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SAVE THE CR100


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Constantin wrote:

stevecomp3 wrote:

I believe Sonos has gone totally deaf on this topic, my thought of them allowing us to have a Legacy version OR create a proper replacement for the aging CR100. I have no interest in trying to use a touch screen all-in-devices, I want a purpose built and yes, that thumb-wheel worked great.



The trouble with the CR100 is that the thumbwheel does not facilitate searching among hundreds of choices. Most users I know worked around its simple UI limitation by creating song lists in iTunes that corresponded to various genre's, moods, whatever and then using the CR100 to scroll among a much smaller list of choices. All that setup takes time; time that people who owned content were typically happy to invest to get their content delivered the way they wanted.

In this new streaming world, our players are becoming part of a much larger in-home ecosystem where being at the beck and call of fickle users is paramount. It's not just about being able to play music well... the real aim of these on-demand spoken-command system is to monetize the user base. Unlike our handy CR100's, these systems cannot function without an internet connection (no on-board voice recognition) and allowing us to listen to our own music is not the end goal because there is not much money in that.

No, where silicon valley wants us to go is streaming services: Subscriptions, referral fees, market research, selling usage habits, etc.in turn allow the creating of an ongoing income stream does not end with the sale of the equipment. Every firmware update may allow Sonos to test new partners, new services, or discontinue existing ones (see Amazon a year ago).

Additionally, re-programming Sonos players with a CR100 is painful compared to the on-screen keyboard of the CR200 or the iOS/Android Apps. No such thing as impulse purchases with a CR100. :D

Sadly, Sonos may be curtailing future sales among their most faithful customers with this move. No one that likes to use a CR100 will want to add new components that would necessitate a firmware upgrade for the whole system; at least until their CR100's die of old age. One test would be reviewing listings on resale sites like ebay. If there is a resale premium for 8.4 era players, then the market will have spoken.

I'm still holding out hope that Sonos will reverse its past upgrade policy and allow us to continue to use our equipment until it actually dies of old age; not because of a software revision renders it unusable with other components in our system.



Constantin,
the points I made back in the first 25+ pages of this topic is that Sonos sold a product with a defined purpose, and most of us bought that item for that purpose.
I will agree, you need to load the PC control to setup your own playlists and properly work with your own music files on your network share. I would not even try to use the CR100 or phone for that.
but in my world, I do not use much streaming, just XM or Internet Radio.
I have zero interest in voice control, and do not agree with taking a device made for a specific purpose and killing it off to provide features I have no need for. What is the advantage for me on this?
No company I know has done this without allowing for an official Opt-out allowing me to keep what I have knowing I will not get the "new features" I did not make my purchase decision on.

give me a legacy option, or make a SonosV2 version going forward.
OR sell me a new control that will satisfy the needs, without stuffing a load of crap on me I did not originally desire.

crazy how this topic is still bubbling up, and I do not think Sonos has heard the end of this, If I was in tech support for Sonos, come April I think I would call in with the Flu.
Just received the CR100 I bought on ebay for a tenner the other day and wanted to share my thoughts on it. The controller is meant to be used in the bathroom where touchscreens naturally have their limitations (think about using it in the shower or tub...soap, water, the lot).

So I'm playing around with this fossil for an hour or so and it's truely staggering how essential hardware button control becomes once you've got used to it (keep in mind I've only been using the smartphone app so far).
I experienced the same when I drove a Tesla as a rental car recently and realized my struggle with the car's touchscreen heating controls. It looks brilliant and all, but seriously lacks haptic feedback and you really cannot control it properly without looking at the screen. A simple knob is so much more ... tactile.:8

The CR100 is (optically) pretty worn out after years of (I suppose) heavy use but still works like a charm. I'm planning to sandblast and spray the front plate in a nice color to give it something of a fresher look. The device is running firmware version 4.3.2 from 2013 which seems to be the latest available update for the CR100. It immediately connects to the closest zone player in range (I forced this by powering off the currently connected player and watched the controller connect to the next one in range). Works exactly as expected without any noticeable lag. Easy to use graphical user interface, obviously someone wrapped their head around the scrollwheel control back then. Sturdy and waterproof product. Bit heavy compared to nowaday's handheld devices but then again it's a design of 13 years.


