Updates to the Desktop Controller Coming Soon


Userlevel 7
Badge +25
  • Community Manager
  • 10661 replies
The Sonos desktop controller for Mac and PC is getting a long-requested visual update soon. As a preview you can see the new style below, it's a bit closer to the look and feel of the Sonos app for iOS and Android. We'll release this new version at the same time as a software update sometime in the next few weeks. We're also making a few updates to what you can and can't do in the desktop controller which you can read about below.



When it was first introduced in 2005, the desktop controller was a fully-featured Sonos controller that could be used for free alongside our dedicated hardware controller. Now that our free apps on smartphones and tablets make up the vast majority of how people interact with Sonos, the desktop controller doesn't fill that same role anymore.

Our research shows that most Sonos owners reach for their mobile devices when it comes time to set up or control their systems, and so we've decided to focus on building interfaces where our owners go to look for them, which means our app for iOS or Android. 

We plan to continue supporting the desktop controller for the foreseeable future as a convenient way to control day-to-day functions while you're actively using a computer. There are also some functions that can only be done via the desktop controller, so it will continue to be able to set up a music share for local libraries and to manually add radio stations.

Along with the visual updates shown above, the next version will remove several under-utilized menus from the desktop controller, most of which pertain to changing settings. Here's the full list of exactly what will be removed from the desktop controller:
  • Setting up or transferring a system
  • Adding a player to existing system
  • The ability to bond/unbond players (surrounds, stereo pairs, or adding a Sub).
  • Registering players
  • TV setup for Beam, Playbase, and Playbar
  • Enabling parental controls
  • Network settings and management
  • Line-in settings
  • Renaming a Room
  • Opting in or out of a beta program
  • Resetting your Sonos account password (you can still do so on a computer via sonos.com)

Removing these under-used settings will allow us to focus on improving the mobile experience on the Sonos app, while also retaining the desktop controller as a way to control playback, grouping, and other basic controls when you're at your computer. 

We're also exploring new and exciting ways to control Sonos, including our more recent smart home integrations, along with our open API and the Sonos Sound Platform. Now more than ever, developers and smart home integrators can build for Sonos as the sound platform for the home.

532 replies

For me, more incentive to stay locked into 9.1.
Kumar wrote:

For me, more incentive to stay locked into 9.1.



This will prevent me from even considering any future software updates as I don't currently have any newer mobile devices that would support the mobile app and no intention to buy any in the foreseeable future. I manage all of my stereo pairs, subs, line-in settings, room renaming, and local library management from the PC app. The pace of retiring old devices and functionality is accelerating!
Userlevel 5
Badge +17
So we can't choose skins, like the classic sonos blue circles. What is wrong with sonos having a colourful identity. All this black and white is sooooooooo boring..........
Something tells me that these first reactions were probably not exactly as expected.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
@Ryan, will the $50 dollar Amazon fire tablets, or other android based tablets, be able to fully control the Sonos settings. I believe it does now, but I haven't checked in a while.
Userlevel 7
Badge +25
melvimbe wrote:

@Ryan, will the $50 dollar Amazon fire tablets, or other android based tablets, be able to fully control the Sonos settings. I believe it does now, but I haven't checked in a while.


As long as they're not using old OS versions, they will continue to have full settings for Sonos systems in this release, including options that were never available on the Sonos desktop controller, like adding voice services. The minimum requirements for Sonos controllers are listed here. They may change slightly with the coming update, but options and settings for newer Fire Tablets won't be affected with this upcoming release.
I like the new Sonos desktop controller look. I’m not one for 'standing still', personally speaking, as I prefer to see 'progress' and 'change'. There will always be those, that prefer to have things remain stationary, but if everyone was like that, I really would find that boring and see that eventual outcome as heading for even more obsolescence.

It seems to make perfect sense to concentrate on the mobile controllers, where the majority of users have clearly gathered to manage their Sonos Systems. I have several computers and a laptop at home, but it’s rare I use the Sonos controller on those, particularly when I can quickly reach for a phone, or tablet and use that instead, plus I find it easier to move from room to room with mobile devices and there’s less of a wait for the device to boot, or resume from sleep etc.

I therefore have no issues with these newly announced changes and will say that 'I welcome them'.

Great to see Sonos moving forward and onward and staying ahead of the game. Long may Sonos continue to ignore the 'few' that try to 'pull on the reins', in an effort to try to make them standstill.

