The Home Speaker 500 also has a small display on the front which will show the album art of the current playing track. Since it is not a touchscreen display, it won’t show any other content.
The Home Speaker 500 will retail for $399.95 and will be available for purchase in October. The product will be available for sale at Bose retail stores, Bose.com, and from authorized Bose dealers.