LAS VEGAS -- When I hear the phrase "Bluetooth speaker," I think tinny, compressed sound that's at best good enough, but typically underwhelming.
Sony is clearly aiming in another direction with its newly announced wireless speakers, including the flagship SRS-X9. Sony touts it as the first wireless speaker to support high-resolution audio playback, and while that may be a stretch, it's certainly one of only a few.
Aside from high-res audio, the SRS-X9 supports just about every wireless feature you can imagine, including Bluetooth, aptX, NFC, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, and DLNA. There's also a built-in USB charging port, plus a minijack input for connecting other devices. Sony also claims the SRS-X9 is rated for 154 watts, which is considerably more powerful than most portable speakers. Sony will also have two additional step-down models, the SRS-X7 and SRS-X5.
It's tough to tell exactly how all these new wireless speakers are going to work based on the initial press information. They're all referred to as "wireless speaker systems," which seems to imply they may work together, a la Sonos, but we'll have to wait for more details to find out. Either way, these new speakers look promising, especially given Sony's excellent Bluetooth speakers last year.