Samsung M5 joins lower-cost wireless speaker category

samsung shape m5Samsung has announced a younger sibling to its Shape M7 wireless, Internet-enabled speaker (the release of which we covered here). Called the M5, it will be formally introduced at the upcoming CES show in Las Vegas.

WiFi speakers arguably replace home radios except in one aspect: price. Wireless-enable speakers cost hundreds of dollars each — and each one provides a mono experience, albeit a high-quality mono sound. You have to be a fairly serious hi-fi streaming aficionado to invest in, for example, a Sonos system through the home.

Sonos, in fact is widely regarded as the market leader in quality and brand recognition. Even Sonos, which has built a business on its premium product, recently unleashed the Sonos Play:1 (which, yes, we also covered) as a lower-cost alternative. The M5, coming out mere months after the larger and pricier M7, is Samsung’s recognition of the sub-premium category void that existed. All we know of Samsung’s pricing is that the M5 will be cheaper than the $400 M7. If Samsung takes it pricing cue from Sonos (as if tech companies ever imitated each other’s business tactics), the M5 will hit the $199 point, like the Play:1.

We’ve noticed downward pressure on pricey Bluetooth wireless speakers, too. Less expensive up and down the product lines (reflecting their less reliable and shorter-distance Bluetooth connectivity), the Bluetooth cohort offers a more granular array of price points, sizes, etc.. Bose, a premium speaker brand if there ever was one, ┬árecently released the SoundLink Mini as a counter to the older and larger SoundLink II.

Brad Hill