For many of us, smartphones have taken over as the way we control our home stereos, but Bang & Olufsen wants to bring us back to using a single-purpose device that's dedicated to music. Its solution is the BeoSound Moment, a two-sided tablet that accesses your music in the cloud and tries to intelligently play what you want to hear.
The most striking aspect of the Moment is its "rear" side, which is covered entirely in wood (oak, specifically). On the rear's right side is a shallow indentation in the shape of a wheel. B&O says that this is the first time wood has ever been used as a touchable interface. If you tap the center of the wheel, music will immediately begin playing. If you drag your finger around the indentation, the volume will adjust. Occasionally there can be just a moment's delay, but for the most part, it's very responsive. Plus, it feels pretty cool to be swiping your finger around what is essentially a wooden Click Wheel.
The front of the tablet has a metal face and looks like a large, sideways iPod. It has a wheel on the right and a large display on the left. You can use the display to browse music that you've stored in the cloud or put on a radio station, but B&O doesn't think that you'll always — or even frequently — want to browse. Instead, the tablet side's key interface is a large color wheel that you can tap to make music start playing. Colors represent the mood of the music you want to listen to, so red will play something aggressive while the green across the wheel from it will play something warmer and friendlier. If you touch closer to the center of the wheel, the Moment will play more music that's familiar to you — touch on the outer edge, and it'll play music that you might not know yet.
Moment is all about making it really easy to start playing music
That knowledge of your music also extends to the wooden touch button on the rear. Moment will remember what type of music you play and at what times, and B&O says that after a few weeks, it'll be able to intelligently guess what you want to listen to and automatically start playing it when you tap the wooden button. The idea is that you can leave the beautiful wooden side displayed and only ever have to tap once to get what you want playing, rather than requiring you to browse through your catalog and make a decision about what you want.
Moment isn't entirely a tablet. It also includes a dock that doubles as a charging stand. The whole package is angular, sleek, and relatively stylish if you're looking for something very modern. You can hook wired speakers up to the stand or use wireless speakers — they don't need be from B&O either. As far as playing music goes, Moment can access your phone's library over Bluetooth, but it can also connect to cloud services like Spotify and Deezer, which are going to be a lot more useful for something like the color wheel, where you'll want to have a very large library.
B&O intends to bring Moment to market sometime later this year, though it hasn't said exactly when that'll be. It also isn't disclosing pricing, but it suggests that the Moment will be priced in line with the centerpiece of its other stereo systems — that means it may be fairly pricey, but you'll get one of the cooler music controllers out there and a stylish appliance in return.