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Windows 10 Controller


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Do you have plans to ship a Windows 10 Store app which can be used from multiple Windows devices (PC, Phone, Xbox) to control the Sonos experience?

We are a Windows household and the desktop controller that exists for PC today is heavy and not very touch friendly. The third party Windows Phone app, Phonos, is fills a void, but not nearly as feature rich as the Android or iOS app. This has been requested for several years (https://en.community.sonos.com/controllers-software-228995/support-windows-8-rt-for-surface-tablet-and-windows-phone-8-for-mobile-devices-4593709) and the product management team does not address this gap beyond a blanket we have no news statement. I understand that choices have to be made. If you do not plan to address this in the net 12 months then can you at least make your API public with your apps being first and best examples of how to use that API so others can fill the gap for you?

Instead of a lot of "+1" and "me too" threads please show your support by voting on the poll below so we can get a count of the number of people who are interested in a Windows 10 app.
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Best answer by Kenneth R 15 April 2016, 19:05

Some of you have been asking about a native Windows Phone controller app for Sonos, and we’ve been slow to provide a clear answer. We’re sorry about that. The truth of the matter is that up until now we’ve been unclear internally on this very question. In fact, it’s been the source of many passionate debates because we recognize that some Sonos owners are also Windows Phone users.

In the end, however, we’ve made a decision that Sonos is not going to build a Windows Phone 8 app nor are we planning to build a Windows 10 “universal” app. We’ll of course continue to support the Windows desktop controller. We’re big fans of the work Microsoft is doing across many areas, including mobile, voice control, AI, VR and of course the Groove music service, available on Sonos.

We know this is super frustrating for Windows Phone owners anxious for more native apps on the platform, but like other companies we've had to place our bets. Our focus right now is on Voice and Paid Streaming Services, and we’re exploring quite a few innovative ways to experience and control your music – on your device and off.

We’ll be sure to keep this group informed of our progress.

Thanks,
Kenneth
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Would you use a Windows 10 Sonos controller app?


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FWIW I would have solved this in a different way, by defining the wizard screens themselves cross-platform and with a thin platform-specific layer that built the native layouts at runtime, so that changes would not require new work on every platform.


Absolutely. The whole point of a "cross platform" solution is to allow you to essentially develop the app once, and build multiple distributions/binaries for each platform from the same codebase (with minimal platform-specific development). Which would allow for a unified experience across all desktop/mobile/tablet platforms. It's disappointing that Sonos have clearly not taken this approach to their clients even with the radical v7/8/9.2 UI redesigns.
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My guess is they bet on native apps years ago, and didn't tackle the technical debt by moving to a cross-platform solution.

Not really. The underlying code is cross-platform C/C++, but the Wizard framework that displays and runs all the screens involving Setup and Config has to be uniquely implemented on every platform. When we were working on Phish (the Windows Phone controller) there were I think 96 unique screens that needed coding (in Silveright in that case). Much as I hate their decision to cut the Desktop controller features, it does reduce the workload on every new screen by 50% (two platforms instead of four).

FWIW I would have solved this in a different way, by defining the wizard screens themselves cross-platform and with a thin platform-specific layer that built the native layouts at runtime, so that changes would not require new work on every platform.
All Sonos settings are housed on the Sonos units, there are no settings local to the apps. Whatever the reason to remove the settings functions on the PC/Mac, it has nothing to do with where those settings are managed.
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You should, at the very least, be able to add a friggin speaker to your system with your PC!

Yes, you should. Sonos should be a fairly unified experience across all supported devices (with responsive design approaches to handle different screen sizes etc). It's not. My guess is they bet on native apps years ago, and didn't tackle the technical debt by moving to a cross-platform solution. I suspect that the nature of the legacy codebase, and any inability of the Sonos ecosystem to offload all the work (eg. settings management) to the Sonos units rather than controllers, is what's left us with Sonos having differently-capable apps for different devices (based on those user metrics).
You should, at the very least, be able to add a friggin speaker to your system with your PC!
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We live in a world where people work across multiple devices. I feel that this decision ignores that truth.


I'd love to believe this, because I use multiple devices - typically I control Sonos with whatever is closest, whether that's iPad in the living room or laptop in the office. But I'm also sure there are loads of people who have bought into the "I do everything with my phone and it is always with me" approach. I'm also pretty sure that the options were not great when I got into Sonos almost a decade ago, and it was just a given that you'd have to pay extra for some kind of dedicated controller (which these days means a cheap tablet or iPod or old phone).

Ultimately, Sonos will have the usage statistics to determine which controllers are worth investing in. Software is not easy or cheap to develop, and for a company currently putting significant effort into voice control, desktop development might sadly be low on the priority list...
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While I appreciate the sentiment, I think you grossly underestimate the work involved in the Sonos app vs the Netflix app. The Netflix app is an order of magnitude simpler(*): it just has to play video (usually a standard platform feature) and provide a simple UI on top of that. It also doesn't have to be updated simultaneously across all platforms when the hardware gets new features or when a new Netflix device is released.

The Desktop app (PC and Mac) simply has too few users compared to the mobile apps to make it worth a rewrite. I seriously doubt it would ever be retired, the Mac version is likely more at risk of that (especially if Macs can one day run iOS apps).

Third parties like me like to fill in the gaps left by 1st parties like Sonos, but we can't possibly include every feature the official apps have. (Well maybe if I was retired or something I could).