TL;DR: got myself a used CR100, love the tactile controls and UI (yeah, call me oldschool), it's pretty clever design after all. Can see now why this thread is closing in on 1.300 posts. The entire thing must be a nightmare for those poor chaps working in techsupport...
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Constantin wrote:

stevecomp3 wrote:

I believe Sonos has gone totally deaf on this topic
...
It's not just about being able to play music well... the real aim of these on-demand spoken-command system is to monetize the user base... allowing us to listen to our own music is not the end goal because there is not much money in that.

No, where silicon valley wants us to go is streaming services: Subscriptions, referral fees, market research, selling usage habits, etc.in turn allow the creating of an ongoing income stream does not end with the sale of the equipment. Every firmware update may allow Sonos to test new partners, new services, or discontinue existing ones (see Amazon a year ago).
...
Sadly, Sonos may be curtailing future sales among their most faithful customers with this move
....



Some interesting points you suggest, that the motivation of Sonos is based on a desire to further "monetize the user base", if this really is the case I can't help but feel they have been living in the land of over inflated silicon valley valuations and they will kill a perfectly viable business by trying to squeeze customers until they respond by telling them to politely stick there products where the sun does not shine.
A very sad suggesting if this is there intent, are you basing this on anything more than speculation?

By all means offer new services to users and take a commission if people think they are a sufficiently valuable addition to the base product (which have been bought and paid for in full) but to actively undercut the base product by forced redundancy seems ridiculously short sighted.

Anyone for SONOS willing to offer an informed explanation or has "Sonos gone totally deaf" as suggested?
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AnotherMusicListener wrote:

Some interesting points you suggest, that the motivation of Sonos is based on a desire to further "monetize the user base", ... A very sad suggesting if this is there intent, are you basing this on anything more than speculation?



IIRC, Sonos has repeatedly stated that they currently do no benefit monetarily from streams, just as users currently have the option to opt-out of having their players send telemetry back to the mothership. However, changes to either policy are only a firmware update away, and we all know the many reasons that such an upgrade may become quasi-mandatory: adding a new component, a iOS App update, etc.

Put another way: Why can't we choose what firmware to run on our Sonos equipment? Independent controller apps like SonoPhone and SonoPad work fine across a wide range of Sonos firmware revisions so the SOAP commands, etc. must be documented well enough such that an in-house App should be able to handle them just fine also.

I am incredibly disappointed that Sonos is going down this path of obsoleting equipment that we've paid for and which still works beautifully as intended. The tired equipment excuse doesn't hold water for me, as does the battery excuse. It's a pity that the market segment leader is eliminating one of the key features that differentiated it from the competition: a rugged hardware controller that performed it's limited set of tasks very well.
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I’m not on twitter but I can see their page. Has anyone raised this with Sonos in a more public environment. I think comments here are playing into their hands. We are whingeing in their closed room - public comments are more likely to get sonos to remove their heads from their arses.
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I still have my CR100 from my first Sonos kit (remember those?) but I haven't used it for a while now. Not because I don't like it, but because I had to ditch Sonosnet. Lots of WiFi networks around me, and also it turns out that if you're in the UK and have a Sky Q box, it will become your STP master and not work that well with Sonos, so I bit the bullet and went for a Mesh Wifi to help sort out signal issues, and also some proper switches that I can configure to act as the STP master and also configure to be compatible with the ageing Sonos STP implementation...

The only time I've used the CR100 recently was in the summer before the mesh WiFi as the Sonosnet via a Boost could reach into the garden unlike the main WiFi, which meant the only way to control it in the garden was with the CR100...

I do think it's a shame that Sonos are effectively bricking them, and the excuses seem a bit lame for doing it.

