After years insisting their system be as closed as possible with regard to everything but the streaming music services with which it has partnered, Sonos has finally moved into the “smart speaker” space. With the launch of the Sonos One, Amazon Alexa will be available out of the box with support for Google Assistant sometime in 2018.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Sonos system that we use in our living room. We have two Sonos Play:1 speakers, a Sonos PlayBar and a Sonos Sub. The sound is amazing, and I love being able to stream music from multiple sources when we aren’t using it for TV surround sound. Still, the fact that Sonos has been slow to open their ecosystem wider has been a source of frustration. It was, in fact, part of the reason I sold off a few of my Sonos speakers some time ago. Now Sonos has seen the light, and they are bringing a new speaker to market. It looks like the Play:1, but the new Sonos ONE delivers Alexa integration when it ships later this month.
In addition, Sonos is offering a free software update to unlock Alexa voice control for current Sonos owners and support for Apple AirPlay 2 is coming in 2018.
Sonos today unveiled Sonos One, an all-new, voice-controlled smart speaker capable of supporting multiple voice services and playing music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other sonic content from more than 80 streaming services. With surprisingly rich sound and thoughtful design that fades into the background, Sonos One is priced at $199 USD and will be available globally on Oct. 24.
Consumers in the US, UK, and Germany will be able to use Amazon Alexa to control the Sonos One right out of the box. There will be full voice support for services such as Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, and TuneIn. And, while control for Spotify is missing from the initial list, that will be coming sometime after the new speaker ships. And, with services that are not yet on this list, voice controls will still allow listening to, pause, skip, turn the volume up and down, and you’ll be able to use their voice to inquire what song is currently playing. The Sonos One will even let users control their entire Sonos home sound systems by voice. It looks like a great addition to the Sonos lineup and, for people like me who depend on the Amazon Alexa as the “brain” of their smart home, it will be a terrific option.
But there’s more. The Alexa integration in the Sonos One isn’t just about music. The Sonos One will deliver the full Alexa experience. That means consumers can use it weather updates, to set timers, to listen to news and traffic reports. and more. And, since both the Amazon Alexa system and the Sonos system get regular updates, both will get better with time.,
As for Google assistant. When integration with it arrives it too will bring a full experience. As the press release explains,
In 2018, the Google Assistant comes to Sonos One, making it the first and only smart speaker to support multiple major voice services. With the Google Assistant and Sonos, customers will not only have great sound and a beautiful speaker, but a personal assistant that’s ready to help throughout the day: listen to music, ask questions, keep track of the latest news, dim the lights, or hear about what’s next on the to-do list.
Sonos CEO Patrick Spence explains:
We live in a golden age of streaming entertainment. But so much of this great content is being pushed through smart speakers that aren’t designed with sound quality in mind. With our open approach to collaboration, agnostic approach to voice services, the strength of our many innovative partners, and a sound platform designed for the whole home, we’re helping people listen more and listen better.
The Sonos ONE is packed with tech. It is…
- Designed from the ground up to deliver surprisingly rich sound from a speaker of its size.
- Driven by two Class-D digital amplifiers, one tweeter, and one mid-woofer.
- Includes a six-mic array and an adaptive noise suppression algorithm to focus on the right person and ensure the voice service understands everything clearly.
- Voice capture technology with echo cancellation allows the speaker to still hear you over the music. The volume also intelligently lowers, or “ducks,” when you speak to it so you don’t have to shout over the music.
- The light on the speaker will be illuminated if the microphones are active. The light is hardwired to the same circuit that powers the microphone array, so if the light is off, it means the microphone is off.
- Owners can use Trueplay to easily tune Sonos One to sound great no matter where it’s placed in the home.
The Sonos One is available for pre-order in both white and black. Learn more and pre-order the speaker here.