Remember that mystery Bose portable speaker called the Chihuahua we heard about last week? Well, it's officially called the Soundlink Mobile, and we got a chance to play with one today. The portable Bluetooth speaker system is about the size of a hardcover book, with an integrated cover that folds back to serve as a stand, four midrange drivers, and two intriguing "waffle" woofers placed opposite each other to provide full-range bass performance without vibrating the unit off the table. We listened to a few sample tracks during our hands-on and the Soundlink indeed sounded much better than its size would suggest, and it got pretty damn loud -- Bose says the battery will run for three hours at full volume and "more than eight hours" at regular levels. Bose also says the unit is designed for rugged portability, with sealed moisture-resistant electronics and a user-swappable cover and battery. It'll remember up to six Bluetooth device pairings, although there's no provision to pick which devices connect first -- you'll have to turn off Bluetooth on your phone to subsequently connect your laptop, for example.
None of this is going to come cheaply from Bose, of course: the Soundlink Mobile starts at $299 for the regular model with a nylon cover, and $349 for the "premium" model with additional chrome trim and a leather cover. Additional nylon covers are $30 apiece, while the leather covers are $50. Is all that worth it for a Bluetooth speaker system when several interesting AirPlay units are hitting the market at similar price points? We'll have to see when we get a review unit -- until then, check out some more hands-on shots below.