Sonos could finally be about to roll-out a new line-up of devices with Alexa support, with the company officially confirming a launch event in New York on October 4.
In the age of Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home, Sonos is being forced to up its game from just offering solid multi-room audio systems. Now users demand that their speakers also be the hub of a whole home automation system, controlling lights and thermostats, as well as playing their favourite tunes.
Amazon pioneered the smart speaker revolution, and Sonos is pinning its future on the company that has been its downfall. Once the darling of the AV world, Sonos has had a rough time as of late, with its CEO stepping down amid the increased competition. Following his resignation, Sonos announced that it would be partnering with Amazon to bring the Alexa voice assistant to the company’s range of speakers.
On October 4 it’s widely expected that Sonos will unveil a new slate of speakers, complete with an array of microphones to pick up voice commands. All these new speakers will support the Alexa voice assistant out of the box. It’s also expected that the AI will be coming to older models through a software update.
Sonos could forgo simply updating its old speakers with new microphones, however. A recent FCC application showcased that the company is planning a brand new speaker model, billed as an ‘all-in-one wireless smart speaker’. This model will integrate far field microphones and also support multiple voice assistants.
The support for multiple voice assistants is hardly a surprise. Sonos has already revealed that it hopes to remain agnostic in the voice assistant wars, meaning its line-up of smart speakers could one day support Alexa, Cortana and the Google Assistant. All those AIs are available to third-party developers to implement into their products, although there’s one that may be a little harder to work with – Siri. Apple has showcased its willingness to work with Sonos before, however. After all, Sonos is currently the only multi-room system where Apple Music is available.
Sonos’ announcement of a smart speaker needs to happen quickly. Apple is set to unveil more details about its smart speaker at an event on September 12, while Google is heavily tipped to unleash new Google Home models at an October hardware reveal. The IFA and CEDIA trade shows could also lead to more competitors in the space being unveiled.