However, if it means that by ditching the CR100 they can update the STP implementation to one that is a) more modern and uses the bigger priority values thereby behaving better with other newer devices using STP, and b) provide a way to configure the STP priority so you can make Sonos your STP master if you so wish, then that might just be a good technical reason to retire the controller... but I'm sure that's just extreme wishful thinking on my part.

I do need another Connect so may take advantage of the rebate, but if anyone wants a lightly used UK CR100 in excellent condition, with charger... ;)
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Sign the petition and contact Sonos customer support and let them know what you think.

310 signatures and growing :D

https://www.change.org/p/patrick-spence-ceo-sonos-stop-sonos-from-disabling-the-cr100-controller-from-their-system?recruiter=121008685&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=psf_combo_share_initial.undefined
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melvimbe wrote:

TJRL wrote:


Well if I was one of his guests I would be pretty upset if I had to install another App on my smartphone or tablet just to use the TV let alone the HiFi!! I expect the TV to have a remote and the HiFi to either have controls on the front or a remote like the TV.



What does the CR100 have to do with the tv remote? if the setup did have a playbar or playbase, I would expect that it's probably programmed into the tv remote.

TJRL wrote:


Now if his guests do not own a smartphone or tablet (and why should they?) they will be really annoyed!!



Then provide a tablet for them. This argument somewhat reminds me of hotels that used (still do?) provide a clock radio with an ipod/iPhone docking station for use with your apple product. Being that I didn't have an iPhone, I couldn't use it, but I never felt cheated by the hotel. I understand there a differences in expectations between a hotel and an B&B. It's not meant to be a perfect analogy.

Personally, I have couple trips planned this Spring, and I have no idea what sort of sound system will at wherever I stay. I plan on bringing my phone and a portable Bluetooth speaker. Problem solved.



OK, in simple terms:-

Q "What does the CR100 have to do with the tv remote?"
A If I rented a flat for a holiday and I had to download an app onto my smartphone to use the TV I would not be all that happy. The same argument applies to using the HiFi system in the flat. So the point I was trying to make is that, I regard the CR100 as the same as a TV remove (but for the stereo rather than the TV), as I am sure the OP's customers would.

"Q" "Then provide a tablet for them."
A I think the OP covered this point, if he provided a tablet it would be a more attractive target for theft as tablets are universally useful unlike the CR100 (or a TV's remote to thrash that thyme!).

"Q Personally, I have couple trips planned this Spring, and I have no idea what sort of sound system will at wherever I stay. I plan on bringing my phone and a portable Bluetooth speaker. Problem solved."

A I guest it depends on the price paid and the facilities expected. If I paid top price for a fully featured holiday rental I would not expect to have to bring my own music system (or controller for the music system). In addition in my post I was using the assumption that the occupant my not own a smartphone or tablet (and why should they?).

Long post short:-

We purchased a music system with a remote controller at a time when there was no "App" alternative. Now Sonos are taking our remotes away and requiring us to replace them with an App running on some generic hardware platform that might also become unsupported at any time.

Most people would be unhappy if they purchased a TV with a remote controller and after a few years the manufacturer disabled that remote and required the owner to start using an App that was not as good as the disabled remote.

Melvimbe - If you are happy with things as they are, then I am happy for you. Just try to understand the OP's point of view even if you would not be upset if you were in his position.
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alandaw7 wrote:

chicks wrote:

alandaw7 wrote:


I think it's very short-sighted of Sonos to instigate a programme of destruction of their older equipment to try and force sales of newer stuff.



Which newer stuff are they forcing you to buy? Their controller software is free.



Just give it time and miraculously they will probably introduce a brand sparkly new controller for around £300, due to "popular demand for a dedicated Sonos controller". Most App software is free these days, but the hardware has to be bought, as I have already done from Sonos at huge expense, well over £1000 and that is my issue. They will be effectively confiscating equipment that I have already bought from them in good faith, that is simply disgraceful business practice.



Whilst I sort of agree, I would regard purchasing 7 CR300s at say £300 each as a great update for our Sonos system.

