Sonos One is a Commitment to CI Growth, Adds Alexa and Google Integration
There has been an interesting question for audio manufacturers cramming Alexa into subpar speakers; that question being simply, "Why?" What is the point of adding Alexa or Google Assistant if your speaker really doesn't sound that exceptional, to begin with - something Amazon and Google Home have already "mastered" with their first generation products?
Enter, stage left, consumer-focused sweetheart Sonos.
Their newest announcement is the Sonos One, an otherwise beautiful speaker that is sure to set the standard for coffee table speakers in terms of performance and aesthetic. At a quick glance, the Sonos One offers six far-field microphones (for voice control), the usual suspects in physical touch control buttons, a slick indicator light on top, and basically all the guts of the Play:1.
But, the hardware is definitely the least important part of the voice-control conversation Sonos has been having for the last year or so with Patrick Spence at the helm. He made comments earlier this year that Alexa would be the first to be integrated, followed shortly by an about-face to 100% direct sales underscored with a simple "grow with us" message.
Underscoring all the big messages from Spence and his team is a very aggressive $200 retail price tag. That makes it just $50 more than then Amazon's Echo Plus, $150 less than the Apple HomePod, and half the price of the $400 Google Home Max - before any assumed dealer pricing. Sonos One will not only utilize Alexa out of the gate, it will get Google Assistant updates in 2018, software updates to voice control a handful of just about every music streaming service you can think of, and multiroom streaming via AirPlay 2.
Oh, but there's more.
This week's Sonos announcement was also a make-good to "grow with us" by unveiling a plan to work with the likes of Wink, Lutron, Crestron, TuneMap, iPort, Alarm.com, and Yonomi. That's a pretty wide range of control companies and not even the end of the rabbit hole. Sonos then pointed to another handful of companies that will play nicely with their open API including URC, Control4, Somfy, and Samsung SmartThings.
Sonos is ready to answer the question of who came first the speaker or the voice assistant; Sonos will be the premium speaker homeowners want with all the software to remain on top. With the added benefit of brand recognition and the hardware to back it up - there is no doubt that Sonos is ready to make a big play in voice control market for dealers.