updated 11:00 pm EDT, Thu July 16, 2009
Bose this evening launched one of its first dedicated network streaming devices, known as the SoundLink. Intending it to be simpler than wholly independent systems like a Sonos unit or even networking devices like the AirPort Express, Bose's solution involves only a single-piece stereo speaker and a USB-based wireless adapter. Plugging the stick into any computer automatically routes the computer's sound to the SoundLink without needing specific drivers or other software.
The speaker unit itself is normally powered but has a lithium-ion battery that should last for about three hours of playback at full volume and more at reduced levels. An IR remote talks to the speaker to send universal play and skip commands as well as adjust local volume.
An aux-in jack is also onboard to support most portable media devices on the SoundLink, which is due on August 27th for $550.