There are countless music streaming hubs and devices available today, but none are as beautiful, or at least curious looking, as Beep. Invading Sonos' home turf, this device from a team of Google ex-employees offers audio lovers not just a single knob to control their music, but a way to spread it around the house as well.
The most eye-catching aspect of Beep is its design, sporting a rather interesting knob-like shape that looks straight out of a 3D modeling program, complete with wireframes and all. The knob itself doesn't rotate and turn but is instead a touch-sensitive extrusion that will nevertheless let you control the music and the volume being streamed from your mobile device. LED lights on the rim give a rather fancy visual feedback as well.
Controlling music via Beep is dead simple. A simple tap resumes or pauses playback of the most resent song or playlist, while a twisting gesture on the knob controls the volume. The Beep music streamer connects to speakers via aux-in, RCA, or optical input connections. The knob itself then connects to your home network via WiFi. While it can function by itself, it works better with other Beep units spread throughout the house, up to five of them attached to their own speaker. The Beeps can play the same music in sync but can also be grouped with different playlists and tracks.
Beep pretty much only plays and controls playback volume. The job of choosing which songs to play is left to the accompanying Android and iOS apps. Users will be able to stream not only music stored on the device itself but also from various online streaming services. Unfortunately, Pandora is the only official supported service announced for now, but Beep promises more are to follow. Beep will be priced at $149 when it launches in fall, but until then, pre-orders will only carry a $99 price tag.