Priya Abani, director of Alexa Voice Service, announced in April 2018 that third-party Alexa-enabled devices will get calling and messaging abilities. In fact, since August 2018, these key Alexa features have been available on Eufy Genie - a third party Alexa-enabled gadget. Sonos, however, remains tight lipped about its plan.
I received my Beam earlier this week and was really excited. I was planning on purchasing two more for the whole family.
I'm so disappointed to find out that key features such as calling, messaging, and drop-in are not supported on Sonos Beam or One. It appears that Sonos has no plans to support these features at all.
At first, I thought Amazon refuses to allow third-party gadgets to have these features. But, Eufy Genie, a 3rd-party device with an RRP of only $35 (and on sale for $15 on Amazon at time of this post), supports all these features.
I would like to ask a couple of questions:
- Are these key Alexa features on the roadmap of Sonos Beam and Sonos One? Sonos should be transparent so consumers can make informed decisions for this holiday season.
- If these features will never be introduced to Sonos Beam and Sonos One (but only to a new product), what's Sono's plan on allowing users to use Sonos Beam next to an Echo device? To use voice calling, I keep my Echo in the same room, but Beam and Echo would respond at the same time. I understand it's possible to change the wake word, but it's really dumb that I have to remember Alexa is Beam and Computer is Echo (and they have the same voice!).
I appreciate that Sonos is working hard to support more Alexa skills, but those essential communication skills of "Alexa" are equally important. They should not be missing on a $399 device (considering a $15 Eufy Genie has these features). Ryan, I understand Sonos is very careful about announcing new product features under development (especially after the delays of Google Assistant support). But your loyal Sonos customers deserve to know better - at least whether the features are in the product roadmap/backlog. Please convince the management to share more information.
I really don't want to return my Beam and I'm willing to wait, but I need to know the features will eventually be available on the current generation of the device - not a Sonos Beam 2.
Best answer by Ryan S
We're always looking to improve the Alexa and Sonos integration, both by adding new features and improving existing ones. We're focused on building on the Alexa integration to provide the ultimate music listening experience at home, and will keep on updating it. We don't have any specifics around Messaging and Calling possibly coming to Sonos that I can share. I'll let the team know you're looking for it, and as soon as there's any news, I'll be sure to post it on the community.
As melvimbe suggested, when new features come, assuming the hardware can support them, they'll come to all devices capable of it. Most Alexa features are cloud-based, and therefore the hard work isn't done by the speaker, making it easier to support older hardware and bring them new features.