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Bowers and Wilkins launches new control app for its Formation range

Bowers & Wilkins has announced that its Formation series of products can now be controlled through a new app, increasing the number of music streaming services accessible to owners of Formation products.

The new Bowers & Wilkins Music app is already live (February 10th launch) and its introduction beefs up the number of music streaming services accessible to owners of any Formation series products.

If memory serves us right, there is a pre-existing B&W Home app for setting up Formation products, assigning rooms and overall control, but since its release it’s been rather barebones. Roon control, as well as AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth, were means of getting music to the speakers, but the new Music app will eventually replace the Home app later in the year once B&W has rolled all the functionality into the Music app.

The Music app is available on both Android and iOS platforms and will initially proffer support for Qobuz, TIDAL, TuneIn, Dash Radio (in certain markets), NTS Radio and SoundCloud. More subscription services are said to be coming, and Qobuz offers Hi-Res audio through its 24-bit/96kHz resolution.

In what looks like a not too dissimilar approach from the Sonos S2 control app, the Music app aggregates content from streaming services into one unified interface that can be browsed to find tracks, albums, playlists and radio stations. Users will also receive personalised recommendation features as well as a selection of curated B&W playlists to act as means of discovering (or re-discovering) music.

The functionality offered by Formation products will remain, so AirPlay 2, aptX Bluetooth, alongside Spotify Connect and Roon integration are here to stay, plus the range also supports the “Works with” Alexa certification for added smarts.

One of our main bugbears about the Formation series was lack of a unified control app. We had expected an updated version to drop in 2020, but we imagine the shake-up of the management last year meant it fell to 2021. The Formation platform is wholly owned by B&W and it would seem as if the company is dedicated to improving the service henceforth, ploughing more resources and expanding the capabilities of the range, with custom-installation control systems such as Control4 on the list for new features.

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation suite is the hi-fi brand’s attempt at a high-fidelity multi-room system. We’ve had a look at several of the products, giving the Formation Wedge 4.5 stars but only giving the Formation Bar 3.5 stars. You can also read our impressions of the Formation Duo active speakers, too.

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