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October 26, 2005 / jnolen

SlimDevices 3.0

Slim Devices, about whom I have written before, have just released the new version of their SqueezeBox hardware, the Squeezebox 3. Interestingly, there are no new features — the guts of the SB3 are exactly the same as the SB2. So the SqueezeBox 3 is all about the new design.

Clearly, this is a move motivated by the entrance of Sonos into the market early this year. Sonos received a lot of kudos for its design and a lot of knocks for its price. Sonos's price is still quite high compared to the Squeezebox, and now SlimDevices is attempting to offer a comparably designed experience.

I haven't seen a new SqueezeBox in person yet, but from the pics, it appears that they have closed the gap to some degree. It's a nice little unit, and the display is excellent. Sonos makes the argument that you're better off with their small, but full-color, LCD in your PDA-sized remote control. And having used it, I agree that it's quite nice. As an interface to your large music collection, the scrollwheel is unbeatable. But it also costs $400, just for the remote.

I continue to think that the SqueezeBox is an excellent product from a very cool company. Other folks agree. I have a pair of the first generation players, but this new release is making me consider replacing them with two of the new ones. (BTW, if any of you might be interested in buying two lightly used SqueezeBoxen, drop me a line.)

A brief digression: Sonos is a depressingly silent company. I see their advertisements, but I don't hear anyone inside the company talking. I have no idea what they're working on, or what their vision is for digital media in the living room, or if their users are doing cool things with the product, or customizing it, or hacking it, or if Sonos intends to work with other new media products. I want to get excited about them, but I'm having a hard time doing it.

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