Sonos makes some of the best smart speakers out there. Sonos products are known for their ease of use and audio quality. A new report from The Verge claims that Sonos might soon add a new feature to its existing speakers to improve on the usability part. The report suggests that Sonos is soon going to introduce its own voice assistant service, called Sonos Voice, which would allow users to play and control music on their Sonos products and could debut as soon as June 1, 2022.
The Verge reports that Sonos Voice will be available on all the audio products that run the company’s own "S2" software. It will be available for the United States customers first. The company will roll out its voice assistant via a software update next month, and will be made available in other international markets at a later stage. "Sonos Voice will serve as an alternative to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant," says the report.
The news of Sonos launching its own voice assistant is nothing new. The company has been publically posting jobs for the voice assistant for quite some time, and now, it's only a matter of time before it is officially unveiled. The report claims that customers will be able to do basic things, such as control music playback, adjust volume, and other things with the Sonos Voice. Support for controlling smart home devices will not be available at launch.
The voice assistant service will only work with Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, Deezer, and the Sonos' own "Radio" music streaming service at launch — YouTube Music and Spotify won't be supported at launch, according to the report. Similar to other voice assistants, users will be able to invoke Sonos Voice using the "Hey, Sonos" voice command. The report then adds that Sonos Voice is allegedly quicker than competing assistant services at core music tasks.
Two Reasons why Sonos Voice could succeed in the crowded market of voice assistants
One of the quirks of the smart speakers from other companies is that they don't allow you to use more than one voice assistant together. For e.g., on HomePod mini, you can only use Siri to control your smart home products, play/pause music, and do other voice assistant things. Similarly, on Xiaomi's Mi Smart Speaker, you can only use Google Assistant.
One of the reasons why we believe Sonos' voice assistant service will succeed is because the company will allow you to use other voice assistants (Amazon Alexa only, Google Assistant won't be supported) along with Sonos Voice. You will be able to use both "Alexa" and "Hey, Sonos" voice commands to control your smart speaker. This means that you won't have to re-configure all of your smart home products to work with Sonos Voice. Instead, you can opt to continue to control and use all of your smart home devices with Amazon Alexa, while leaving the music playback control for Sonos Voice.
With Sonos Voice, it seems that the company isn't trying to replace Alexa or Google Assistant. Rather the company is providing more options to the user. The user can choose to use Sonos Voice, but if they're not comfortable with more than one voice assistant breathing down their neck, they can opt to use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa — whatever they like.
Consumers nowadays remain wary of voice assistants continuously monitoring what they speak, especially when Big Tech companies claim that they can use voice interactions for advertising purposes. While Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa both require cloud computing to process voice commands, Sonos Voice will reportedly process all the commands offline and keep them private. This might be due to the fact that Sonos will only process playback control (and similar audio playback-related things only), but it might just be one of the features that convince the user to switch to Sonos Voice.
Along with Sonos Voice, the company is also rumored to be working on a new budget soundbar called Sonos Ray. The Verge reports that Sonos Ray could be priced at around $250, and the budget soundbar will serve as an entry-level option for those looking to add Sonos to their home audio setup. However, to reach the low price, the Sonos Ray will skip many features, such as built-in mics, Dolby Atmos, and even HDMI connectivity. Sonos is expected to officially unveil the Ray soundbar soon.
What are your thoughts on Sonos Voice? Do you think the smart speaker industry needs a new voice assistant? Let us know in the comments section below!