Bang & Olufsen Announces High-End Smart Speakers

Denmark’s Bang & Olufsen has announced that it will begin shipping two Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers in September.

The battery-powered, portable Beosound 1 and Beosound feature B&O’s signature high-style design and will launch with the distinction of being the most expensive smart speakers, at $1,750 and $2,250, respectively.

Both models feature a conical aluminum body with an amplifier and a woofer built into its base and a high-frequency module on top that hovers above an acoustic lens said to reflect sound 360 degrees. The top of each speaker has a touch panel with four “content agnostic” presets and buttons that control volume and activate the speaker’s voice mode. In addition to using Google’s voice assistant for smart-speaker functionality and smart-home control, both speakers support multiroom streaming via Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2 as well as Bluetooth streaming from a smartphone.

Designed for use on the go, the Beosound 1 has a built-in 12-hour battery and combines a 1.5-inch full-range driver, 4-inch woofer, and 60 watts of power in a 13-inch mini-tower; an optional docking station is available for $175. The Beosound 2 is an AC-powered three-way design that packs a 0.75-inch tweeter, two 2-inch midrange drivers, a 5.25-inch woofer, and 102 watts of power in a slightly larger structure that stands 17 inches tall.

Designed by Torsten Valeur of David Lewis Designers, the speakers use acoustic echo-cancelling technology and five microphones to distinguish between sound coming from the speaker and voice commands to ensure Google Assistant recognizes those commands.

B&O says it plans to eventually introduce voice technology across all of its products

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