End of Software Support - Clarifications

End of Software Support - Clarifications
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We announced yesterday that some of our oldest Sonos products will be moving into a legacy mode in May of 2020. Our commitment is to support products with regular software updates for a minimum of five years after we stop selling them, and we have a track record of supporting products far longer. 

Here is some public information we’ve shared, gathered into one place to respond to some of your questions in one easy thread, so that people can find the correct information easily.

Beginning in May, software updates and new features from Sonos will only be delivered to systems with only modern products.

After May, systems that include legacy products will continue to work as before - but they will no longer receive software updates or new features. 

Sonos will work to maintain the existing experience and conduct bug fixes, but our efforts will ultimately be limited by the lack of memory and processing power of these legacy products.

We don’t expect any immediate impact to your experience, but access to services and overall functionality will eventually be disrupted, particularly as partners evolve their own services and features. 

 

Customers with both legacy and modern products have time to decide what option is best for them. You can continue to use your whole system in legacy mode - in this case, it will stop receiving updates and new features. 

You will also be able to separate your legacy products from your modern products, so that the modern products can still receive updates and new features, and legacy products can still be used separately. We’ll have more information on how to do this in May when you can take that action.

Another option available to all customers with legacy products is to take advantage of the Trade Up program, which allows you to upgrade older Sonos products to modern ones with a 30% discount. Trade Up will be open to customers at any time should they decide to upgrade. 

We recognize this is new for Sonos owners, just as it is for Sonos. We are committed to help you by making options available to you to support the best decision for your home.
 

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate with asking.

Update 2/22: A message from our CEO

We heard you. We did not get this right from the start. My apologies for that and I wanted to personally assure you of the path forward:

First, rest assured that come May, when we end new software updates for our legacy products, they will continue to work as they do today. We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away. Many of you have invested heavily in your Sonos systems, and we intend to honor that investment for as long as possible. While legacy Sonos products won’t get new software features, we pledge to keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible. If we run into something core to the experience that can’t be addressed, we’ll work to offer an alternative solution and let you know about any changes you’ll see in your experience.

Secondly, we heard you on the issue of legacy products and modern products not being able to coexist in your home. We are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, while legacy products work together and remain in their current state. We’re finalizing details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks.

While we have a lot of great products and features in the pipeline, we want our customers to upgrade to our latest and greatest products when they’re excited by what the new products offer, not because they feel forced to do so. That’s the intent of the trade up program we launched for our loyal customers.

Thank you for being a Sonos customer. Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. I hope that you’ll forgive our misstep, and let us earn back your trust. Without you, Sonos wouldn’t exist and we’ll work harder than ever to earn your loyalty every single day.

If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Patrick Spence
CEO, Sonos


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4256 replies

Hi everyone, 

 

There’s a lot of good discussion in this thread over the last 15 months and I believe this topic has run its course, so I’ll be closing this thread to further replies.

 

Please make use of the answers given in the previous 171 pages, or start a new topic if you have further questions/issues.

 

Thank you.

That opinion has been expressed a thousand times, as has the contrary. If ever there was a pointless, dead, speculative debate, this is it. Let's all meet back here in 2025 and see what has actually happened, shall we?

Has there been an HBR case study about Sonos highlighting how NOT to treat your installed customer base last spring?  The murky S1 support timeline and uncertainty leaves me cold for any further investment in Sonos products.  Fool me once, shame on you...

S2 will be the new S1 “Legacy products” 5 years from now when some new esoteric features demands their evolution to phase out older hardware for ongoing product growth (real or invented) to drive new product revenue.

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I still think you’re blaming the wrong company (Google is more to blame here, I think), but we’ll just have to agree to disagree here…..

I have several Apps that eventually need a new OS, but I would say that EVERY other app I have on my phone is free or max cost maybe $10 but when  people have invested up to or over $1,000 on perfectly good speakers that are made redundant by a free app then you can understand why customers are so upset.

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I’m not looking at ways that Google might be looking at making their user experience worse. I’m trying to point out that Sonos could make their user experience better.

Yes - if you look at what a typical online banking app supports, the general situation is that Android 5 seems to be the norm (some go back further, some one release later). So if Sonos were to say that they will do their best to support everything as far back as Android 5 and that their app would not work at all prior to that, I think that would be a better user experience. Of course users of older versions would need to be warned in advance of withdrawal of support for a specific older version, when that happens.

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So stopping all support would have been better?

As said, Sonos might be quick in stopping support for older OS’s. But at least they warn you about it, by first taking away functionality.

You might need a new phone soon anyway: https://www.google.nl/amp/s/www.engadget.com/amp/old-android-phones-lose-many-secure-websites-in-2021-224728196.html

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But on the other hand they could say that this is better than it not loading at all. Some functionality better than none?

 

If that was their intention, then they haven’t thought it through properly. They don’t seem to be thinking about the customer experience as being the most important aim. What they have done is to implement a technical solution that repeatedly disappoints the customer.

