Created by two ex-Googlers, the Beep is a small, Wi-Fi enabled device that lets you stream music from the Web into any speaker system with a line-in input. Shaped like a classic audio volume dial, the Beep can also be interconnected throughout the home over a common wireless network. For instance, you could play the same song in the living room on the home theater speakers while it’s also playing on the tabletop speaker system sitting on the kitchen counter. It’s very similar to multi-room solutions offered by companies like Sonos, but at a fraction of the price since you would be using your own speakers.
Powered over USB, the Beep will work with Pandora at launch and play any music you have stored on your mobile device. However, more music applications are likely going to be added over time, hopefully apps like Spotify and Rdio. Music selection is controlled using an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. It will require iOS 7 or Android 4.3.
Interestingly, the developers included a hardware feature that allows users to start or stop music by tapping the dial. This signals the mobile device to start playing the most recent song, station or playlist. In addition, the dial acts as a standard volume dial and controls the volume on the mobile device.
To connect the Beep to a speaker system, you will need a 3.5mm AUX, RCA, or optical input. As an added bonus, the developers have included a 24-bit DAC (digital-to-analog converter) to offer excellent sound quality. Regarding households with multiple people and multiple Beeps, the devices can be grouped or isolated in order to play different kinds of music around the home. Anyone interested in the Beep can preorder early at a price of $99 in either gunmetal or black. After the product is released during Fall 2014, the Beep will retail for $149.