The Ultimate Ears UE Boom 2 and Megaboom are popular, well-reviewed cylindrical Bluetooth speakers that allow you to stream music from your phone, tablet, computer, or other gadgets without wires.
Their shape also makes them look a bit like Amazon’s Echo or Amazon Tap devices… and now you can UE’s speakers a lot like an Amazon Tap.
UE has rolled out a software update that lets you use the speakers to ask questions or send voice commands to Apple’s Siri or Google’s voice search digital assistants.
Here’s how it works: pair the UE Boom 2 or Megaboom speaker with your Android or iOS device, press a button on the speaker and talk. That’s pretty much it… but note that you’ll need to have your phone or other supported device nearby.
Unlike the Amazon Tap which lets you interact with Amazon’s Alexa voice service at the tap of a button by connecting to the internet over WiFi, UE’s speakers are basically just recording your voice through built-in microphones and then passing the requests to your phone.
The end result is pretty much the same though: press a button and you can ask questions, schedule appointments, control music playback, or do just about anything else that Google voice search and/or Siri allow.
Engadget took the software for a spin and found that the voice detection can be imperfect, but the Megaboom seems to work better than the smaller Boom 2 and it’s possible that future software updates could improve performance.
While I’m not sure this feature is going to make anyone trade in an Amazon Echo for a UE speaker, it does sound like a nice, free value-added proposition for existing or potential UE customers.