Ex-Googlers announce Beep, aims to be the Chromecast of the speaker world

February 6, 2014
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BEEP

New startup Beep has officially unveiled its “Beep” Wi-Fi dial, a simple device designed to essentially act a bit like an all-audio version of the Chromecast. In short, it takes your tunes from your Android device and streams them over to the Beep, which is then hooked up to any speaker of your choice.

Although this is Beep’s very first product, the company’s team members are far from greenhorns when it comes to technology. CEO and co-founder Daniel Conrad worked on the Nexus One during his time with Google, while co-founder Shawn Lewis is a former member of Google’s platform team.

Beep is a simple device designed to essentially act a bit like an all-audio version of the Chromecast.

Okay, so the product has somewhat Google-y roots, but what exactly is the purpose of the Beep? The idea is that many folks have decent home audio systems or speakers lying around that aren’t capable of audio streaming, and the Beep can help catapult these sound systems into the modern era.

The Beep’s hardware design is sleek and attractive, and rather unique to say the least. The device uses USB power and connects to speakers through analog audio out or 3.5mm optical. The Beep also has the ability to be grouped together with multiple Beeps through the company’s app, allowing you to sync your music throughout multiple locations.

Overall, the Beep is a nice concept for those looking for a streaming solution that allows them to use their existing speaker systems. Unfortunately, it’s also somewhat limited at the moment. The Beep only supports two sources for music: your locally stored music files and Pandora.

The former works using the Beep app to send over your music. The latter works similar to Chromecast, you hit the ‘cast’ button in Pandora, pick your speaker and it sends it over. On the bright side, Beep isn’t actually expected to arrive until fall, so perhaps the startup will be able to sign on more partners by the time it actually launches.

The Beep is a bit on the high side at $149.

The real make or break will likely come down to cost. Part of the magic behind the Chromecast is that it not only works great, it’s extremely affordable. In contrast, the Beep is a bit on the high side at $149 — though you can pre-order it and secure a price of $99.

While this pricing might not be a fortune, it’s also not much more than a Sonos Play:1.The Play:1 costs $200, works with more apps and has its own built-in speaker. That said, you do need to factor in the $50 cost of the Sonos bridge.

What do you think, like the idea of the Beep or do you feel that there are already better solutions out there for similar (or less) cost?

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