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More than a year after announcing a “long-term strategic partnership with Amazon,” Sonos today unveiled its first speaker with voice control capabilities built in. Called the Sonos One, the speaker will support Alexa and will cost $199. It is available for preorder from today, with a delivery date of October 24. At the event unveiling the Sonos One, the company announced that Google Assistant support will become available next year.
Sonos executive Mieko Kusano also announced that a beta software update will be available to download — starting today for users in the U.S., U.K., and Germany — to connect Sonos speakers with previously purchased Amazon Echo and Echo Dot devices, via Alexa.
Thanks to Echo, Google Home, and the soon-to-be-available HomePod, opening an app to control a speaker now feels cumbersome, and it’s surprising it took Sonos this long to enable voice control. Sonos One is billed as “the smart speaker for music lovers,” and the company explained that it was waiting until it had “developed a seamless experience” before releasing the new speaker.
“The technology is just so nascent, a lot of these conversations we’re having with our partners, we’re all having for the first time,” Sonos’ vice president of partnerships, Allen Mask, told VentureBeat. “It did take a year [after the announcement of a partnership with Amazon] but we feel good about how long it took.”
Like other Sonos speakers, the Sonos One will only be available in two colors: black and white. It will come equipped with six microphones. The button layout for the Sonos One has been redesigned to include a microphone icon.
At the event, Mask also announced that users will be able to control their Sonos speakers in the Pandora and Tidal apps by the end of the year. The company first made direct control of the speakers available in Spotify last year. Sonos said it will also add AirPlay 2 support for Apple devices in 2018.
Updated October 4, 9:41 a.m. with additional comments from Sonos’ vice president of partnerships, Allen Mask.
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