Sonos who has angered retailers in Australia after they moved to sell direct via a Company web site is set to release a new voice activated speaker.
The Company that still does not have a 24bit sound capability has been testing a voice activated platform ever since former CEO John MacFarlane quit the Company claiming that the Companies long term strategy was to deliver voice activation.
The speakers are set to work with the Alexa voice control which while not available in Australia yet is set to be released before Xmas.
New CEO, Patrick Spence, told Variety recently it wasn’t just testing the functionality of controlling existing Sonos speakers through an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, but that it was also planning a Sonos speaker with built-in Alexa.
The device will compete up against the new Harman system which not only has Alexa voice built in but is 24bit enabled.
Whether the speaker will offer Alexa control only, or whether it will support Google Assistant is not yet known but we expect to find out more on voice control for existing Sonos speakers and the dedicated Sonos speaker with built-in voice control at the event tonight.
Control for existing Sonos speakers through Echo and Echo Dot is also due at some point in 2017.
A recent FCC filing in the USA, appeared in August 2017 for a Sonos device called “product model S13” that adds “integrated voice control functionality”.
The filing claimed the device would feature far-field microphones like Amazon’s Echo and support for “multiple voice platforms and music services”. It also included image of a user interface with a microphone icon but aside from that, it didn’t give much away.
Following the FCC filing leak was another leak however, this time from German blogger Carsten Knobloch. Knobloch reveals in-the-wild images of what is claimed to be the Sonos speaker with the integrated voice control mentioned in the FCC filing.
Based on the images, the Sonos smart speaker will look very similar to the Play:1, but with a few changes, including a white speaker grille instead of silver for the white model and different controls on the top.
Australian media including ChannelNews and SmartHouse will be briefed on the new device tomorrow.