Paving the way for an Amazon powered Sonos?


In light of Sonos' current effort in integrating the Amazon Echo/Alexa system as a control device, I wonder if this announcement might add some opportunity in the future to have it integrated inside the speaker as well.

https://9to5mac.com/2017/04/13/amazon-alexa-growth-hardware-software-dev-kit/

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I kind of doubt it. For one thing, it definitely would have to be a rather tight integration. It would really mean that this new Sonos speaker with Alexa would be full part of the sonos ecosystem and Echo.

The other thing is, would that be ideal? With normal sonos your going to put the speaker(s) against the wall, out of the way. Echo is the opposite. You really want it in the center of the room where it can hear better. As well, you only want one echo in the room, where as you want multiple sonos speakers.

Perhaps what could be ideal if Sonos came out with a new device that was just an Alexa controller, priced around $75. No speakers on it all, just mics, shaped like a dot. It could be matched/pair into a zone similar to how a sub is added today. Once paired it controls that zone by default (and other zones). Because it's not a typical dot, there would be no confusion about where the sound is. It could also be a bit smarter then your typical dot so that some voice commands (play, pause) don't have to go to the cloud and back down for execution. If you give a voice command that isn't one of the basics then it works just like any other Alexa function.

I still doubt it, but it's probably a product I'd buy.
While I don't disagree with you generally, I do have to take exception to your second paragraph. I've got 3 of those devices from Amazon, and none of them are in the center of the room so that they can hear better. They're all against walls in some way or another, and yet they hear just fine :)

I'm certainly not expecting a full integration of the two, unless Amazon was to purchase Sonos. Which seems unlikely. But what do I know?
Seeing the new Echo Show, it does give one an insight into one future of home automation/integration. What would it take for the new unit to do all that it supposedly does, while also interfacing with and controlling all Sonos units in the home, utilising both voice and the display in order to do so, where the display has a widget that shows just the current track, but can expand with one tap to take up all the space, in the manner it does on Android phones? All of this supplemented where possible via voice control.
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Seeing the new Echo Show, it does give one an insight into one future of home automation/integration. What would it take for the new unit to do all that it supposedly does, while also interfacing with and controlling all Sonos units in the home, utilising both voice and the display in order to do so, where the display has a widget that shows just the current track, but can expand with one tap to take up all the space, in the manner it does on Android phones? All of this supplemented where possible via voice control.

Display showing the current track? Similar to what my iPad does now you mean!
Perhaps; if your iPad isn't being used for anything else. And I don't use an iPad, I use my phone and invoking the controller just for seeing what is the current track starts from searching for the device. Now if I had one of old Sonos controllers it would be different, but they would not do all the other things that Echo does, even if Sonos was to still be selling them.
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While I don't disagree with you generally, I do have to take exception to your second paragraph. I've got 3 of those devices from Amazon, and none of them are in the center of the room so that they can hear better. They're all against walls in some way or another, and yet they hear just fine :)


Ok yes, I can see that it's not always the center of the room. The point is that you place an echo where it can be heard better, particularly in a large room. I have a open floor plan home where the kitchen, breakfast, family room are all one large room. If the echo was against a wall or corner, it would not pick up as well when speaking across the room.

Seeing the new Echo Show, it does give one an insight into one future of home automation/integration. What would it take for the new unit to do all that it supposedly does, while also interfacing with and controlling all Sonos units in the home, utilising both voice and the display in order to do so, where the display has a widget that shows just the current track, but can expand with one tap to take up all the space, in the manner it does on Android phones? All of this supplemented where possible via voice control.

Display showing the current track? Similar to what my iPad does now you mean!


I read a review yesterday making a similar argument. The Echo Show is an immovable tablet with a built in stand. I think that's missing the point though. Echos are not meant to do all the things you can do a tablet or phone, they are designed to do a few things you want to do better than you can on a tablet or phone. And that's exactly why Sonos has to make sure the integration with Echos is done right. If using the Echo isn't easier then picking up a tablet and controlling 'the old fashion way', then it's not going to go over well.
And that's exactly why Sonos has to make sure the integration with Echos is done right. If using the Echo isn't easier then picking up a tablet and controlling 'the old fashion way', then it's not going to go over well.
At the same time, the new Echo Show is going to raise the bar on what is expected from the integration with a higher noise level over the "delay" as it penetrates user homes. Sonos is going to have a problem keeping up with Amazon, I predict and this will be an ongoing problem for them.
Good point. And perhaps a reason why Sonos might want to put one of those microphones in the rest of their speakers, and fully integrate the Amazon API.

