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Ex-Google employees announce Beep, the Chromecast of audio

Two former Google employees on Thursday announced Beep, an audio device designed to make it simple for users to stream music throughout their home speakers.

Beep is a small copper device that connects to users Wi-Fi networks to play music from streaming services such as Pandora. The device is designed to make it easy for users to listen to music from the Internet without having to leave their smartphones hooked up to their speakers.

The device was created by a team of 10 led by Daniel Conrad and Shawn Lewis, both of whom trace their roots back to Google. The duo began working on Beep a year and a half ago.

“There’s no good way today to play the Pandoras and Spotifys of the world on your home speakers,” Conrad told The Times. “You’ve got it on your phone, you’ve got it on your laptop, but you don’t have it on your home speakers.”

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Conrad and Lewis said setting up a Beep device takes only a matter of minutes. Users connect the gadget to their speakers using an auxiliary or optical cable. They then download a mobile app to set up the device and connect it to the Internet. Once that’s done, users can begin playing music.

The device connects directly to the Internet on its own, but users control it with an app on their Apple iOS and Android mobile devices.

This is similar to Chromecast, a device launched by Google last year that makes it possible for TVs to stream Internet content while users control the experience with the apps on their smartphones.

Users can set up multiple Beep devices throughout their homes and control all of them from the Beep app on their mobile device. Conrad said Beep makes it cheap for users to have a multiroom audio system that is also easy to set up.

“Once you’ve experienced it -- this music synchronized through your whole house -- it’s something you’re going to want,” Conrad said.

Interested users can pre-order the device from Beep’s website for $99. It will launched later this fall, when it’s price will go up to $149.

Currently, Beep’s only music streaming partner is Pandora, but Conrad and Lewis said they expect to have more partners set up in time for the launch of the device.

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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