30.08.17

Sonos announces launch date for voice-controlled speaker

sonos and amazon echo speakers palces next to each other in home

Sonos is expected to launch its voice-controlled speaker offering in New York in the first week of October.

Following a telling update to its privacy statement to cover how the company uses voice data, Sonos has revealed that on Wednesday October 4, 2017 it will host a special launch event where it seems likely it will introduce its voice offering.

Just how do we know this is likely to be the news? Firstly, the rather telling imagery used on the invite to the event in New York featuring an open mouth (see below).
sonos october 4 invitation to voice-controlled speaker launch in new york

Other information regarding the event may be sparse, but a FCC filing by the manufacturer earlier this month detailed a device that used far-field mics to accept commands from "multiple voice platforms." Crucially, this suggests integration with Amazon Alexa devices may just be the first in various planned partnerships.

Remember that back in January, newly appointed CEO, Patrick Spence, expressed his desire that the company would one day bring a speaker with Alexa technology built-in to market as part of what has been a huge shift of R&D for the manufacturer recently.

An October releases means Sonos have been working hard to beat Apple to the punch in adding to what is becoming an increasingly crowded smart speaker marketplace – with the HomePod to be released in December 2017, and a Bixby-powered offering from Samsung also on the horizon.

Yet Sonos’ vast experience in audio may just mean that the company can offer a voice-activated speaker that can take commands, but also sound good (something Amazon and Google are often criticised for). The rivalry between Sonos and Apple to offer a premium voice experience will certainly be interesting to observe as it unfolds in the coming months.