NEW YORK – Sonos summoned the press to Art Beam in New York City on Wednesday to show off its new, voice-enabled speaker named Sonos One. Similar in size and form to Sonos’s popular PLAY:1, the Sonos One adds a six-microphone array to give it far-field voice recognition capability, and will ship on October 24th with support for Alexa baked right in.
Voice-control and music in the home is a perfect marriage for anyone who has tried it. Unfortunately, getting it to work with all your favorite music services has thus far proven quite difficult. Alexa doesn’t support Google or Apple Music; Google doesn’t support Amazon or Apple Music; and while we don’t have many details about what HomePod won’t support, it’s safe to say that it is a very-much Apple-focused device, at least at the get go.
With well over a decade of experience delivering music to our homes, Sonos is well-positioned to simply add voice as a new control option to their platform-agnostic system, whereas other vendors are still working to play catch-up in the music streaming department. Sonos has already perfected multi-room listening, TV/Home Theater integration, and support for pretty much every streaming service available.
Being platform-agnostic in terms of supporting all streaming services has served Sonos well thus far, and they’re taking that with them as they dance into the voice-control arena. Initially, the Sonos One will ship on October 24, 2017 with support for Alexa, but with a free software update in 2018 it will add the option of using Google Assistant.
Sonos and Platform Agnosticism
There are limitations of these voice services that constrain the Sonos One, and that’s an important thing to remember. If you’re an Apple Music user, you can’t use Alexa on any platform to select or start playing your Apple Music library.
However, if you were to start playing an Apple Music playlist from the Sonos app, you could then use the Sonos One’s voice control to change the volume, skip to the next track, and even to query about what’s playing.
Presumably, when Google Assistant support rolls out next year, we’ll see similar limitations along the lines of whatever is currently available on Google’s platform at the time.
You can pre-order the Sonos One today for Available US$199, and it begins shipping on October 24th.