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- Sonos has officially released its first smart speaker, the Sonos One, which supports Amazon Alexa.
- The One has the same smart capabilities as an Amazon Echo, with significantly better sound quality.
- Like all of Sonos' speakers, the One can be integrated into the same Sonos system, is controlled by the same app, and has access to all the same services.
After years of dominating the connected speaker market — for good reason — Sonos seemed to be falling a little behind. Unlike tech companies, who are making speakers smart and connected by integrating assistants, Sonos relied on a locked down app ecosystem and inter-speaker connectivity to stand out.
But as of today, it's bringing the best of both worlds together with the Sonos One, a new speaker with Amazon's Alexa built into it.
The speaker is the same size and shape as the company's entry-level PLAY: 1 speaker, integrates easily into your network of Sonos speakers, and works with the Sonos app. But unlike the PLAY:1, it has access to the Alexa skills Amazon and its partners have created over the past couple of years, and better components.
Amazon Prime, Amazon Music Unlimited, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and SiriusXM will all be available for voice control at launch, with others including Spotify coming later. Several other streaming services, Spotify included, will still be accessible through the Sonos app.
Until recently you've had to choose between intelligence and audio quality from your speakers (unless you decided to pair an Echo Dot with a great speaker you already had), but that's no longer necessary. If you like the way Sonos speakers sound, and wouldn't mind having a smart assistant in your home, this is a good bet. It's good enough that a BI reporter who reviewed it wants to ditch his 'dumb' speakers for the One.
Sonos has also announced it's planning to support Apple's Airplay 2 and Google's Assistant next year, which would make it the most compatible smart home speaker around. If that happens, the Sonos One will be the logical choice for anyone looking for a smart speaker, but it isn't there yet.
Still, the idea of Sonos' audio quality and connectivity mixed with the Echo's intelligence is compelling, although the new Echo and Apple's HomePod will give the One some competition. If you've already got Sonos speakers around your house, adding the One is a no-brainer; it includes all the features you love, with better audio quality and increased capabilities.
At the very least, it shows Sonos is serious about growing from a connected speaker company to a major player in the smart speaker space.