Sonos Device Development Idea... Connect:Mini

  • 5 February 2017
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After hearing so many "why can't my Sonos device be a computer speaker" and hearing so many challenges that appear to misunderstand how the wireless communication challenges might me hard to overcome... (We can see that many of the dedicated options for this have struggled... e.g. I find painful lags for "airplay" at times and it isn't as stable as it should... etc.) that may be ok for some purposes but not for others... so to overcome some of the technical challenges and perhaps find a way to augment the system and "do it right..." at the same time...:

This mIght be silly, but how about this for a product idea for Sonos... Let's call it the "Sonos Connect:Mini"

What if there was a dongle type wifi device, rechargeable battery (USB chargeable), that operated a 2.4 and 5Ghz radio on SonosNet that would "bond" with a room/device.

Let's say the Connect:Mini device is designed for two, selectable services. 1) To be a source for a dedicated (bonded) Sonos Device, and 2) Sonos ZonePlayer for wired headphones.

It would have a dedicated 3.5mm plug/cable that I could plug into any headphone jack (like on my computer), and using this as a "line in source" it would send the audio to a dedicated SonosPlayer room - like how the PlayBar sends surround speakers their audio over 5Ghz radio. Computer video should be able to be in sync for the dedicated 5Ghz connected device(s)

(Perhaps like what can happen with the PlayBar, there may need to be a slight delay generated if you "grouped" other rooms - they would be in sync to each other, but perhaps *just* behind the video...

Then you'd have the option to select it as a Sonos Player for use with the same music sources/playlists you like today on Sonos to listen to Headphones plugged into it (for late at night listening in a busy house.)

So... Let's pretend it is $99 USD... would you buy one?

... the more I think of it... I would. Small, simple, fills an (admittedly small) hole in the toolkit.

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This just sounds like a cheap CONNECT. Add powered speakers and you have a zone which would cut the commercial legs out from under other Sonos players.
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I had intended that it to be a fundamentally different device, but obviously related - hence the proposed branded name...

I guess I do get that offering a headphone option may cannibalize the connect... But I still think that people would be less inclined to do that. I think both the connect and connect:Amp have clearly defined use cases they fill, and people would gravitate to them rather than a potentially messy workaround for this simple device that would likely not save much....

Regardless, the tool I really think is intriguing is to give a computer or tablet/phone the hardware necessary to create a bonded wireless 5Ghz connection to a Sonos player as a simple tool to enable play on demand over wireless like the PlayBar does. We know it is both possible and that Sonos does it.... I get that a Computer isn't likely going to be able to do this while it is busy using it's wireless network for internet use, streaming, etc... So the additional hardware idea came to mind. (I totally get that it is simply replacing a cable to a Play 5... I do... but I still think it could have a place.)...

Anyway... I still have a day job 🙂


I guess I do get that offering a headphone option may cannibalize the connect...

It isn't just the headphone application; there are many extremely capable active speakers out there, at all price points, that would need just the Connect to take market away from Sonos speakers that are now the focus hardware and the bulk of the revenue stream of the company.

And what we read here may not be the tip of an iceberg in terms of demands for computer speakers and the like, in terms of the market that Sonos has selected to address.

Connect is how Sonos first hit the market, when it did not have any play units in the line, and when the market need was for a unit to interface with large number of wired 2 channel audio systems - now a legacy largely - out there. Unless Sonos makes a course correction in the hardware strategy, I can't see any Connect development happening.
the tool I really think is intriguing is to give a computer or tablet/phone the hardware necessary to create a bonded wireless 5Ghz connection to a Sonos player as a simple tool to enable play on demand over wireless like the PlayBar does.
Sorry, but that one doesn't fly either. Apart from the fact that 5GHz is a relatively short range technology, compared to 2.4GHz, PLAYBAR is the only device with two radios. All other 5GHz-capable PLAY units have a single radio which can operate in 2.4GHz or 5GHz, not both at the same time. Your 5GHz bonded dongle would force its tethered player to detach itself entirely from SonosNet/WiFi and run standalone as a dumb speaker. There's already such an option: Bluetooth. 😉
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Welll... damn :S