But, as I've said before, they're an aggregator, and I think they still want to be available to all things, and not be locked in to a single command structure. Hopefully, following the Amazon integration, we'll shortly thereafter get HomeKit, Google, etc, and Sonos can remain independent. It's one of those things I actually appreciate about them, they want to be open to all, so they publish the API, and ask folks to join in if they want, instead of setting up legal licensing and profit sharing with specific streamers.
they want to be open to all, so they publish the API, and ask folks to join in if they want,
That will need even more speed and agility, I imagine. And counting on enough people to wait for them. Challenging times for Sonos.
they want to be open to all, so they publish the API, and ask folks to join in if they want
Case in point is the native Apple music app integration which is to still happen, although Spotify has. It is all well and good to say that the ball is in Apple's court now that API or whatever else is needed has been published, but it gets down to who needs this more for continued business growth and success. Sonos has admitted at times that even with the API published, it is a team effort; I think that Sonos needs to be driving these initiatives a lot more forcefully if they want to realise their 'Open to all' vision. And as the Echo Show demonstrates, the new product roll out speed of the big guns isn't easily matched.
No argument from me, but I wonder just how much sway or force Sonos has in influencing the giant Apple Corporation in how to distribute the necessary resources. It's actually one of the reasons I continue to recommend to others here in these boards to make their desire for such both here, and in boards that Apple reads/owns.

But frankly, I don't know how high it might be on Apple's priority backlog list. One hopes it's higher than not, but oddly, Apple doesn't usually announce their projects in advance, much like Sonos. Maybe I should run by there tomorrow and ask at the Corporate headquarters in Cupertino. Wonder if Mr. Cook would see me... 🙂

But frankly, I don't know how high it might be on Apple's priority backlog list.

Nowhere as high it needs to be on that of Sonos. That's why Sonos needs to do more of the running in these efforts. As it must be doing for the Echo integration, for similar reasons.
Nowhere as high it needs to be on that of Sonos. That's why Sonos needs to do more of the running in these efforts. [...]
Would you mind sharing your ideas how Sonos should cope with the task? Last time I checked shotgun weddings were considered to be a relic of bygone times. 🙂
By doing all they did to enable use of the Spotify native app would be a good example. Or even what they did to get the Sonos controller to integrate with Apple music.
Spotify Connect is a household gadget. Direct control of Apple Music, however, would set a creative precedent; a kind of collaboration for which Apple might not be ready to go.
Spotify Connect is a household gadget. Direct control of Apple Music, however, would set a creative precedent; a kind of collaboration for which Apple might not be ready to go.
I fail to understand the relevance of the household gadget comment to this discussion.
That apart, if Sonos is to be successful in its "Open to all" vision, it must persuade mainstream majors like Apple/Amazon/Google to subscribe to it as well, for it to more than just wishful thinking. "Open to all" is of little use to many if it is only to be a way for small service providers to obtain a leg up via being on Sonos.
The Echo integration is almost certainly more important for Sonos strategically, than it is for many clamouring just now for what may today be little more than a gimmicky voice control feature.
I fail to understand the relevance of the household gadget comment to this discussion.
Sonos wasn't the first Spotify gear, and it won't be the last.


That apart, if Sonos is to be successful in its "Open to all" vision, it must persuade mainstream majors like Apple/Amazon/Google to subscribe to it as well, for it to more than just wishful thinking.
Yeah, and? Sonos are tied lipped on the subject due to in-house rules, NDAs and so on, you now. Continued urging and trying to put pressure on them does not help one iota.


The Echo integration is almost certainly more important for Sonos strategically, than it is for many clamouring just now for what may today be little more than a gimmicky voice control feature.
Alexa is coming, she's on the way… as pointed out many times before. But she wasn't born with multi room capabilities, I think that's the biggest challenge.

And the poor lass has to learn her lesson well; since way too many "skills" out there are buggy as hell.
I'm cocksure she isn't keen on another one. I am not either.
With improvement in streaming service capability, broadband pipe reliability and cloud hosted owned music, multi room may lose its relevance to many users - except for those that want more dense coverage of one room at times with a multi speaker single room installation. When every room can just as easily access music from the net - music that is hired or owned - what's the Sonos multi room advantage worth? House bound NAS devices will then be obsolete as well.

There is a reason for the order of magnitude differences between play 1 sales and Echo sales, that also sent Sonos running for cover about a year ago. These reasons aren't going away in the future. Sonos runs the risk of becoming what it desperately does NOT want to be - a niche player.

