Sonos, a small company dedicated to sound and multimedia that has been making waves recently, is the latest big player looking to get into the smart speaker game with their Sonos One smart speaker. This market is currently dominated by Amazon and their Echo line (powered by Amazon Alexa) and Google with their Home line (powered by Google Assistant). However, unlike the mentioned smart speaker lines, which only support a single voice assistant for their speaker, they are instead taking a slightly different approach to it.
According to Sonos, the just-unveiled Sonos One will support multiple voice services, music playback, podcasts, audiobooks, and more multimedia content. However, the most interesting feature of this speaker is, arguably, the fact that it will be able to support multiple major voice assistants, seamlessly switching between them at user command. At launch, it will support Amazon’s Alexa assistant service, which includes support for using Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and other sound services with your voice. And in 2018, it will also get support for the Google Assistant, bringing in all the goodies of the Google ecosystem, like smart home integration, to do lists, questions and answers, and a lot more. This makes the Sonos One the first smart speaker to support multiple voice services simultaneously.
Also, current Sonos speaker owners will get Amazon Alexa through a software update, bringing support for this voice assistant to millions of existing owners across the US, the UK, and Germany. It’s not clear whether the Google Assistant will come to existing devices, as the company has only mentioned Assistant support for the Sonos One starting next year. The Sonos One will launch globally on October 24th with a $199 price tag, and it can already be pre-ordered from the Sonos website. If you’d like to read more, you can have a read at the official Sonos press release, where they made a number of announcements aside the new smart speaker.
Update 1: Google Assistant support is finally coming
19 months after launching the product, Sonos will finally roll out a software upgrade for the Sonos One and Sonos Beam, bringing Google Assistant support. The company confirmed Assistant support will roll out next week during their second quarter financial report (via AndroidPolice):
This quarter we would like to highlight the much-anticipated launch of the Google Assistant on Sonos. We’ve been working on this for quite a while and are thrilled to be rolling it out next week. Through a software upgrade, Sonos One and Beam will support the Google Assistant in the U.S., with more markets to come over the next few months. This feature will truly elevate the customer experience and marks the first time that consumers will be able to buy a single smart speaker and get to choose which voice assistant they want to use. We think giving consumers choice is always the right decision, and we anticipate this philosophy will be adopted in the industry over time.
The update will roll out first in the U.S. and later in other markets. As AndroidPolice notes, there’s no indication if older models will get Assistant support as Google said during its CES 2019 teaser.
Rojenx is a leading concept artist who work appears in games and publications
Check out his personal gallery here