Logitech's popular Squeezebox network music player is getting a well-deserved update, in the shape of an all-in-one Squeezebox Boom, due this September.
The Boom will have all the functionality of the current Squeezebox, streaming music from your PC and using your home wi-fi network to access thousands of internet radio stations via Logitech's SqueezeNetwork.
New additions for the Boom include 30W of amplification and some suprisingly sweet-sounding (on paper, at least) bi-amped speakers: two 3/4-inch soft-dome tweeters and two 3-inch long-throw woofers. There's a socket for a real sub for when you want to rattle some windows and a headphone jack for quieter moods.
Logitech's Squeezebox Boom can also pull in subscription services like Rhapsody, Last.FM, Slacker, Pandora and Sirius (in America), but think twice before investing too heavily in these. The US Copyright Royalty Board decided last year to increase the royalty fee for webcasters from 0.08 cents in 2006 to 0.19 cents per song per listener by 2010.
That's fine for a station that plays one song at a time, but potentially ruinous for personalised stations that serve millions of individual streams. Pandora, for instance, told The Washington Post that it is facing a $17 million royalty bill this year (that's over two thirds of its annual revenue), and may have to close if it can't organise an exemption.
The Squeebox Boom will cost $300 in the US and £200 in the UK, complete with a remote control which, according to the press release, 'includes a tiny magnet that lets you easily attach it to your refrigerator.' So that's where remotes go when they disappear.
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Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.