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How to determine the end-of-life (EOL) for each Sonos product?

  • 22 January 2020
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Now that Sonos have announced that their products have an end-of-life (EOL), sometimes in as little as 5 years from purchase, can they please clarify their expected EOL projections for all products? Classifying them as “modern” or “legacy” does not help and is far too simplistic. Products can move status overnight without warning.

It would be useful to know that a Sonos product bought today for several hundred pounds is expected to be viable for, say, 5yrs. If Sonos wishes to be a software company, they will need to embrace a more mature approach to this issue, and offer an SLA within each product sale to set customer expectations.

For example, the Windows 10 support life-cycle has a five-year mainstream support phase that began on July 29, 2015, and a second five-year extended support phase that begins in 2020 and extends until October 2025. Microsoft manages this level of expectation management and costs a fraction of the cost of a home speaker system. 

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Best answer by Ken_Griffiths 22 January 2020, 22:54

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58 replies

When looking at memory in the newer devices compared to older ones keep in mind the cost differences, not only for the memory but in putting it into a system. Look at the Raspberry Pi as an example, they want $35 for a 1 GB version, for $45 you get 2 GB and for $55 you get 4 GB. Putting in extra memory today is far different cost-wise than it was 15 years ago.

 

This is something I’ve thought about a bit, how much memory costs over the years.  I keep thinking  about  the memory available on thumb drives.  It seems to me that in 2015 and possibly earlier, it was pretty easy to get thumdrive’s with memory over 1 GB for cheap.  So that begs the question of why didn’t Sonos regularly increase the memory of their devices as the costs got cheaper?

 

I don’t have a background in manufacturing, so I can only guess, but I think there are a couple reasons.  One is that Sonos surely bought the memory in bulk, possible a contractually negotiated rate.  They could not easily upgrade the memory without taking a hit on the memory they have already purchased, or breaking a contract deal.  Could be 100% wrong on that.  The other reason is that you cannot just replace the memory and nothing else.  It’s my understanding that you would need to do some tweaks to the overall design, maybe change some other hardware as well, and then test out the new hardware before releasing.  We’ve also recently learned that it’s best to make hardware changes with an official generation change, which isn’t always ideal.

 

Probably other things I don’t know about, or things I’ve got wrong.  I think you can say though that upgrading the memory isn’t going to be as easy as dumping the new memory in the parts bin at the assembly line.

 

... And this theory makes complete sense when one considers that John MacFarlane stepped down back in 2017 when he realized that future enhancements like voice control and other things that Amazon, Google, and other companies were getting into would make it nearly impossible for Sonos to effectively complete with their 32 MB Legacy offerings. Whether or not they had external microphones was not really the nail in the coffin as much as having an entire ecosystem built around 32 MB or 64 MB architecture.

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The capacity and cost of different types of memory is important too, Sonos can’t chance iffy memory like a $10 thumb drive maker can get away with.

Redesigning a circuit board to accept new memory is expensive, testing the new design is even more expensive.

Then you have the regulatory hurdles from the FCC to UL (in the US) and probably several others.

Once you have the upgraded hardware manufactured you need to add it to your software test plan and every additional device makes that harder, more time consuming and more expensive.

It has been many years since I was involved in embedded computers and I do not miss the problems that brings versus a “plug stuff in at will” design.

The embedded design still has a key factor of reliability as a big selling point.

When looking at memory in the newer devices compared to older ones keep in mind the cost differences, not only for the memory but in putting it into a system. Look at the Raspberry Pi as an example, they want $35 for a 1 GB version, for $45 you get 2 GB and for $55 you get 4 GB. Putting in extra memory today is far different cost-wise than it was 15 years ago.

 

This is something I’ve thought about a bit, how much memory costs over the years.  I keep thinking  about  the memory available on thumb drives.  It seems to me that in 2015 and possibly earlier, it was pretty easy to get thumdrive’s with memory over 1 GB for cheap.  So that begs the question of why didn’t Sonos regularly increase the memory of their devices as the costs got cheaper?

 

I don’t have a background in manufacturing, so I can only guess, but I think there are a couple reasons.  One is that Sonos surely bought the memory in bulk, possible a contractually negotiated rate.  They could not easily upgrade the memory without taking a hit on the memory they have already purchased, or breaking a contract deal.  Could be 100% wrong on that.  The other reason is that you cannot just replace the memory and nothing else.  It’s my understanding that you would need to do some tweaks to the overall design, maybe change some other hardware as well, and then test out the new hardware before releasing.  We’ve also recently learned that it’s best to make hardware changes with an official generation change, which isn’t always ideal.

