‘Ultimate Ears’ Boom speakers now with voice recognition feature
‘Ultimate Ears’ have always impressed us by its tremendous Bluetooth speakers. Now the company has added a new feature to its new addition ‘UE Boom 2’ and ‘UE MegaBoom’ that’s really got us paying attention: support for Siri and Google Now. With the latest software update from UE, owners of the Boom 2 and Megaboom can access Apple and Google’s digital assistants just by holding down the speakers’ Bluetooth buttons. The devices then relay any voice commands to a connected Android or iOS handset, letting users access locally stored music and streaming services including Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music.
It’s a simple feature, but one that really adds to the speakers’ utility. Both the Boom 2 and Megaboom are IPX7 water-resistant, meaning that if you’re using them on the beach or by the pool you can now select new music without having to dry your hands or endanger your handset. It also means people besides the owner of the phone connected to the speakers can quickly change the music. And according to Ultimate Ears, anything you can do with Siri and Google Now, you can now do via the company’s speakers — so that’s not just accessing music, but also asking directions, sending texts, and checking the weather.
Ultimate Ears said about its new speakers:
Today, Ultimate Ears wants you to speak up and use your voice by introducing Siri® and Google Now™ voice integration on UE BOOM 2 and UE MEGABOOM. Now, music fans can simply say it to play it, allowing them to stay connected in the moment by providing faster, easier access to their music using Siri and Google Now voice directly from their Ultimate Ears speakers. The new push-to-talk feature brings even more convenience to UE’s award winning on-the-go Bluetooth® speakers.
From cliff to cave, Ultimate Ears’ speakers are meant to be with you, wherever, whenever. They’re waterproof (IPX7), rugged and blast incredible 360-degree sound. This latest integration amps up the possibilities of where you can take your music and how easily you can access it all. “Music lovers can now truly stay in the moment, playing their favorite song from the middle of the pool or even while diving off a cliff with their UE speaker in hand,” said Charlotte Johs, general manager of Ultimate Ears. “No matter how wet, muddy or wild the situation, with Siri and Google Now voice integration on UE BOOM 2 and UE MEGABOOM, fans no longer need to pick up their phone to play DJ. Now, they can just say it to play it.”
Gone are the days of hunting down your favorite song on your phone as this new voice integration provides access to tunes in just a couple of seconds. Through a quick push of the Bluetooth button and a simple voice request, you can quickly get the party started and never miss a beat.”
But unlike, say, Amazon’s Echo Tap (which functions in an identical push-to-talk way), the digital assistant in UE’s speakers isn’t located on the devices itself. Every command is being relayed to a connected phone, and judging by early previews of the devices, this isn’t a perfect solution. Engadget reports that when using the speakers there were delays in response time, dropped connections to smartphones, and some inaccuracy in parsing voice commands. This is to be expected when the hardware hasn’t been optimized for this task, but the integration itself is still, to our ears, potentially very useful.
The UE BOOM 2 retails for $179 and the UE MEGABOOM retails for $249. The new firmware update can be installed via companion apps for mobile devices.
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