Sonos, famed maker of high-quality speakers and sound bars, is joining the smart speaker race with the Sonos One, a device that'll support Amazon Alexa and include Google Assistant and Siri support down the road.
This makes it the first smart speaker to support three major voice assistants in the market.
It has tough competition ahead, with Google, Amazon, and Apple all elbowing each other to get the lead, but that's okay. Sonos doesn't seem to be directly competing with those companies, anyway. It's marketing the Sonos One as "The Smart Speaker for Music Lovers," which is just right for its brand.
The star of the show here are the voice features, which is led by Amazon Alexa, at least initially. Sonos CEO Patrick Spence mentioned that Google Assistant and Siri will arrive by 2018, although he failed to give an exact date.
The Sonos One, a sleek $199 smart speaker, looks nearly identical to the Sonos Play:1, with a similar full-body speaker grill design. But it has a few things which make it slightly different, including a ring of microphone holes, an LED indicator, and a play/pause button, all of which are on the top panel. Otherwise, Sonos says it features the "same great sound" as the Play:1 although it's been "reengineered" from the ground up as well. What this means exactly remains uncertain.
Sonos One Is Powered By Amazon Alexa
Because the smart speaker supports Alexa, users can bark certain voice commands such as, "Alexa, play [album]" or, "Alexa, play [artist]" and it'll play them. Users can also invoke Alexa to let Sonos One control other speakers inside the house.
This isn't the only speaker that'll get Alexa, though. Sonos has confirmed that existing models will also get the digital assistant as part of a public beta, although an Echo device is required for that to work. Apple AirPlay 2 support will also arrive in 2018 to Sonos One and other models. With this, owners will be able to ask any Siri-capable device to control the music on the speakers.
The Sonos One will be available in black and white, out Oct. 24. Allen Mask, head of partnerships at Sonos, said its new smart speaker isn't meant to replace Play:1, noting that the company is just excited to make Alexa work with its current speaker line and the Sonos One.
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