 

Probably other things I don’t know about, or things I’ve got wrong.  I think you can say though that upgrading the memory isn’t going to be as easy as dumping the new memory in the parts bin at the assembly line.

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Something to keep in mind, the Play 1 should be compared to the Sonos One SL, not the other Ones as they have need for much more internal hardware to deal with voice issues.

The early Play 1s are similar to the Play 3s in memory, that is going to justify a lot of effort on Sonos’ part to keep them working.

Sonos has in the past used resources of higher memory devices to support lower memory ones, the music index offloading for example. With the worst memory devices gone the chance to move to a newer Linux kernel and have room for key improvements in the now available space and offloading things that just won’t fit should serve for many years.

When looking at memory in the newer devices compared to older ones keep in mind the cost differences, not only for the memory but in putting it into a system. Look at the Raspberry Pi as an example, they want $35 for a 1 GB version, for $45 you get 2 GB and for $55 you get 4 GB. Putting in extra memory today is far different cost-wise than it was 15 years ago.

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But from what I can see the Play:1 only has 64MB Storage, which is why I’m getting worried. 

I understand your point about it more being to do with genuine system limitation rather than a statutory period of time, but I would argue that if Sonas do say next year that the Play:1 technically won’t work, then the onus would be on Sonos to find a very decent solution (Replacement, deep discount, or some form of technical solution that keeps them viable)

 

That graphic is the old version.  It’s been updated:

 

And yes, I was mistaken.  The old Play:1 has 128 MB RAM, but only 64 MB storage. 


Thanks for this, appreciate the updated chart.

Does anyone know how you distinguish whether you have a play 1 which 64mb/128mb or the play 1 with 256mb/256mb?  I find it very odd there are 2 types of play:1s

I’ve had a look at my products and can’t see anything on the box that indicates which one I have and it’s not indicated when I look at my sonos device online.

Surely the play1 with 64mb/128mb has to be at risk of going legacy next?

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There are other factors besides technical capabilities alone that will ultimately determine when a product no longer receives regular updates.  Customer expectations is obvious.  Obviously, the current event is not going over well, so it stands to reason that Sonos will not want to do this again any time soon.  That could change though if other brands start dropping support for their older devices as well, or if the technology speeds up rather quickly for whatever reason to the point where customers practically expect the older units to no longer supported (as an extreme case).  As an example, if both Amazon and Google drop support for their first gen products, that will have a big effect on customer expectations.

 

I am not predicting that any of this will happen, I actually think it’s highly unlikely we will see any change in support for the next few years.  But I can’t guarantee anything and may channge my opinion depending on what happens in the market going forward.

 

Exactly.  We know the facts now, we don’t know the future.  Can we make an educated guess given Sonos’ obvious efforts to keep the 32 MB units running for going on 15 years?  Sure.  Can we accurately predict future developments and their impact on the current ‘modern’ limit of 128/64 MB RAM/storage?  No, not at all.  

Exactly, best for all customers to protect their hard earned dollars consider when the device was released and look at the ram chart when making new purchases as there are still devices in the lineup that could be ditched due to their *cough* feeble hardware. Hold on to older hardware that isn’t legacy because it could be supported for another decade. May can’t come soon enough. 

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They will probably continue the recycle program 30% discount. 64mb is peanuts compared to what the One has. Sonos could shut down (legacy) 64mb play1 very soon (2 years). But don't worry about this because as jgatie says they could keep it going for longer.

 

I said nothing of the sort.  Please don’t put words in my mouth.  And 64 MB might be peanuts, but it is double what the legacy items have

I attributed the thought that Sonos could keep the old Play1 going for much longer than the 5 year date to you. I thought that was implied in your posts, sorry if it wasn't.

There are Play5 with 64 mb ram, these are being dropped are they not? Or are these Gen2 Play5?

How do you identify a Connect with 256mb ram? Does anyone know the hardware number for this?

 

There are other factors besides technical capabilities alone that will ultimately determine when a product no longer receives regular updates.  Customer expectations is obvious.  Obviously, the current event is not going over well, so it stands to reason that Sonos will not want to do this again any time soon.  That could change though if other brands start dropping support for their older devices as well, or if the technology speeds up rather quickly for whatever reason to the point where customers practically expect the older units to no longer supported (as an extreme case).  As an example, if both Amazon and Google drop support for their first gen products, that will have a big effect on customer expectations.

 

I am not predicting that any of this will happen, I actually think it’s highly unlikely we will see any change in support for the next few years.  But I can’t guarantee anything and may channge my opinion depending on what happens in the market going forward.