Of course I have assumed that any such CR300 would be hard button not touch screen based and fully functional, and these may not be valid assumptions! - Sonos please, please introduce a brand new sparkly controller (with hard buttons like the CR100!).
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Ian_S wrote:

However, if it means that by ditching the CR100 they can update the STP implementation to one that is a) more modern and uses the bigger priority values thereby behaving better with other newer devices using STP, and b) provide a way to configure the STP priority so you can make Sonos your STP master if you so wish, then that might just be a good technical reason to retire the controller... but I'm sure that's just extreme wishful thinking on my part.



These kinds of technical details in existing implementations no longer seem to matter to management. I have no doubt that the old engineering team would have fixed this issue (along with others like implementing SMB2+) years ago. Engineering resources currently seem to be directed mostly towards the streaming "future". That's where the big firmware advances are being made. Just review the release notes by firmware revision:

Sonos 8.4: Sonos App Inbox, Alexa integration in Canada, Updated TuneIn branding, Message to CR100s
Sonos 8.3: Player UI redesign, Trueplay tuning, minor security improvements (unspecified)
Sonos 8.2: Player alarms improvements
Sonos 8.1: Support for Sonos One
Sonos 8.0: Player UI redesign, Alexa integration, more internet radio stations.
Sonos 7.4: Privacy Notice change, unspecified bugs squashed
Sonos 7.3: App tips
Sonos 7.2: Support for playbase, child lock
Sonos 7.1: Add music services, UI changes, Talkback on Android
Sonos 7.0: Spotify integration that works in conjunction with registering an account at Sonos (i.e. a tie-in)
etc.

The big firmware revisions center around new streaming services, commercial tie-ins, and the like. The minor revisions mostly center on App UI changes or support for new Sonos components.

Notably absent in the above is any improvement to the CR100, CR200. Thus, while Sonos continues to write new firmwares to keep even their oldest players current, the CR100, CR200 controllers do not get the same resources. This single-minded focus suggests that maximizing the number of usable players in the Sonos ecosystem is part of a corporate strategy. They are keeping their options open and maintain their relevance in the market place by maximizing their installed base market share.

However, past hardware controllers appear not part of that future because they do not facilitate the streaming service offerings the way that the iOS/Android apps do. You can't talk to either a CR100 or CR200. They can't order you things easily. Etc.

I'm disappointed but having isolated my Sonos system from Sonos will hopefully allow me to enjoy my music and internet radio for at least a few more years. Perhaps Sonos will have an epiphany regarding the value of not ticking off loyal customers come April?
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@Ryan S - Community Manager

1. Straight question - Is the decision to kill the CR100 going to be reversed in the light of the well-argued points from your most loyal customers, in this thread?

2. What is the sentiment among senior management when this community topic is mentioned?

3. And (off topic), WILL you update to SMB V2 or 3 for music library support? I have to keep my Synology NAS at SMB V1 to be able to stream my music to Sonos, but my Windows 10 devices refuse to let me connect to my own NAS, because they know that SMB V1 cannot be trusted. That suggests a shoddy attitude to IT security which should worry the heck out of everyone. I understand that SMB guru Jeremy Allison has even offered to help you do it.

(Count me an an independent observer since I do not have a CR100 (or 200). I may be a loyal customer of a mere 5 years tenure, but I have watched this thread grow with interest. If the decision was reversed, I think I would buy a CR100 from eBay, so well have its merits been emphasised here. The immediacy of hardware buttons is quite compelling).
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It is important to add my voice to those who are equally discontent and mutinous. We are the loyal customers who have adopted the CR100 as an integral hub of our home Sonos systems. We, as a legacy collective of CR100 owners, have been Sonos supporters since the very beginning. We are quite aware and accepting of whatever limitations of functionality you foresee for the future of the CR100 as long as there is a future. For myself, it is a beside alarm clock, a volume moderator, room dropping - song skipper/repeater but most of all – it is the BOSS – governing over the finicky, freezing, lagging IOS apps which are continuously unreliable and hogging valuable iPhone operating time. Your "battery warning" scare tactic is hogwash. As a self-confessed techno-tard, I have skillfully changed the CR100 battery with the aid of YouTube instructions

