At launch, the Sonos One ($199, £199) integrates Amazon Alexa support directly, allowing control of smart home devices and all of the functionality you can expect from an Amazon Echo speaker. But Sonos says support for Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri, using AirPlay 2, are both coming in 2018.
The multiplatform support is a first among smart speakers, and could potentially fulfill Sonos’ promise of being “the only smart speaker you’ll ever need.” Sonos said its formerly closed platform would welcome all comers, and also included smart home companies and other developers among its new partners.
Billed as a music-first speaker, the One looks a lot like the company’s Google Home speakers .(also $199), but has an array of six built-in microphones to allow it to respond to voice commands. Sonos’ speakers generally have excellent audio quality, and the Play:1 beat the original Amazon Echo and
At launch the One can control Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeart Radio directly, with Spotify coming soon. Available in black and white, the speaker has buttons on the top for a microphone as well as play/pause and volume.
Sonos is a pioneer in wireless, whole-home audio speakers and other gear, and is still among CNET’s favorites. Using a proprietary “mesh network” system, its speakers, sound bars and amplifiers can all play the same music simultaneously around the home, or in whichever rooms you choose, and everything can be controlled from a phone app.
The company isfrom two different directions. One is traditional audio companies with multiroom systems such as DTS Play-Fi, Bose SoundTouch and Yamaha MusicCast.
But its biggest competitors are Amazon, Google and Apple. Google’s inexpensive Chromecast Audio system does multiroom, and smart speakers such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home make it easy to ask for music. Amazon just added whole-home audio to its , and Google is expected to announce later today. And Apple’s Siri-powered is coming in December.
Rather than continue to battle these behemoths, or develop its own voice control system in-house, Sonos’ strategy is to partner with them.
The Sonos One is available for preorder now and will ship Oct. 24. Australian pricing and availability was not announced, but the UK price converts to about AU$335.