Sonos launches platform-agnostic smart speaker

Clever audio gadget maker Sonos has shown the way forward in the smart home with the launch of a speaker that will support all the major voice assistant platforms.

The Sonos One is apparently named to position it as the definitive smart speaker. It’s not only designed to support a bunch of audio streaming services, but also Amazon Alexa. On top of that support for Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay 2 will come next year via an OTA software update, but there was no talk of Siri or Cortana.

But the main event seems to be Alexa, and is further evidence of Amazon getting ahead of its rivals in the battle for the soul of the smart home. On top of this launch Sonos is also rolling out Alexa support to a bunch of existing Sonos products, giving Amazon a nice bit of instant installed-base. Despite this apparent cosiness with the internet giants, Sonos couldn’t resist a dig at their hardware.

“We live in a golden age of streaming entertainment,” said Sonos CEO Patrick Spence. “But so much of this great content is being pushed through smart speakers that aren’t designed with sound quality in mind. With our open approach to collaboration, agnostic approach to voice services, the strength of our many innovative partners, and a sound platform designed for the whole home, we’re helping people listen more and listen better.”

The Sonos One is priced at $199 so will probably cost around 200 quid when it’s available here and globally on 24 October. Platform-agnostic smart home gadgets seem like the way forward as few people other than the most devoted Apple fanatics will feel comfortable tying themselves to a single ecosystem. Having said that it will be interesting to see what the user experience is like when you have multiple, competing smart assistants trying to sort your life out for you.

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