A couple of years back I chose Bose Soundtouch over Sonos. The main reasons for my decision was the ability and cost of integrating wireless speakers with my audio / video receiver. Bose won out on cost with its wireless link adapter.
What I did not foresee was the lack of innovation from Bose as wireless speakers and home automation grew. I was reading several blogs and reviews just today regarding Alexa integration, home automation etc - Sonos appears in nearly every article related to home automation and wireless speakers. Bose did not appear in a single article or review. Makes me wonder just how much effort Bose is putting into its products.
Then, I read the news on the community forum regarding Bose's new smart speakers with Alexa built-in. While I can understand introducing new products with new features and capabilities, I do not understand the decision to not make these new products integrate with existing ones. So if I want to expand my wireless system it would not make any sense for me to purchase the new Bose 500 since I apparently could not integrate it in with my existing Sound Touch eco system. I am, therefore, trapped in the Sound Touch product line.
But, buying a Sound Touch 10 for about $150 and adding a $50 (or less) Echo dot, gets me just about the same functionality as the $399 Bose 500. I have not done a thorough review of the Bose 500 and I am probably not giving a fair comparison of the Sound Touch vs the Bose 500 - but why would I spend the time investigating the Bose 500 when it is not compatible with my existing Sound Touch eco system?
In fact, with the dropping cost of Echo devices, an interesting option is to pair these devices with Blue-tooth speakers of your choice and forget about Bose and Sonos all together. If Bose is not going to improve its presence in the home automation scene then it may well loose out.
I remain very satisfied with my SoundTouch gear. I find the speakers to be great sounding, better than Sonos. My gear is serving me very well. The recent upgrade to the Smart Home line represents to me a normal evolution for Bose. As with most technology most of us don’t have the funds for yearly upgrades. Having said that we should take comfort knowing that our purchases will have some staying power.
Voice navigation is definately the future and is integrated in the Bose Smart Home line. Historically when Bose adds features they do so with adaptors. iPod docks, BlueTooth adaptors, SoundTouch adaptors are good example. Even Amazon dot is available as an add on for SoundTouch to enable voice navigation. Bose Smart Home is just another step in the Bose lineup, with voice navigation built in. Nice that Bose has kept SoundTouch on the shelves as well.
I just hope what we saw launched this fall is not the extent of the new lineup, keeping in mind discrete 5.1 systems like Lifestyle and possible Atmos. Maybe CES will reveal some more goodies.