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Sonos One Seeks To Be The Speaker For All (Digital) Voices

Sonos continued its commitment to voice control with the launch of a new “platform-agnostic” speaker that will be compatible with Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri.

The audio manufacturer also announced a new certification program for developers and updated existing speaker compatibility.

Priced at $199, the new Sonos One speaker features voice support for Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM and TuneIn at launch.  Alexa voice control for Spotify on Sonos One will be “coming soon,” the company said, while pause, skip, volume up and down, and asking what’s playing will be available for all other music services supported by Sonos.

In addition to music, consumers can use Alexa for such things as listening to weather and news reports and setting timers.

Google Assistant compatibility will come in 2018, enabling access to the virtual assistant’s own features and smart-home control. Apple AirPlay 2 support, meanwhile, will also arrive next year, making it possible to play sound from an iOS device on Sonos speakers and use Siri to control music.

“We live in a golden age of streaming entertainment,” said Sonos CEO Patrick Spence in a statement. “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 can be used stand-alone or paired together for stereo sound. It can also be used with Sonos’ other speakers for multi-room sound. Hardware features include two Class D digital amplifiers, one tweeter, one mid-woofer, a six-mic array, voice-capture technology with echo cancelation, and adaptive noise suppression for clear speaker identification.

It will be offered in white or black matte finishes.

The company also announced that existing Sonos owners are now able to control their systems using Alexa via a free software update made available today. An Alexa-enabled device like an Echo or Dot is required, as is the Sonos skill.

By the end of this year, users will be able to control Sonos speakers directly from more third-party music apps, including Pandora and Tidal. (Presently, Spotify is the only one with this feature.) Direct control from the Audible, iHeartRadio, and Kuke Music apps will come in early 2018.

Also in 2018, Sonos will open its developer program and deliver APIs to any developer who wants to build experiences on the Sonos Sound Platform. 

The company also rolled out a certification program, giving partners the ability to earn a “Works with Sonos” badge The first certified partners will become available in the coming weeks and months from Wrensilva, TunesMap, Lutron, iPort, Wink, Yumoni and Enno.