 

Exactly.  We know the facts now, we don’t know the future.  Can we make an educated guess given Sonos’ obvious efforts to keep the 32 MB units running for going on 15 years?  Sure.  Can we accurately predict future developments and their impact on the current ‘modern’ limit of 128/64 MB RAM/storage?  No, not at all.  

There are other factors besides technical capabilities alone that will ultimately determine when a product no longer receives regular updates.  Customer expectations is obvious.  Obviously, the current event is not going over well, so it stands to reason that Sonos will not want to do this again any time soon.  That could change though if other brands start dropping support for their older devices as well, or if the technology speeds up rather quickly for whatever reason to the point where customers practically expect the older units to no longer supported (as an extreme case).  As an example, if both Amazon and Google drop support for their first gen products, that will have a big effect on customer expectations.

 

I am not predicting that any of this will happen, I actually think it’s highly unlikely we will see any change in support for the next few years.  But I can’t guarantee anything and may channge my opinion depending on what happens in the market going forward.

They will probably continue the recycle program 30% discount. 64mb is peanuts compared to what the One has. Sonos could shut down (legacy) 64mb play1 very soon (2 years). But don't worry about this because as jgatie says they could keep it going for longer.

 

I said nothing of the sort.  Please don’t put words in my mouth.  And 64 MB might be peanuts, but it is double what the legacy items have.

But from what I can see the Play:1 only has 64MB Storage, which is why I’m getting worried. 

I understand your point about it more being to do with genuine system limitation rather than a statutory period of time, but I would argue that if Sonas do say next year that the Play:1 technically won’t work, then the onus would be on Sonos to find a very decent solution (Replacement, deep discount, or some form of technical solution that keeps them viable)

 

That graphic is the old version.  It’s been updated:

 

And yes, I was mistaken.  The old Play:1 has 128 MB RAM, but only 64 MB storage. 

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Play:1 was last manufactured in late 2019.  It was replaced by the One SL, not the One.


If that’s the case, based on Sonos’s latest guidance, these should be good until 2024, as a minimum?

Would love Sonos to confirm that.

 

People make WAY too much about the 5 years.  They say 5 years because that is the minimum required by law in some jurisdictions.  The actual limit is the memory and storage (and to a lesser extent, the processor) in the units.  The last Play:1 to come off the line has 256 MB RAM and storage.  That’s 8 times the resources of the legacy devices that were just announced.  It took 15 years to fill up 32 MB.  Sonos now has 8 times as much to work with until the recent Play:1’s are a problem, and even the older model has 4 times the resources as the legacy devices. 

 

But from what I can see the Play:1 only has 64MB Storage, which is why I’m getting worried. 

I understand your point about it more being to do with genuine system limitation rather than a statutory period of time, but I would argue that if Sonas do say next year that the Play:1 technically won’t work, then the onus would be on Sonos to find a very decent solution (Replacement, deep discount, or some form of technical solution that keeps them viable)

They will probably continue the recycle program 30% discount. 64mb is peanuts compared to what the One has. Sonos could shut down (legacy) 64mb play1 very soon (2 years). But don't worry about this because as jgatie says they could keep it going for longer.

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Play:1 was last manufactured in late 2019.  It was replaced by the One SL, not the One.


If that’s the case, based on Sonos’s latest guidance, these should be good until 2024, as a minimum?

Would love Sonos to confirm that.

 

People make WAY too much about the 5 years.  They say 5 years because that is the minimum required by law in some jurisdictions.  The actual limit is the memory and storage (and to a lesser extent, the processor) in the units.  The last Play:1 to come off the line has 256 MB RAM and storage.  That’s 8 times the resources of the legacy devices that were just announced.  It took 15 years to fill up 32 MB.  Sonos now has 8 times as much to work with until the recent Play:1’s are a problem, and even the older model has 4 times the resources as the legacy devices. 

 

But from what I can see the Play:1 only has 64MB Storage, which is why I’m getting worried. 

I understand your point about it more being to do with genuine system limitation rather than a statutory period of time, but I would argue that if Sonas do say next year that the Play:1 technically won’t work, then the onus would be on Sonos to find a very decent solution (Replacement, deep discount, or some form of technical solution that keeps them viable)

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Sonos increased the ram in most devices from 256 to 1gb in a couple of years. 

This is pretty good indicator about where they are going in the future. I hope for awesome new features.

​​​​People say 5 years cause that's all Sonos promise, sorry to hear they are only promising the minimum required by law. I didn't this.

Would be great if Sonos released the processor and other specs of other devices so we have more information to argue over what is next on the old Sonos chopping block.