It makes complete sense to always move with the majority.
Love the new look. As someone that uses the desktop controller exclusively in the office (and as a software developer) I don't understand the need to remove functions that were present and working. "Removing these under-used settings will allow us to focus on improving the mobile experience on the Sonos app" makes no sense. How do you know what functions I use or don't use? And just because they are supposedly 'under-used,' why remove them from those that DO use them?

First rule of software development is never remove ANY functionality. This tells me Sonos' developer(s) really don't have any idea about what they are doing. I can understand hardware limitations and removal, but removing software functions that are present and solid makes zero sense at all, especially as they relate to the apps. If the apps can do it, the desktop software should also be able to do it. Failure to keep that cohesiveness dictates poor development skills/leadership on the part of the team.
Fully agree with what BCM says in the post above.
Userlevel 4
Badge +6
So, to paraphrase — you’re taking an old bit of software that still works but is a bit clunky, giving it a bit of a superficial facelift, and removing a whole ton of functionality to make it even more clunky, and calling it an ‘upgrade’?

Have I missed anything ?

Andrew
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
BCM wrote:


First rule of software development is never remove ANY functionality. This tells me Sonos' developer(s) really don't have any idea about what they are doing. I can understand hardware limitations and removal, but removing software functions that are present and solid makes zero sense at all, especially as they relate to the apps. If the apps can do it, the desktop software should also be able to do it. Failure to keep that cohesiveness dictates poor development skills/leadership on the part of the team.



I don't think these functions are as static as the appear to be on the front end. The best example would be 'adding a player to the existing system'. Obviously, the code behind that needs to be updated every time there's a new product on the market. So you could make the arguement that it makes sense to take it out now, rather then have it only work for older product or under certain circumstances. Some of the other functions, like 'renaming a room' do seem to be really rather static, but I don't know that for sure. There's also the thought to remove it just to be consistent with removing other like functions, or that they don't want to leave it in only have to remove it a year from now when it doesn't work anymore...sort of the 'fast band-aid pull/ plan.

My expereience with software development is probably different than yours, but I've found that it's always better to have 1 or 2 ways to accomplish the same function over 3 or 4, especially when options 3 & 4 are not used by many. That way, you're reducing your potential points of failure and have a more stable environment. So it's really hard for me to view this as poor development.
Userlevel 1
Badge
I'm glad that you guys want to update the look, but the removal of functionality is what gets me.
Would it be possible to just keep a "show old layout" on there? The people who would use the old interface would probably be fine with having to do an extra step or two even if the interface isn't "consistent" as long as the option is at least there.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
andrewmk wrote:

So, to paraphrase — you’re taking an old bit of software that still works but is a bit clunky, giving it a bit of a superficial facelift, and removing a whole ton of functionality to make it even more clunky, and calling it an ‘upgrade’?

Have I missed anything ?

Andrew



Well, perhaps it's symantics to some, but Ryan actually refers to it as an update, 4 times. You're the first person in this thread to call it an upgrade.

And I'm not sure how removing functionality will make it even more clunky. Usually, removing features will make a product more streamlined/stable, but I suppose we'd have to see how the application runs when it's released to tell for sure.
How about adding universal search? This useful feature is found on IOS (and presumably Android) controllers. The desktop controller currently searches only one music source at a time. To search all music sources requires manually changing the source multiple times through a drop-down menu.
Userlevel 2
Badge +1
+1 Universal search would be great on desktop.

I'm kind of conflicted about this. Upgraded Gui looks good. But Anyone else concerned about feature removal? Personally would prefer to have same features on every platform+ more added features added, not taken away. In a few years how many new things will it miss? Do it right, or not at all. This half assed stuff is not a good look for the brand.

Also how about bringing the desktop only features to mobile? Adding radio stream via mobile is a missing feature.
Userlevel 1
Badge
"long requested " update ....ok but who asked for all these option to be removed :D ?Now ,instead to do things on my 43' monitor i have to stare at 5' android display .Very exciting ...
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
As someone who does use the desktop version I have no problem with updating the GUI but removing functionality that does not sound like a good update to me. I hear what Melvimbe says and would agree within an application but I would suggest that cross platform versions should provide the same functionality where possible. After the recent consign to the bin announcements this does have the feeling of being a bit in the same vein. And then there is the issue of having a fallback controller for occasions where one controller does not function properly or is even unusable either because of hardware or software problems for example https://en.community.sonos.com/controllers-software-228995/battery-drain-on-android-app-9-0-1-6810183/index2.html
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Ralpfocus wrote:

I hear what Melvimbe says and would agree within an application but I would suggest that cross platform versions should provide the same functionality where possible.



