Much like the explosive growth of the smartphone market in the late 2000s, the smart speaker category is now in its own period of rapid expansion. And like the rise of the smartphones, it’s not a free-for-all - it’s a proxy war.
Sure, everyone is in it for their own financial gain. However, a lot of tech brands are going to end being mere foot-soldiers here. The real battle isn’t over who gets to make your smart speaker but who gets to make the software powering the experience. Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, Samsung’s Bixby, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri are all racing to reach critical mass adoption and the brands in-between are more-than-happy to partner with these established players if it means they can have their slice of the pie.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Sonos are playing that game. However, for Australians at least, the company’s new Sonos One smart speaker is a bit of a unorthodox proposition.
In essence, it’s about trust. With the Sonos One, Sonos are betting that - no matter your AI assistant of choice - you’ll still be interested in great sound quality. More than that, they’re betting that you trust the Sonos brand enough that you’re willing to buy in even without the smarts up-front.
The Sonos One smart speaker is Wi-Fi-based connected speaker with two Class-D digital amplifiers, one mid-woofer, one tweeter and six far-field microphones. It’s controlled using the new, redesigned Sonos app (iOS and Android) and, at this time, only compatible with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant - which isn't available in Australia yet.
Sonos say that Google Assistant support will be coming sometime in 2018, as is support for Apple's AirPlay 2. They’ve also indicated to us that Bixby or Cortana support is also a possibility further down the line as well.