According to people familiar with the company's plans, the voice assistant service will be introduced within the next few weeks. The voice function will allow customers to play and control music.
It will be part of a forthcoming software update that will arrive first to customers in the US on June 1st. The voice-enabled soundbars and smart speakers from Sonos already support Amazon and Google Assistant, so they will be able to use the new Sonos Voice as an alternative. The S2 software will support the voice control.
The company says its ambition is to make voice interactions fully private, more personal, and more natural. The first such services were the paid, higher quality Sonos Radio HD. The core conveniences that are similar to existing competitors will be provided by the offering.
Sonos Voice won’t support Spotify at launch
Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, and the company's own Sonos Radio will work with the new voice-controlled music system. It isn't yet on board for the two companies. The feature will not record user audio commands or send them to the cloud for processing.
According to its policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation, Sonos declined to comment on this story. Through various job listings for the voice product and Home Theater OS, the company has offered a glimpse of a future where it will put a much greater emphasis on software and try to establish itself as a company. In an interview, Patrick Spence said that he was always investing ahead of the curve. It is easier to understand that a company has been working on all of these great things. We didn't see it at that time.
Voice services have been a point of contention in the rift between tech companies. Two years ago, Spence told US lawmakers that Amazon's competing product on the same device could not be used with the same Assistant service. Spence said that Amazon wasn't as restrictive. Although it publicly accused both of unfair pricing tactics and patent infringement, Sonos was able to successfully sued Google over the latter, forcing minor changes to multi-room audio play and volume controls.
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The development of its own voice feature has been a well-kept secret. The company is interested in customer surveys, and last year, early details about the service were discovered in the Sonos mobile app. Customers could use either of the two voice services with the same wake word, according to the screenshots. The images show that the voice offering cannot be used in the same way as the assistant.
At launch, the Sonos Voice Experience will stick to the basics. They will be able to give the Sonos offering a shot without sacrificing their smart home integrations if they are able to use the same voice feature.
The goal of making voice fully private could be a way of differentiating itself from the likes of Amazon's voice assistant and the Google Assistant, both of which rely on cloud computing. Amazon says that it is designed with multiple layers of privacy and security. Some consumers are wary of voice technologies and Big Tech.
The next hardware product from Sonos will be a budget soundbar, which will be priced around $250. The Sonos Ray will be announced in the coming weeks. It will not have integrated mics for voice controls, unlike the company's more expensive Arc and Beam soundbars.