I don't disagree with that in principle. Ideally, the actual functionality should be utilizing shared code, regardless of what platform your using. That also would eliminate points of failure. I can't say that that is an option here though, as I don't know how much cod can be shared across the 3 different platforms. Theoretically, the functional could be on the units themselves, but as we know, resources are limited on the older models. Then there having functions performed through the cloud, but that doesn't seem like a good option for many reasons.

If it were up to me, I'd actually push for an administrative version of the app, with setup/configurations, and a separate operations version. And the operations version would be across platforms, and useful for any user in the household that doesn't need to be messing with configurations...like my kids. Of course, you could do this in one app, as long as you have setups password protected. I've similar setup with things like wireless cameras and doorbells, where the owner can configuration and grant access to others to view camera images only.
upstatemike wrote:

I manage all of my stereo pairs, subs, line-in settings, room renaming, and local library management from the PC app. The pace of retiring old devices and functionality is accelerating!


As do I, from my Mac. More than half of my listening is at my desk, using the Mac controller. I could have, in time, learnt to use the new look with some irritation, but losing essential functionality is more incentive to stay on 9.1. If I needed any to preserve my Dock, that is.
I can also see that by staying on 9.1 my ability to offer advice here will also start getting obsolete, so it is probably time to move on from this community.
Kumar wrote:

upstatemike wrote:

I manage all of my stereo pairs, subs, line-in settings, room renaming, and local library management from the PC app. The pace of retiring old devices and functionality is accelerating!


As do I, from my Mac. More than half of my listening is at my desk, using the Mac controller. I could have, in time, learnt to use the new look with some irritation, but losing essential functionality is more incentive to stay on 9.1. If I needed any to preserve my Dock, that is.
I can also see that by staying on 9.1 my ability to offer advice here will also start getting obsolete, so it is probably time to move on from this community.



Don't leave yet... we still have the Play5 Gen1, Bridge, and UPNP support to discontinue this year. You'll miss all the fun!
Lol.
Dialling down on use of Sonos has been a months long process actually, starting with Sonos dragging their feet on Alexa integration for India from last October. The Dot, and now the Spot, wired to the line in of the Connect Amp works perfectly at my desk, and sees more use of Amazon Music than NAS/Apple Music via Sonos, and the new Alexa cast feature is a bonus to what works already quite slickly. Then there was the Dock event, and now this. Sonos keeps giving me reasons to accede to the Amazon come hither approaches:-).
Userlevel 3
Badge +12
Well, this is an odd reversal - most apps with mobile and desktop version have more capabilities in the desktop version. Not a fan of emoting features.
Userlevel 4
Badge +13
More strange removals from Sonos.
I find the removal of the 'network settings and management' options from the desktop version particularly strange as I've always found such things and naming conventions etc. more consistent and easier from that controller.
It's strange to call it a long requested change as the few such requests I've seen are usually met with 'No, leave it well alone!' responses..
Userlevel 3
Badge +9
Quote: 'The Sonos desktop controller for Mac and PC is getting a long-requested visual update soon. As a preview you can see the new style below, it's a bit closer to the look and feel of the Sonos app for iOS and Android. We'll release this new version at the same time as a software update sometime in the next few weeks. We're also making a few updates to what you can and can't do in the desktop controller which you can read about below.'

Eh? Looks the same apart from a colour change! The changes to functionality are not welcome. I hate having to drag out a tiny screen to do configuration and network tasks. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
castalla wrote:

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


Exactly. But my experience suggests that Sonos pays no heed to such requests in these threads. All we get is notice of what is coming, but we should be thankful for that because this does allow some of us to leave the train before it heads into a future we don't quite like.

Reply

    • :D
    • :?
    • :cool:
    • :S
    • :(
    • :@
    • :$
    • :8
    • :)
    • :P
    • ;)

    Cookie policy

    We use cookies to enhance and personalize your experience. If you accept you agree to our full cookie policy. Learn more about our cookies.

    Accept cookies Cookie settings