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Cone is a speaker that always plays the right song

Emily Price

What if you could turn on a speaker and instantly listen to the perfect song for that moment? That's the idea behind Cone, a new web-connected music player that works like a radio of sorts -- but only for the music you want to hear. The device works with your tunes and multiple streaming radio services simultaneously, and starts pumping out the jams the moment you turn it on. If what comes out isn't quite what you want to hear, the front of Cone works as a dial you can turn to listen to something new. Want something totally different? A quick full spin of the front of the device will change up the type of music currently playing to something on the other end of the spectrum. You can also ask Cone to play a particular song, album or podcast by either by speaking to it or making a selection within the device's accompanying app.

After setup, which currently requires a device running iOS 7 or Mavericks (and up), you can control Cone exclusively on the device with no need to pull out your computer or phone. The more you use Cone, the more it learns. Over time the device will figure out that you enjoy slow jams on Friday nights, but love to party come Saturday morning. The speaker has a built-in 8-hour battery, so you can take it out on the front porch or with you to the kitchen when you're making dinner. When you do move it, the device's built-in accelerometer tells the speaker it's changed locations, and customizes tunes for your new space. The streaming music services Cone works with will be announced a bit later on, but expect to see the names of some of your favorite players in the space. You can also expect Windows PC and Android support to be headed down the pipeline in the future.

Gallery: Cone press shots | 15 Photos

We had a chance to check out a beta version of Cone in San Francisco this week. While what we saw wasn't quite final hardware, it was pretty close. Switching from NPR to a Cure song can be done with just turn of the dial, and the next thing started playing almost instantly. As you turn the dial, a hidden rainbow-colored LED display at the center of the speaker lights up. It's a small touch, but one that gives Cone a high-end feel. Beyond the two volume buttons up top, the device is just a sleek cone shape that would blend in no matter what your living room setup happens to be. As for whether or not it always plays what we want to hear -- we'll have wait until we have a unit synced with our own music to try it out. We should be able to get our hands on a review unit sometime in May. If you're already sold, you can pre-order Cone now for $399.

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