It is NOT disgraceful to change your company position on this issue. We accept that the CR100 may not operate future Sonos `bell and whistle` features, just so long as it is permitted to function. As you have already read in hundreds of posts by loyal owners, it is still a vital part of our overall Sonos experience, no matter how limited you may perceive that to be. It provides us simple and stable functionality

It IS disgraceful to turn your back on the outrage expressed in this forum. We oppose the unlawful execution of the CR100. Keep your guilty 100 bucks. We will never forget this heavy handed treatment of loyal invested customers. Our Sonos experience includes the use of the CR100 as an operational controller.

WE URGE YOU TO RE-CONSIDER THE FATE OF THE CR100 ………………
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Will be moving systems wrote:

I’m not on twitter but I can see their page. Has anyone raised this with Sonos in a more public environment. I think comments here are playing into their hands. We are whingeing in their closed room - public comments are more likely to get sonos to remove their heads from their arses.

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We must push this discussion to their public Twitter accounts: @Sonos & @SonosSupport. I have posted a very legitimate question regarding this issue.Try and promote #savetheCR100 .....
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[quote=kassey22000]Forced obsolescence:
Companies with long-term planning/outlook don’t insult/diminish their loyal customer base like Sonos is doing now. This is the typical, cut-it-to-the-bone-and-sell-it mentality I’ve witnessed with years in the tech industry.

Kassey's post is giving me thoughts of much bigger play at the hands of Sonos. I have only had exemplary service from their multi-tiered service/tech department. Yet this behavior by the big decision makers might echo Kassey's valid opinion
[quote=Chig]
kassey22000 wrote:

Forced obsolescence:
Companies with long-term planning/outlook don’t insult/diminish their loyal customer base like Sonos is doing now. This is the typical, cut-it-to-the-bone-and-sell-it mentality I’ve witnessed with years in the tech industry.

Kassey's post is giving me thoughts of much bigger play at the hands of Sonos. I have only had exemplary service from their multi-tiered service/tech department. Yet this behavior by the big decision makers might echo Kassey's valid opinion



But if this was a play to clean things up prior to selling the company wouldn't more items get cut than just the CR100? Or are you suggesting this is just the first step in a bigger plan with more to come?
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Chig wrote:

We must push this discussion to their public Twitter accounts: @Sonos & @SonosSupport. I have posted a very legitimate question regarding this issue.Try and promote #savetheCR100 .....



I think you're right - @sonossupport was quick to respond to my query, but primarily wanted to get it off Twitter and onto email as soon as possible.

T
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Forums like this are very popular with OEMs for the very reasons you state - they control the conversation and the visibility of issues can be controlled to some extent. Once stuff spills out into other forums (reddit, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) it is out of their control and visibility cannot be managed. Unfortunately, I don't do Twitter, Facebook, and so on.

What I can do is research my alternatives to Sonos. This might be a good exercise for all of us who are deeply unhappy with the current management direction. Every Sonos player that goes offline is another reduction in the market share that I believe management is after. Management doesn't seem to get that the hardware controllers we love are a key differentiation vs. the competition. Once those controllers are gone, switching costs are reduced; ditto for customer goodwill.

Granted, the strong secondary market on eBay will likely mean that the hardware we early adopters cast off will not go unused. But each eBay transaction potentially eats into new unit sales. The strong eBay market also further reduces our switching costs. Given that my Sonos ecosystem is pretty plain vanilla and only uses standard players (i.e. ZP80, ZP100, and the like) the switch would be particularly easy for me. Again, this is not what I want to do... I would rather just enjoy using my existing system in peace.
[quote=Constantin]
Ian_S wrote:

Sonos 8.4: Sonos App Inbox, Alexa integration in Canada, Updated TuneIn branding, Message to CR100s
Sonos 8.3: Player UI redesign, Trueplay tuning, minor security improvements (unspecified)
Sonos 8.2: Player alarms improvements
Sonos 8.1: Support for Sonos One
Sonos 8.0: Player UI redesign, Alexa integration, more internet radio stations.
Sonos 7.4: Privacy Notice change, unspecified bugs squashed
Sonos 7.3: App tips


What is the text of the Message to CR100s?
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Amgwanagitbuti wrote:

What is the text of the Message to CR100s?


