It’s been a busy day for the folks over at Sonos with multiple announcements coming out of the company, including a new speaker; Sonos One, and support for Amazon Alexa (beta), with support for Google Assistant and AirPlay 2 coming in 2018.
For the first time, owners of Sonos speakers will be able to use a digital assistant to interact with them, with Amazon’s Alexa the first to come online. The update that will make the magic happen is technically a beta, but that will likely not stop people from putting it and Alexa through their paces soon enough.
Alexa-enabled hardware such as the Echo and Echo Dot will work just fine, according to Sonos. Along with the update, Sonos will now also support Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol which will give users another way of getting audio off of their iPhones and iPads and into the Sonos speaker world without the need to plug anything in. AirPlay 2 allows for multiroom audio via multiple speakers, something that Sonos has excelled at since its inception.
The beauty of AirPlay 2 over the original implementation is that there is now no need for new hardware to be in place for it to work. It’s this new software implementation that has allowed Sonos to add support retroactively, and that’s great news for owners of existing devices.
In order to make the digital assistant aspect work to the fullest, Sonos has also announced the Sonos One, a new speaker that includes far-field microphones that allow it to work with digital assistants — beginning with Amazon’s Alexa. The new speaker launches on October 24th with a price tag of $199, but for reasons unknown, Spotify will not support voice-control, something that will be a disappointment to users of the service.
Owners of existing Sonos devices that want to try the new Alexa integration out can install the new beta software as of today, so long as they live in the UK, US or Germany, and of course have an Amazon Echo or Dot with which to converse.
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