New Sonos One Speaker

Compatible with Amazon Alexa and other digital voice-enabled assistants to come

Today Sonos announced the Sonos One (an all-new though similar-looking product to the PLAY:1) that many have been waiting for—one of their premium speakers with built-in connectivity to audio assistants that can now control the music on your Sonos system as well as offer all of their other benefits for controlling other systems in your home and accessing online information and services.

The first service to come online is Amazon’s Echo, with Google Assistant arriving in 2018 and others to follow. At Sonos it’s sound first, so not only is the speaker the best-in-class, it can now support your whole Sonos system while reducing clutter by removing the need to have additional devices. In addition to the new One, Sonos also announced a substantially enhanced version of its app, which offers many convenient features through its new tabbed design, as well as integration with any existing Amazon Echo device (and assumably other devices when that functionality is added).

Though many won’t be able to tell it apart from the PLAY:1 all but two components are brand new, representing both improvements in the speaker’s sound performance along with its six far-field microphones and all of the tech to support voice integration. The Sonos One now runs on a chip that’s as capable as the one in your smartphone. Like its other products the One offers access to 80+ music services, but can now be asked questions, offer news updates, dim lights and more that we’ve become accustomed to. We spoke with Tad Toulis, Vice President of Design at Sonos, about the new speaker and software update.

Toulis explains that this product, and the announcements made today, are “really setting forth the vision that is so powerful about Sonos, which is, you should have choice.” He continues, “What Sonos stands for is giving users choice in a really rich environment but having a quality bar on the hardware and the gear and how that stuff works in an experience that supports people in how they live.”

The Sonos team, as they moved into voice, wanted the experience to be human-centric. They focused on what they call the “continuity of control.” Toulis says, “It means we want you to be able to control the experience with the right medium. If you’re walking into your house with groceries, clearly your phone isn’t the best option, nor are the buttons on the speaker, so voice is great.” But other times browsing the app for recommendations or viewing your favorites is preferable, and sometimes you are near a speaker and want to easily adjust the volume or pause the music; now Sonos can offer customers all of these options. Unlike other speakers and devices like this, the Sonos One also offers a sound reaction to commands (others have visual cues) which means that no matter where you are in a room, you will know if your request has been heard. “We’re really aiming for the environment to respond to you,” Toulis says.

The Sonos One is available in black or white for pre-order (shipping 24 October 2017) for $199. Visit Sonos for details.

Lead image by Cool Hunting, second courtesy of Sonos