It's been six years since Sonos launched the original PLAY:5, the first all-in-one speaker for its streaming music platform, and now it's time for the second-generation. In the intervening period products like the PLAYBAR - which attempts to create surround sound from a single speaker - and the PLAY:1 - with its tiny footprint - have given the company plenty of opportunity to refine its processes.
Google is readying not one but two second-generation Chromecast media streamers for imminent launch, new rumors suggest, with one focused on music. While leaks earlier today indicated the new Chromecast would be a faster, more circular dongle than its stick-like predecessor, subsequent tipsters speaking to 9to5Google suggest it's actually one of two products in the pipeline.
From the outside, nothing really looks changed about Amazon's sleek second-gen Fire TV set-top box; on the inside, however, it's a very different story. The media streamer has had a complete revamp, gaining 4K resolution support in the process, as well as borrowing some of the chattier skills from the Amazon Echo.
Amazon wasn't slow to position its Fire TV set-top box as a console alternative, and now there's a redesigned gamepad to address some player pain-points. Redesigned with no small degree of input from existing gamers and developers, the new pad has more precise buttons and longer battery life, among other improvements.
Amazon is bringing Alexa, its virtual assistant from the Amazon Echo, to its Fire TV range, and celebrating with a new $50 bundle. Part of Fire OS 5, Alexa's presence means users will be able to ask for weather and traffic reports, ask for definitions and Wikipedia explanations, request tracks from Amazon Prime Music, and look up sports results.
Amazon looks set to add Alexa voice control to its Fire TV set-top box, inviting over the digital assistant from Echo to read audiobooks and even do shopping. Although Amazon is yet to announce any such integration, signs of the upcoming functionality were spotted in the Fire OS 5 developer preview by AFTVnews.
In a world where Bluetooth speakers are practically giveaway items, you have to do something special to command a $200 sticker, and Ultimate Ears believes it has the answer. The new UE BOOM 2 takes the cylindrical BOOM of 2013 and gives it a refresh, cranking up the volume by 25-percent while delivering a promised fifteen hours of wireless battery life.
Siri may have taken up residence in the new Apple TV, but voice-controlled search isn't going to be a free-for-all. At launch, the set-top box will use Apple's digital assistant to go hunting through HBO, Hulu, Netflix, and Showtime, along with its own own iTunes catalog. However, the company has also confirmed that, rather than offering an open API which would allow any third-party developer to do the same, it will be working with services on an individual basis.