I can stop and start music, but every time I want to find a new station, or add an album to my library and re-index so that I can play it, or change my network settings, the system tells me I can’t. By design it disappoints the user.

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Yes I agree I had a unsupported phone but SONOS said,  and they still do,  that you can keep using S1 and it will function,  just that it will get no updates.

This worked fine until last night when an automatic update came through and stopped the S1 app working with the “updated “ speaker.

 No, that's not what the (eventually) said. See the first post in this thread:

“After May, systems that include legacy products will continue to work as before - but they will no longer receive software updates or new features.

Sonos will work to maintain the existing experience and conduct bug fixes, (...).”

Maybe a bit confusing as to what consitutes a "software update” or a “bug fix", since all bug fixes bring the need to update the system and also the app. In this last sense S1 wil still receieve updates and it's  users wil be confronted by the Sonos policy of keeping up very closely with OS-makers. Maybe unexpected for you, but the S1/S2-split has made no change to this policy. So your products will “continue to work as before” including this policy.

@Antifon @Kumar The first step in stopping support for OS's with Sonos is cutting off the possibility to make certain system changes. The next step is that the app will not update and not contact the system.

@Antifon I'm not an Android user myself, but I have seen people lose functionality or even the complete use of apps because they ran an outdated OS on their iPhone. Whatsapp springs to mind. My wife's iPhone 4s was even kicked off her employer's wifi network a certain time after Apple stopped providing updates.

But on the other hand they could say that this is better than it not loading at all. Some functionality better than none?

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Yes - it has been deliberately crippled, so that it will load but numerous functions are greyed out.

It’s hard to imagine what Sonos were thinking when they decided to do this. It’s obvious that the end result is that they want to save money by reducing legacy maintenance staff, but the way they have done it doesn’t make any sense from a customer perspective.

 

Sonos, on the other hand, has deliberately modified their app so that, under Android 7 and earlier it doesn’t work properly. They have crippled the app so that you can’t do things that many people will need to do regularly, such as updating their music library, adding a radio station or updating the network settings if they change their router or their broadband supplier.

 

Really? I though that the app simply would not load...you are saying that it does but with edited functionality? So someone would have the same version of the app, but with less functionality? 

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in supporting apps on phones that OS-makers themselves have abandoned.

That’s an emotive description that doesn’t describe the reality.

Google may have stopped “supporting” Android 7 and earlier, but the big difference is that Google hasn’t retrospectively crippled their apps that run under Android 7. So on my “old” Android 7 phone, I can still use Google Chrome, or Gmail, or the Google Play Store or pretty much any other Google-written app and it still works.

Sonos, on the other hand, has deliberately modified their app so that, under Android 7 and earlier it doesn’t work properly. They have crippled the app so that you can’t do things that many people will need to do regularly, such as updating their music library, adding a radio station or updating the network settings if they change their router or their broadband supplier.

You don’t have to think about that for long to realise that there is a big difference between what Google has done and what Sonos has done. The Sonos approach seems, bizarrely, to be designed to annoy its own customers...

Yes I agree I had a unsupported phone but SONOS said,  and they still do,  that you can keep using S1 and it will function,  just that it will get no updates.

This worked fine until last night when an automatic update came through and stopped the S1 app working with the “updated “ speaker.

I think we disagree about who should think about the consequences of owning a phone with an unsupported OS - it’s owner or Sonos….

Fair enough, but don’t you feel that Sonos should explicitly warn users when they’re about to ‘obsolete’ their phone? Even if they can’t check the version being used, they could still put up a warning before the update, if they’re changing their ‘supported’ criteria.

...though I do feel, as stated earlier, that Sonos support of older OS’s seems shorter than makers of other apps seem to maintain.

Considerably shorter’  perhaps? ;-)

 

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I think you misunderstood the final outcome of the S1/S2 split. The outcome is that S1 would still be supported for years to come, but that it would still receive safety updates, but no feature updates. So S1-systems will continue to receive updates. Sonos has not changed anything in it’s policy about supporting old OS’s. So your system will update and in my experience most updates will require an updated app, whence you run in to the problem you experienced: a no longer supported OS.

I think we disagree about who should think about the consequences of owning a phone with an unsupported OS - it’s owner or Sonos, though I do feel, as stated earlier, that Sonos support of older OS’s seems shorter than makers of other apps seem to maintain.

The problem I have is that I knew the app was unsupported but that S1 would continue to work, just that their would be no updates.

That was quite a few months ago and everything worked OK. Support said that overnight a SONOS update made my speakers incompatible with the S1 app and I couldn't “roll" it back.

Support still says that S1 will work on old speakers but it was my fault because I had “automatic Updates" ticked and I agreed to the update.

That's a long bow to stretch for anybody to think about ticking that box would make my system incompatible.

Lucky I discovered that I can still keep my phone if I just use the Spotify App to use as the control.

