Massive disappointment

  • 10 October 2017
  • 9 replies
  • 726 views

Having bought Alexa as soon as announced to control Sonos, massively disappointed that it cannot operate the Sonos library. Why did we wait so long for such an inferior piece of “technology”?

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9 replies

Because what they've done so far is hard?

And you've ignored the fact that they're continuing to work on it, the current release is a "beta" release.
And how late is this beta release? Is what I suggested not basic functionality? Is it wrong for a customer to express disappointment? I presume you work for Sonos or Amazon.
And how late is this beta release? Is what I suggested not basic functionality? Is it wrong for a customer to express disappointment? I presume you work for Sonos or Amazon.

It's a beta release because it says "Beta" right on the Alexa skill when you enable it. Also, it's 3 months early, Sonos promised it by end of 2017. Basic functionality is a subjective call. There is basic playback control of all sources, the only limitation is you cannot initialize playback on all sources. There is certainly an argument for basic playback controls to be considered basic functionality.

Lastly, you can be as disappointed as you like, but let's keep the hyperbole from over-shadowing the facts. One of those facts being Sonos employees are duly marked as such. It's a lazy argument to simply label everyone who may not see things your way as a paid company shill.
However, I'm open to being paid by Sonos, if they so choose.
Bruce, they are indeed hiring at the moment.;)
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I agree with the OP.

The integration with Echo is so basic, its not worth promoting. Yes, they could state they integrate with Echo, but its not worthy of investing marketing dollars into actively "selling" it as a feature, when the feature is so basic.

On the flip side, I do understand the technical difficulties that companies run into when dealing with partners such as Amazon, Google, etc. Its difficult and costly to make it all work correctly. But...not impossible. So...IMO, if they want to publicize this "feature" so strongly, it better be good. Otherwise, just keep it on the down low until you've mastered it...then market it to the world.

Is it a good first step? Sure.

Is it worthy of trying to market it as an amazing feature? I don't think so.
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I have to agree that so far the "beta" Alexa features are totally underwhelming. I had to do a little extra work to get it to work in Canada (for the obvious reason that Amazon doesn't sell Echo/Alexa products here), but after holding off for a while I thought I'd give it a try. Of course, this means that in Canada I also can't subscribe to Amazon Music. On the other hand, as a subscriber to Tidal, Deezer Elite and Spotify I have no interest in doing this.
So what do I have? The ability of the Echo Dots around my house to perform a few very basic tasks. Oddly my favourite is the fact that I can say "pause" when playing music through Sonos when the phone rings, and it works. I won't go into the rest of the list because we all know what it does and what it doesn't do. But what it mostly doesn't do for me is play music or podcasts through the third party, Sonos-sanctioned, apps and services that I use most frequently, Yes, I know that Sonos says Spotify abilities are coming, but because of Spotify's lower bitrate it is the least favorite of my services. And I know there is limited podcast support through Tunein. But it is very limited. (Please, I am not trying to start another "golden ears" argument. I appreciate the difference between 320 and higher resolutions, and I use my music services for many things other than Sonos. The difference is most evident in DAC/headphone listening. But that's only my opinion).
And what else doesn't it STILL do? Audible. Yes, that's the Audible that stopped working a long time ago, and that Sonos has promised to resurrect since. I know Sonos says Audible is coming, but it has been saying that forever. And there was much speculation that it would return with the Alexa integration. I'm disappointed that it remains out of the picture despite the strengthened links with the Amazon ecosystem. And I'm disappointed that Sonos has gone the route of being a promoter of other Amazon products, such as Amazon Music, to the exclusion of some of its other partners.
This isn't a dealbreaker for me. Much of my music listening is "exploratory," so I can live without the ability to ask Alexa to play specific music on my Sonos. On the other hand, it would be nice to have. It would also be nice to have something that works in natively in countries such as Canada. Echo gear may not be sold here, but programming of Canadian addresses is now allowed by Amazon, so clearly they are making concessions to Canadians. And we have Echo gear in droves--most of my friends are picking them up while doing a little cross-border shopping.
Yes, I know it's a beta. But for me, it's not much of a beta. So again, I'll say I am underwhelmed.
Having bought Alexa as soon as announced to control Sonos, massively disappointed that it cannot operate the Sonos library. Why did we wait so long for such an inferior piece of “technology”?
Because we did not have a choice? That isn't being flip, what else could you have done, what else could you have bought that gave you more than what Sonos does at this time?
IMO, this voice control thing is overrated for my Sonos use anyway so I see no issue with the local NAS being missing, though I can see many other uses for Alexa once all the skills are released in workable form in India. Something that needs just a cheap Dot to exploit.
And of course, using Alexa as is possible to manage NAS music even now once it has started playing may be useful; too soon to say.
I get why people are disappointed that the enhancement doesn't meet their expectation. What I don't get is why people assume that all of Sonos other customers are similarly disappointed. I also don't get how people can assume that the integration, as implemented, is easy, or that the only reason the integration isn't all that customers want to be is do to Amazon or Sonos greed.