Then the only remaining Sonos differentiator will be sound quality - that one isn't so hard to bridge for an Amazon if they decide that is worth doing.
With improvement in streaming service capability, broadband pipe reliability and cloud hosted owned music, multi room may lose its relevance to many users - except for those that want more dense coverage of one room at times with a multi speaker single room installation. When every room can just as easily access music from the net - music that is hired or owned - what's the Sonos multi room advantage worth? House bound NAS devices will then be obsolete as well.
Future generations may look forward to this, we will not see this happen. The technology being behind it is still in its infancy, that is why using streaming services evolves into playing a patience game most of the time.
I disagree.

I expect it to happen a lot faster than what it took for electricity to become a utility that is now taken for granted. There is no technological barrier to this now, just execution. And obviously therefore, it will not happen uniformly across the world.

Take the example of just Echo. It works a lot better in the US than it does anywhere else in the world at this time.

I have more years behind me than ahead of me, and I live in India. Nonetheless, I expect to see this happen in my lifetime. As for streaming services, Apple Music works very well in India even today - no patience needed. I haven't bought new music in the last 12 months.

Barring things like catastrophic climate collapse or nuclear war of course - those are outliers that are hard to factor in to any forecast.

PS: on the streaming service side - I installed a Connect based simple system at my daughter's home a year ago and she hasn't felt the need to have anything other than Apple Music for her home audio needs. No CD player, no NAS. Music on tap, when needed.
Since I am not familiar with current Echo capability on the music side, some questions to those that use it:
1. Can it access any streaming service other than that offered by Amazon? If only the latter, is the content as good as say that of Apple or Spotify? In the same price band with similar streaming bit rates?
2. Does Amazon offer uploading/hosting of one's owned music in their cloud?
3. Can two Echos be paired in one room as a stereo pair? As independent but grouped units?
4. Can one build/store playlists similar to what Sonos allows?
5. If all the answers to the above are positive, is there any reason to prefer Sonos for any reason other than sound quality - leaving multi room out of the frame for the moment?
Since I am not familiar with current Echo capability on the music side, some questions to those that use it:
1. Can it access any streaming service other than that offered by Amazon? If only the latter, is the content as good as say that of Apple or Spotify? In the same price band with similar streaming bit rates?

In the USA: Amazon Music, Spotify Connect, TuneIn, Pandora, iHeart Radio.

In Europe: Amazon Music, Spotify Connect, TuneIn.


2. Does Amazon offer uploading/hosting of one's owned music in their cloud?
Amazon offers a subscription equivalent to iTunes Match.


3. Can two Echos be paired in one room as a stereo pair? As independent but grouped units?
No – as of today. Think of Sonos as the midwife in this respect. :)


4. Can one build/store playlists similar to what Sonos allows?
No.
Since I am not familiar with current Echo capability on the music side, some questions to those that use it:
1. Can it access any streaming service other than that offered by Amazon? If only the latter, is the content as good as say that of Apple or Spotify? In the same price band with similar streaming bit rates?
2. Does Amazon offer uploading/hosting of one's owned music in their cloud?
3. Can two Echos be paired in one room as a stereo pair? As independent but grouped units?
4. Can one build/store playlists similar to what Sonos allows?
5. If all the answers to the above are positive, is there any reason to prefer Sonos for any reason other than sound quality - leaving multi room out of the frame for the moment?


1. Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, IHeartRadio, Tunein, Audible

2, Yes

3. Not yet, Grouping is rumored to be coming. No indicaton they intend to support stereo pairing.

4. Yes

5. Simplicity. It is easier for most folks to set up a pair of Play1s plus a sub than it is to wire an Echo Dot to a receiver or pair of powered speakers plus a wired sub. Also some folks want to use streaming services that Amazon does not offer.

Also multi-room is important because it ensures the music playing everywhere is in sync. If you just started independent streams in each room they would all be out of sync with each other creating an unpleasant echo effect.

Also local playback is important because streaming services are not reliable day-to-day (just note how many posts there are about this service or that one being down or having some issue). Also none of them are currently profitable so you can't base any long-term strategy on an expectation that any given service will still be there next year. Even if you think of Internet services as a utility I notice there are no new houses being built around me that don't include a whole-house backup generator any more... a local library is just the backup generator for your music system.



4. Can one build/store playlists similar to what Sonos allows?
No.


I build playlists in the "My Music" section of Amazon all the time so not sure why you marked this as no.
I build playlists in the "My Music" section of Amazon all the time so not sure why you marked this as no.
That was me. You cannot create playlists and add songs from the Alexa app or via voice commands.

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