New Sonos One smart speaker with voice controls is unveiled

Sonos has unveiled its all-new smart speaker. The Sonos One launches with Amazon Alexa on 24 October for £199 in the UK.

The new voice-controlled smart speaker will also support Google Assistant from 2018. As well as supporting multiple voice services the speaker can play music, audiobooks, podcasts and other content from more than 80 streaming services.

Last week’s digital radio conference in London heard how Sonos speakers are used to listen to digital radio. Sonos speakers support streaming radio apps like TuneIn and Radioplayer.

Existing owners of Sonos speakers in the UK will be able to control their Sonos systems using Amazon Alexa from today, as long as they own an Alexa-enabled device like an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot.

With the Sonos skill for Alexa it is possible to play a song, skip forward and backwards through playlists, target a single room and adjust volume. Amazon Music customers can also ask for music based on decade, genre and mood.

The Sonos One speaker will work with other Sonos speakers as part of a home sound system, or as a standalone speaker. It is driven by two Class-D digital amplifiers, one tweeter and one mid-woofer. When a user speaks to the device it will lower the volume of the music automatically. A light will be illuminated on the speaker when the six-microphone array is active.

An update to the Sonos app experience is also being launched today. The company say the app will “continue to play a key role alongside voice and partner apps”, and that the update includes simpler navigation.

“There are many speakers out there that you can control with your voice, but most of them are just devices that make sounds, not systems designed for delivering great sound easily in any room of your home,” said Giles Martin, Sound Experience Leader at Sonos.

“We essentially blended three separate ecosystems with the ability to start the music playing with voice, add songs to your playlist from the Sonos app, and play music in a different room from your Spotify app – it’s so simple to use but took quite a bit of work to create.”

Owners of iOS devices will be able to play sound to Sonos speakers from next year when it begins to support Apple’s AirPlay 2. Users will also be able to ask any Siri-enabled device to control music on Sonos speakers.

Sonos also announced at their event in New York that a new retail store will open in London before Christmas. It’ll be based on the first Sonos store in New York, with an outlet in Berlin to follow next year.