That the next firmware revision will lock them out. A later message claimed that my tired old CR100 needs a rest and should be disposed of safely.

FWIW, I'd like to be able to decide when hardware doesn't fulfill my needs anymore. But that would mean giving me a choice. Protecting the system I paid for from being forced into obsolescence by a software "update" is pretty unreal. I never thought I'd have to set up my firewall to specifically prevent a OEM from being able to effectively kill a perfectly functioning product.

I hope Sonos management will change their collective minds come April. I suspect that the infrastructure underpinnings to support the CR100 (SonosNet, SOAP, etc.) will still be in the firmware (how else would the CR200 continue to function?) but that the support for CR100's will simply be cut off. So, going back should be easy. Regaining customer trust after an episode like this will be a lot harder.
Thanks Constantin. My CR200 is barely functional because of a failing touch screen so I just purchased two CR100 units off eBay because I prefer using a dedicated controller. I hope to get them soon, upgrade both to 8.4, then harden my network against Sonos updates.
BTW, does anybody know what happens after version 8.5 (or whatever) is released and I want to add a player that's on 8.4 which matches my other components? Will the updater force me to migrate to 8.5 in order to add the new player? or will it allow the new component to operate on 8.4? I know an upgrade to the latest version is mandatory if there's a version mismatch between existing components and the new player, but what happens if they all share the same firmware version (albeit not the latest)?
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Constantin wrote:

Forums like this are very popular with OEMs for the very reasons you state - they control the conversation and the visibility of issues can be controlled to some extent. Once stuff spills out into other forums (reddit, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) it is out of their control and visibility cannot be managed. Unfortunately, I don't do Twitter, Facebook, and so on.

What I can do is research my alternatives to Sonos. This might be a good exercise for all of us who are deeply unhappy with the current management direction. Every Sonos player that goes offline is another reduction in the market share that I believe management is after. Management doesn't seem to get that the hardware controllers we love are a key differentiation vs. the competition. Once those controllers are gone, switching costs are reduced; ditto for customer goodwill.

Granted, the strong secondary market on eBay will likely mean that the hardware we early adopters cast off will not go unused. But each eBay transaction potentially eats into new unit sales. The strong eBay market also further reduces our switching costs. Given that my Sonos ecosystem is pretty plain vanilla and only uses standard players (i.e. ZP80, ZP100, and the like) the switch would be particularly easy for me. Again, this is not what I want to do... I would rather just enjoy using my existing system in peace.



+1

I think that if forced to swap out our Sonos system we will end up with a hard wired one as it seems all the Sonos competitor offerings also use an App rather than a dedicated controller. Whereas the hardwired systems all appear to have wall mounted control panels as well as remote controllers.

This used to be the Sonos USP against its wireless rivals whilst easy of installation was the Sonos USP against wired systems. But if we cannot control Sonos easily then we will bite the bullet and go wired and get the additional benefit of a 100% stable system (Sonos is very good but does suffer the odd drop out now and again) and perhaps go for video distribution at the same time after all you only want to cut up your walls once!

This will be a very significant investment and the second time in 15 years we will be buying a completely new whole house HiFi system. To say we are not pleased would an understatement, but the Sonos App is just not suitable for our usage pattern.

So has anyone done the research or have a suggestion for a Sonos replacement system?
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+1 vote for keeping a hardware controller alive. Kill of the trusty CR100 if you must, I admit its bulky, but still works fine (not sure you could say the same about a touchscreen smartphone or table after a couple of years of heavy use). Give us an alternative!
1500 replies. Hopefully enough for somebody to take notice.

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