Bose debuts new in-ear active noise cancelling headphones, compact Bluetooth speaker

Bose unveils QuietComfort 20 in-ear headphones and SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker

Bose has today unveiled two new portable audio products designed for devices like smartphones and tablets, including the company's first set of in-ear active noise cancelling headphones.

The Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones and the SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker.
The Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones and the SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker.

The company officially announced the QuietComfort 20, a pair of in-ear active noise cancelling headphones, along with the Soundlink Mini, a portable Bluetooth speaker that uses the A2DP Bluetooth profile to wirelessly stream audio.

The QuietComfort 20 headphones debut a new feature called Aware mode, which is activated by pushing a button on the cord's Y-joint. The feature keeps the music playing but allows surrounding noise to be heard, preventing users from having to remove the headphones to listen to background noise.

We believe they rival the performance of any headphone.

Bose Australia's Director of Marketing and Bose Direct, Max Sides, said the company believes the QuietComfort 20 headphones rival the performance of any headphone on the market, including larger over-the-ear models.

"We believe they [the QuietComfort 20's] rival the performance of any headphone, any headphone," he said at a media launch in Sydney.

"Today there are over 700 brands of headphones available, with an even greater 6000 different models available, so customers are spoilt for choice. But we believe the QC 20s are a revolutionary headphone."

Bose says the headphone use a number of new technologies that resulted in the company filing for "more US patents than any other headphone" in the company's history.

The QuietComfort 20 in-ear headphones feature active noise cancelling.
The QuietComfort 20 in-ear headphones feature active noise cancelling.

The headphones use a two microphone system to provide active noise cancellation, include Bose's proprietary StayHear+ ear tips which claim to passively block noise, and come with a rechargeable battery that provides up to 16 hours of power.

Along with the QC20 headphones, Bose also debuted a new portable Bluetooth speaker called the SoundLink Mini. It weighs just 680g, has an anodized aluminium casing and comes with a charging cradle that's included in the sales package.

The company claims the SoundLink Mini uses two passive radiators and two custom transducers to produce "better sound than any speaker of its size".

"We could have made a smaller speaker some time ago," explained Sides. "Making a smaller speaker is easy, but making a speaker smaller that sounds great is really difficult, very, very difficult.

"Typically when you get a smaller speaker it comes at a cost of audio performance and we weren't [previously] willing to make that compromise."

The SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker weighs just 680g.
The SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker weighs just 680g.

Sides said both the QuietComfort 20 headphones and the SoundLink Mini speaker have been designed primarily for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

"Hundreds of thousands of people will go through all these major transit stations around Australia every single day," he said. "There's one thing that many of these people all have in common, they would never dream of leaving their house without their smartphone."

"We know smartphones are everywhere, around the world one in four people actually own a smartphone, it's a big number. But what really excites us about that number is that almost half of those smartphone owners actually use their devices to store or stream music, that's really exciting."

The Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones will retail for $399 when they are released in Australia in September. They are available in two different models, with the QC20 designed for Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices, and the QC20i designed for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod products.

The SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker will be released in July and will sell for $249. Bose will also sell two accessories for the product including a soft cover in three colours ($29.95) and a travel bag ($54.95).

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Tags headphonessmartphonesBoseaudiomobile devicesBluetooth speaker

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Ross Catanzariti

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