Sonos today debuted a new home smart speaker and TV soundbar named Beam that comes with Alexa voice control, and later this year will add voice control from Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant.
Beam hits store shelves around the world July 17 and will retail for $399. It comes in black or white and, at 25 inches long, is 60 percent smaller than the Sonos Playbar soundbar, which retails for $699. The speaker has a fabric exterior and touch-control top with a five-microphone array to improve voice control and echo cancellation
The Beam will also include an HDMI port to easily connect the speaker with televisions. The news follows regulatory filings Sonos submitted to the FCC in April that signaled plans to release a home theater speaker with an HDMI port.
Sonos’ ambition to bring all major AI assistants to its sound system and speakers was also on display today at a press conference to debut the Beam.
“It would have been relatively easy to build an Alexa speaker or a Google speaker, but the fact is we don’t want to choose for you. We want you and all of our owners to have the freedom of choice,” Sonos VP Lidiane Jones told an audience of about 100 at The Village in San Francisco.
In July, iOS devices will be able to use Siri and AirPlay 2 to control Sonos speakers such as the Beam, Play 5, Playbase soundbar, and One, the first Sonos speaker with Alexa voice control.
After repeated delays, in April AirPlay 2 for controlling multiple speakers became available on iOS 11.
No news was shared today about a Sonos-Google Assistant integration; however, Sonos previously committed to making Google Assistant available for its speakers sometime in 2018.
Also announced today: In conjunction with Echo speakers and Alexa coming to France next week, Alexa voice control will soon be made available for Sonos speakers in France.
Sonos also said it’s working with Chinese startup Rokid and the Tencent conglomerate to control Sonos speakers with Rokid’s virtual assistant using Mandarin Chinese.