Sonos on Wednesday introduced the Sonos One, its newest wi-fi house speaker.
As the corporate recommended earlier this 12 months, the One is the primary Sonos speaker to natively assist voice assistants. The machine will work with Amazon’s Alexa platform to begin; the corporate says an replace to allow Google Assistant assist will arrive someday subsequent 12 months, and Sonos is open to working with extra digital helpers sooner or later. The machine prices $199/£199/€229 and can ship on October 24, with pre-orders now reside on Sonos’ web site.
The corporate mentioned those that have already got a Sonos speaker will achieve Alexa assist by means of an replace rolling out immediately, too.
Probably the most instantly obvious factor in regards to the Sonos One is that it appears an entire lot like the corporate’s current Play:1 speaker. It’s one other diminutive, understated chunk of metallic with rounded sides and a flat high and backside. It’s nonetheless not completely wi-fi, since there’s nonetheless no Bluetooth assist. Whereas the design actually appears acquainted, I discover it onerous to name it unattractive.
Sonos says it needed to rebuild this way issue from the bottom up, although, to suit the brand new six-microphone array it’ has baked into the highest of the machine, which permits Alexa and others to take management. The highest of the One additionally incorporates a easy set of contact controls for pausing and skipping tracks, in addition to a microphone toggle. Maybe to counter the privateness coverage kerfuffle it obtained into with some customers earlier this summer season, Sonos careworn at an occasion in New York Metropolis on Wednesday that the One is just not an always-listening machine like Amazon’s Echo; when you flip that mic button off, the corporate says, the machine won’t detect any requires Alexa.
From there, the One works like most different third-party Alexa gadgets. You possibly can have Amazon’s more and more ubiquitous assistant let you know the climate, the time, a joke, or no matter else its “abilities” present. Sonos says Alexa will have the ability to management Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and SiriusXM on the One instantly, with assist for Spotify coming “quickly after launch.”
What Sonos is de facto promoting right here is the One’s audio high quality and integration with different Sonos gadgets. If in case you have a household of Sonos audio system dotted all through your home, as an illustration, you possibly can inform Alexa to “play David Bowie within the kitchen and bed room” and have it play to the corresponding gadgets arrange in these rooms. Identical goes for pausing, skipping, enjoying completely different genres, and so forth. Slightly mild will flash by the microphone button, you’ll hear the identical alert sound you’d hear on an Echo, and Alexa will behave as common.
You continue to handle your whole gadgets by means of the Sonos app, which the corporate can be refreshing on Wednesday with a brand new bottom-mounted navigation bar and different aesthetic tune-ups. The corporate introduced that the One and different Sonos gadgets will assist Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol, too, which can give iOS customers one other method to ship audio to the audio system. The corporate additionally mentioned it should combine deeper with Tidal and Pandora by the top of this 12 months, too, permitting its gadgets to be controllable by means of these apps. The corporate does this with Spotify already, and it says it plans so as to add assist for Audible and iHeartRadio subsequent 12 months.
I used to be capable of take a quick hearken to the Sonos One on the firm’s occasion on Wednesday. It’s not possible to say something definitive in regards to the One’s (or any speaker’s) sound or how responsive will probably be in apply after a staged demo, nevertheless it appears protected to count on a sound profile just like that of the Play:1—clear and decently full for its dimension however a little bit missing in bass response because it’s nonetheless working with little house. Mixed with a full set of Sonos audio system, it ought to sound nice, however setting that up additionally prices a fairly penny.
If the One lives as much as the fame constructed by previous Sonos audio system, it might be a compelling different for individuals who need to bounce on the rising good speaker development however don’t need to sacrifice audio high quality. The questions for Sonos, although, are how many individuals care sufficient about that distinction to pay a slight premium and whether or not it could actually sustain whereas Amazon and Google aren’t standing nonetheless. Amazon launched a $149 Echo Plus speaker simply final week, as an illustration, which it claims will sound higher than earlier Echo gadgets.
That mentioned, Sonos’ purpose of baking assist for all voice assistants into one household of gadgets might be helpful as these assistants proceed to increase. And it might do sufficient to undercut Apple’s upcoming HomePod speaker, which can price extra and has the same concentrate on audio. We’ll take a look at the Sonos One additional over the approaching weeks.