(*) I have worked in the Sonos codebase and my day job includes video playback on the Xbox.
The lack of a Windows 10 UWP is very disappointing to me. I honestly believe that Sonos needs to consider sunsetting the current Windows application and transition to a Windows 10 UWP. That's the direction the OS is going.

Given that I run Windows on all of my devices, the lack of a Windows 10 UWP shows a lack of commitment to Windows user by Sonos and that keeps me from expanding my use of Sonos products beyond what I already have. The current Windows app feels like it was built in the early 2000's. I don't have a lot of confidence that Sonos will keep supporting the OS.

The other side of this is that it ignores what I call the Netflix/Dominos trend. Netflix and Domino's tend to release an app for every single platform out there. Why? Because they want to be where every potential customer is at and want to make sure that no one feels like a second class citizen. Take the user with a Surface device. They have to use the clunky Windows app that's not very good with touch. They might have an iPhone or Android device, but if the Surface is what they have in hand, that's what they want to use. So they either have to go get their phone (or charge it if that's an issue at the moment) or use an app that's not very good with touch.

I would encourage Sonos to take a similar approach to Netflix and Domino's. Put an app on everything. Let people adjust the volume using their Apple Watch or Fitbit. Put out a modern app on Windows 10. Integrate with Alexa, Siri, and Cortana. Be everywhere.

We live in a world where people work across multiple devices. I feel that this decision ignores that truth.
Thanks controlav, I will give it a try. But this is a pity that there is no more effort from Sonos to maintain a descent controller for desktops
You would not get into trouble if you simply PM'd people instead of constantly mentioning it in your posts, but that would mean less Spam of your 3rd party app in the public forum, right?
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i recommend mine, of course, but I get into trouble if I even name it. But you did 🙂
Which one do you recommend? Phonos do not seem to be very active anymore.
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There are many choices of UWP Sonos apps in the Windows Store. They are designed for touch and many run on the Xbox and Hololens too. Try them.

It is clear that the two official Sonos desktop controllers are in legacy mode for Sonos, all focus is on the two mobile controllers, I assume based on simple statistics.
I thing the issue is not to have a UWP windows 10 app. The issue is the current state of the windows controller. It is slow, ugly, not touch friendly and looks like a 20 years old app with too small characters and boutons (in my 12' Surface pro). Many desktop apps are nowadays touch friendly and smooth.
Indeed. When taken out of context.

Context or not, I'm quite sure Sonos knows 100 times more than either you or I about the needs and wants of the vast majority of their intended market. Stomping one's feet is not going to change that.
Indeed. When taken out of context.
Only fools don't change their minds. Let's hope someone who makes decisions listens to... their own customers.

What a silly statement. Am I a fool if I don't change my mind about the hazards of walking in front of an oncoming train? Similarly, why are Sonos fools if they don't change their mind about something they have researched and found not to have any justification compared to other implementations that have a greater impact on sales, such as voice control and/or direct streaming from 3rd party apps (both of which relegate the Sonos app, Windows based or not, to secondary status)?
Only fools don't change their minds. Let's hope someone who makes decisions listens to... their own customers.
Yesterday Microsoft announced Windows 10 S. They and other HW manufacturers will be releasing devices which run this operating system. A key difference from other version of Win 10 is that apps are locked to the Windows Store - you can only install apps in the store. So got a new Windows 10 S device and Sonos - what are your options given that Sonos have not put a controller app in the Store and you cannot use Sonos without a controller:

- upgrade to another Windows 10 operating system
- buy an iPad or Android device
- use a third party app which is in the Windows 10 store

None of the third party apps are adequate as controllers - and do not have all the features of the official supported Sonos controller app - such as Submit Diagnostics. I don't know about you, but I think that is a pretty poor set of choices, which ultimately means that Sonos is withdrawing from the Windows market. What's your reply Sonos? Where do you stand on Windows 10 S?
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I use the Sonos application on my Microsoft Surface 3 and although it was not an app developed with touch in mind it works very well. Don't see what the fuss is? In fact it is my go to platform when building or amending play lists.

Immediate access to the equaliser is great too.
A less risky investment would be with a company that aims at operating system agnostic support.

Good luck finding one. Maybe Denon will finally get around to releasing the Windows support it promised a couple years ago. 😃
Poor Sonos experience on Windows operating systems is limiting the attraction of any further investment in Sonos. I started buying the equipment before touch interfaces dominated. For some reason which Sonos has not adequately explained, they have declined to support Microsoft touch interfaces. The consequence will be that purchasers look elsewhere. For myself, it looks like my multiple £1000 investment was a poor choice, due mostly to a miscalculation regards the prejudices of Sonos. A less risky investment would be with a company that aims at operating system agnostic support. I no longer recommend Sonos because of their attitude to Windows 8 and subsequently Windows 10. (Have you tried using the Sonos desktop app on an HP Stream 7 - clearly no one at Sonos has.)
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The windows controller is actually quite good. Not sure why Sonos would bother with UWP when even Microsoft have all but lost intrest. There are some very good 3rd party apps that I used to use. Phonos being one.
Sonos' emphasis is on minimising "time to music", hence handhelds given that just about everyone carries a phone. Windows Phone/Mobile is all but dead in the market.
I'm sure they have considered. Have you considered the fact that not one of Sonos' competitors offer a UWP app? Could an entire market's worth of manufacturers be wrong, yet a tiny number of Windows advocates are right?

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