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Your problem is off topic here, since is has nothing to do with the S1/S2-split. I understand it must be frustrating that apps will stop working if you own an older phone and have stated her before that Sonos follows the makers of OS’s (Google or Apple) much more closely than other manufacturers in supporting apps on phones that OS-makers themselves have abandoned.

But. Sonos does state on the supported OS’s on their website and the end of support for your phone from the maker of it’s OS was probably some time ago, so you could have anticipated this, indeed by locking updates to apps on your phone and the system.

I have however read that if you own an iPhone @controlav’s app will make it possible to command your system on an out of OS-support iPhone.

Well my Sonos speakers got made redundant overnight without any prior warning or knowledge and then Support blamed me because I had “automatically update” box ticked. Basically the speakers got a software upgrade but my old phone which ran S1 App fine can no longer control my speakers.

Extremely frustrating to become part of a planned obsolescence after spent big money on SONOS to support them when they were first released.

Their answer...buy a new phone….my answer…...when will you rinse and repeat the same thing again with a new phone that I dont even need..

Funnily enough I checked out my Spotify App and it still controls the speakers fine via my “old” phone. Its just the S1 App or the S2 App which will not download to my phone.
Thank You Spotify.

I’ll take the 30% discount if I can use it on ANY speaker system EXCEPT SONOS

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I think I may have confused you by mixing apples and oranges.  

In the past in a different room I ran HDMI output from a DirecTV box to a TV, plugged the analog output from the DirecTV box into the line-in of a Sonos Connect, and plugged the optical output from the Connect into a receiver.   That way I could play the line-in of that Connect in other rooms.  In the room where the TV was, the TV speakers were sort of a middle channel with the other speakers in that room. I experienced no noticeable lag among the TV speakers, the receiver and the Sonos speakers in other rooms.

The puzzle I’m trying to solve now is twofold. I want to (a)  extend an entirely S1 Sonos system into a new room, and (b) figure out a way to add wireless surround speakers to an otherwise quite good sound bar which doesn’t have that capability.  Wireless surrounds because there isn’t any way to wire anything in that room at this point.

If for no other reason, the audio lag on the Sonos line-in would make sync with the Yamaha audio difficult, if not impossible.

Actually, that has not been my experience with line in from other devices but it is certainly a factor to take into account.  I’ve used line in from the cable box to share TV sound in other rooms with Connects, and didn't notice any lag.

Do you mean line out from the cable box?  What type of line? Connected to more than one Connect?

So the setup you are considering has TV connected to Yamaha soundbar (connected how?).  The Yamaha soundbar plays the TV sound.  It simultaneously outputs an audio out identical to what it’s playing, from an HDMI-ARC connection.  This would go through an audio extractor./ DAC to produce a stereo analog output to feed the Port’s line-in.  By grouping the Port with the One SLs you hope to have the same audio playing on the Yamaha soundbar and the One SLs.

Is that correct?  Or total misunderstanding on my part?

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If for no other reason, the audio lag on the Sonos line-in would make sync with the Yamaha audio difficult, if not impossible.

Actually, that has not been my experience with line in from other devices but it is certainly a factor to take into account.  I’ve used line in from the cable box to share TV sound in other rooms with Connects, and didn't notice any lag.

If for no other reason, the audio lag on the Sonos line-in would make sync with the Yamaha audio difficult, if not impossible.

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So what sort of audio out does the soundbar have, that you would connect to a Port's analog stereo input ? It is unusual for a soundbar to have any sort of audio out.

HDMI Arc Out.  You can buy an HDMI audio extractor on Amazon for $20-30.

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the back speakers would really serve the purpose of bringing the dialog closer to the listeners.  

 

It would actually serve the purpose of making the dialogue sound like it is coming from behind you, while people 's lips moved in front of you. That seems like a weird outcome to be aiming for. 

The position of the voices won’t be a problem because the speakers will be more to the side than behind and I can adjust their volume.  The soundbar has extensive beaming capabilities to create surround images from the front so the additional speakers would just blend in.  I know that works because I’ve already experimented with a little bluetooth speaker and it worked fine except for the lag.

A Sonos home theater speaker attached to the TV’s optical output or to the TV’s HDMI (ARC) port is required to create a surround setup.

The miscommunication here is I’m not trying to create a true surround setup and I don’t care about voice control since my TV already has that.  The Yamaha can beam a variety of surround patterns so I’m content with a “hybrid” surround system bringing the sound of voices closer through side Sonos speakers I can control independently.  I contemplate doing that by running the analog TV output into the line-in of a Port and grouping the Port with left and right SL Ones.  

I’m going through these gyrations because the Yamaha doesn’t have any capability for external speakers but I’d rather not replace something I paid $1500 for a couple of years ago.  Another benefit is the ability to expand my existing Sonos S1 system into that room via Airplay.  I would run the Port’s optical output to the soundbar and just select that as the source when listening to music.