Ultimate Ears upgrades Boom 2, Megaboom and Roll speakers with Block Party

by Volker Weber

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I love it when vendors upgrade products that they have already sold. Sonos does this very well. And today Ultimate Ears followed suit. There are new apps for Boom 2, Megaboom and Roll. Those apps will in turn upgrade the speakers to a new firmware. Why does UE have a different app for each speaker? Beats me. I'd rather have one app for all of them.

I have to admit I was confused by the press release. WTH is Block Party? I can connect three of my friends? To my speaker, to their speakers? Hook them all together? Here is the deal. Up until today you could "double up" speakers. That means you could pair a second speaker to your existing speaker and play them as one. You don't even need the app for that. Press and hold the big plus sign and the Bluetooth button on the primary speaker. Then release them and press the Bluetooth button on the secondary speaker twice. Done. UE has been telling me they want to up this to way more than two speakers. So is this Block Party? Turns out it isn't.

What you do is swipe left in the UE app. This brings up a new panel that shows you slots for three friends. One of them is yourself. Then you ask your friends to connect to your speaker in Bluetooth settings. Now they can play anything from their own phone, on your speaker. And you can control the party. If somebody isn't being nice, you can boot them from the party. You can also switch who is playing.

A few unexpected difficulties:

I see the use case, but it feels kind of complicated. As BT often is. But anyway, there you have it: let your friends use your speaker while you hang out.

There is also a small update to the Megaboom. It now has all the features of Boom 2, including the tap control. Tap (or better bump) the speaker and it will pause/play. Tap it twice to skip to the next track.

Who is left out? The original Boom speaker. I am not sure why, but I guess they can't make it work. UE seems willing to upgrade stuff that's out in the field.

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