Something about Bang & Olufsen's BeoSound Moment looks familiar, huh? The aluminium and glass slab is basically a big iPod that's supposed to power wireless music throughout your house. This thing is going to cost a damn fortune, but there's a lot of lovely design to admire—even if no normal human will be able to afford it. It costs $2,800 – something like £1,850 in our money, likely even more if it came to the UK, once you slap on tax and duty. Not. Cheap.
The BeoSound Moment integrates with your music services as well as music that's on network-attached storage. Yes, that means that despite this thing's size, there isn't actually any local storage on board, which seems little silly. At launch it will have Deezer and TuneIn Radio, but I was told additional services would be available down the line via firmware updates.
It is has a two-sided interface that's designed to get you to your music as quickly as possible. The oak back actually has a little touch-sensitive controller carved into its surface, which lets you start and stop your music and adjust the volume very quickly. To that end, the company has developed some tech called Pattern Play, which learns what you like to listen to a different parts of the day. So when you give the wooden back a tap during breakfast it plays your early morning soft rock; when you push it after work, it plays your dinnertime death metal. The more you use BeoSound Moment, the more it learns your habits.
When you're not holding it in your hand, it sits on a little lectern-like stand—the tablet itself is slightly smaller than an iPad Air.
Flip the BeoSound Moment over, and you've basically got a touchscreen tablet with a touch jog wheel that looks like the one on the iPod. I know, I keep harping on that comparison—but the design really can't be described without mentioning the obvious influence.
The basic UX design will be very familiar to anybody who has ever looked at a proprietary music interface. You have your library, your artists, your genres.There is one unique detail: A colour-based music mood selector. Drag it to the red and you get hot intense music. Drag it to the blue, and you get chill out music.
The BeoSound Moment is designed to work with B&O wireless speakers, but if you've already got a big expensive system of your own, there are some options for integrating this thing. They're not amazing, but at least it's possible to use an existing setup.
It would be silly to pretend that the average person is actually going to buy this thing, but there are some nice details here, particularly when it comes to the user experience design. Intelligent audio systems that "learn" your preferences are popping up everywhere, and Bang & Olufsen has done it well. I wish every streaming music service knew exactly what I wanted to listen to when I wanted to listen to it. [Bang & Olufsen]