Sonos just announced their first wireless speaker with a built-in microphone that accepts voice commands called Sonos One for $199. The multi-room ready speaker will initially work just like an Amazon Echo, but will add Google Assistant compatibility in 2018. That will make it the first and only smart speaker to support multiple major voice services.
At launch, users can ask Amazon Alexa to control Sonos One out of the box, with full voice support for Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, and TuneIn. Alexa voice control for Spotify on Sonos One will be coming soon after launch. Voice transport controls like pause, skip, volume up and down, and even asking what’s playing will be available for all other music services Sonos supports.
What’s unique about Sonos is all of their speakers all multi-room ready, so you can add additional Sonos speakers to other rooms and control your entire home from a single app. Sonos One owners get the added ability to use voice to control their entire Sonos sound system. Sonos One works as a standalone speaker, or two can be wirelessly paired for stereo sound. For home theater aficionados they can be used as wireless rear surround speakers with PLAYBASE or PLAYBAR.
- Designed from the ground up to deliver surprisingly rich sound from a speaker of its size.
- Driven by two Class-D digital amplifiers, one tweeter, and one mid-woofer.
- Includes a six-mic array and an adaptive noise suppression algorithm to focus on the right person and ensure the voice service understands everything clearly.
- Voice capture technology with echo cancelation allows the speaker to still hear you over the music. The volume also intelligently lowers, or “ducks,” when you speak to it so you don’t have to shout over the music.
- The light on the speaker will be illuminated if the microphones are active. The light is hardwired to the same circuit that powers the microphone array, so if the light is off, it means the microphone is off.
- Owners can use Trueplay to easily tune Sonos One to sound great no matter where it’s placed in the home.
Amazon’s forthcoming $149 Echo Plus will include whole-home connectivity too, although Sonos offers more music features with access to 49 streaming services. Google Home or the pricier Google Home Max are other options, along with Apple’s HomePod that works only with Siri. The real question becomes which speaker sounds the best for the price. After that, will Google or Amazon do a better job answering voice commands. It’s too early to tell the eventual winner, but right now Amazon has the early lead.
Price and Availability
Sonos One will be available globally on October 24, 2017 for $199 in all-white and all-black matte finishes. At launch, Alexa will only work in the US, UK, and Germany. Pre-orders are now being accepted.
Google Assistant functionality will be available via software update in 2018.