Play:1 was last manufactured in late 2019.  It was replaced by the One SL, not the One.


If that’s the case, based on Sonos’s latest guidance, these should be good until 2024, as a minimum?

Would love Sonos to confirm that.

 

People make WAY too much about the 5 years.  They say 5 years because that is the minimum required by law in some jurisdictions.  The actual limit is the memory and storage (and to a lesser extent, the processor) in the units.  The last Play:1 to come off the line has 256 MB RAM and storage.  That’s 8 times the resources of the legacy devices that were just announced.  It took 15 years to fill up 32 MB.  Sonos now has 8 times as much to work with until the recent Play:1’s are a problem, and even the older model has 4 times the resources as the legacy devices. 

Userlevel 4
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Play:1 was last manufactured in late 2019.  It was replaced by the One SL, not the One.


If that’s the case, based on Sonos’s latest guidance, these should be good until 2024, as a minimum?

Would love Sonos to confirm that.

I've read on the community that the Play1 received a hardware upgrade around 2017, so speakers before this date could be at risk. I would think they are OK for a while if you have a 2017 or later.

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Play:1 was last manufactured in late 2019.  It was replaced by the One SL, not the One.


If that’s the case, based on Sonos’s latest guidance, these should be good until 2024, as a minimum?

Would love Sonos to confirm that.

Play:1 was last manufactured in late 2019.  It was replaced by the One SL, not the One.

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So, just to be clear.  If Play:1’s were stopped being manufactured in 2017, (despite being still sold by major retailers today), then the product becomes at risk of being out of support in 2022?

 

Could somebody confirm that please?

 

It’s really important to understand this and should have been made clear at point of sale.

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If you got sold old stock I’d put together an e-mail with scans of your receipts showing the date of sale and serial numbers and send it off to Sonos. No idea what they will do but when Best Buy pulled that trick on me Sonos saved the day even thought they were innocent of any wrong-doing.

While I can see the value in figuring out the exact manufacturing year of product you have, I don’t know that it will ultimately be useful.  There is no way to determine the actual EOL for a product since Sonos doesn’t even know when that is themselves.

 

Just looking at this current event, there were many products that lasted much longer than 5 years before losing updates, and some that lasted the minimum.  As pointed out, it’s the RAM that matters, not the age.  But even then, it doens’t really tell you when the next group of products loses support and where the cut off point, in terms of RAM or product age (minimum 5 years) will occur. 

 

For example, we know that currently, all modern products have at least 64 MB of RAM.  It does not mean a product with 128 MB won’t be in the next cut.  It could be that Sonos maintains everything till 2030, and only products with 256 MB or more meet the cut.

 

That said, I do hope that Sonos gives customers a lot more notice before the next cut, and I hope it’s quite a few years off too.

The year and month of manufacture (YYMM) is the 4 digits before the serial number on the label.  Anything after 2015 is modern.  Anything before is legacy.  2015 is a tossup, because nobody knows the exact month of the change, but at least one person found 1509 (Sept. 2015) to be modern.


Thank you, do you also happen to know what the FLOOR CPU/Memory requirements are to make it Modern? 

 

All current legacy devices have 32 MB RAM and storage.  CPU doesn’t matter, it’s the RAM/storage that’s limiting these devices.  Sonos simply can’t cram any more features into 32 MB.  

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The year and month of manufacture (YYMM) is the 4 digits before the serial number on the label.  Anything after 2015 is modern.  Anything before is legacy.  2015 is a tossup, because nobody knows the exact month of the change, but at least one person found 1509 (Sept. 2015) to be modern.


Thank you, do you also happen to know what the FLOOR CPU/Memory requirements are to make it Modern? 

The year and month of manufacture (YYMM) is the 4 digits before the serial number on the label.  Anything after 2015 is modern.  Anything before is legacy.  2015 is a tossup, because nobody knows the exact month of the change, but at least one person found 1509 (Sept. 2015) to be modern.

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How to determine if your older gear is still modern?

Besides the VOL vs. Wedge symbol on the front rocker switch and the build date next to the serial number.  Is there any way we can use an IP command line function to tell if your Connect or Connect Amp has enough computing power/memory to stay in the MODERN category? 

According to the Sonos link in the “end of support” letter, I have a mix of Connects and Connect Amps that are both Modern and Legacy. 

Am I missing something in the readout of the cool command utility “Sonos Support Info”  (/support/review)?  

I poked around search engines and in the forums and can’t find anything useful yet. 

Thanks in advance for any assistance as I think it would help others as well.