Bang & Olufsen’s latest speaker disappears into your bookshelf

Bang & Olufsen’s latest connected speaker is the Emerge. Its thin form factor should blend right into most bookshelves, and that’s no accident. In a press release announcing the speaker, the company says its design was “inspired by the compact form factor of a book” with side panels that wrap around like a cover and a logo on the front that’s meant to evoke a title printed on the spine.

It’s a nice contrast from some of Bang & Olufsen’s previous speakers, which have had huge, hulking form factors that are hard to imagine in any normal home. Instead, the Emerge takes a similar approach to Ikea’s Symfonisk speakers, which have pulled double duty as lamps or shelving to help them blend in with the rest of your furniture.

B&O says the Emerge speaker’s small form factor shouldn’t make it a slouch in the sound quality department, however. “The vision for Beosound Emerge was to create the slimmest speaker possible that could still deliver full range, ultra-wide sound despite its size through its revolutionary driver configuration,” says the company’s head of product management Christoffer Poulsen. Internally, there’s a triple-driver configuration consisting of a 4-inch woofer, a 1.45-inch midrange, and a 0.6-inch tweeter.

In terms of connectivity, the Emerge supports all of the standards you’d expect out of a modern connected speaker. There’s Spotify Connect support, Bluetooth 5.0, Airplay 2, and Chromecast streaming, as well as a built-in microphone with Google Assistant support. Physical connections include a line-in / optical jack, Ethernet, and a USB-C port for power. And yes, you can pair two Emerges together to create a stereo pair.

B&O says the speaker uses the same replaceable connectivity module that appeared in its recent Beosound Level, which will allow it to receive “new performance updates and features for years to come.” Eventually, this module can be replaced if it gets outdated, B&O says.

The Bang & Olufsen Emerge is available in select European markets starting today and will release globally this autumn. Pricing starts at $699 / £539 / €599 for the black model, while the gold model, which has an oak wood cover, costs slightly more at $899 / £669 / €749.