Sonos brings its own voice assistant for its speakers

Sonos wants to offer users of its devices an alternative to the language assistants of the big tech companies. The software is closely tailored to music use and will initially only be available in the USA from June. By the end of the year, Sonos customers in France will also be able to give their speakers commands in French. The loudspeaker provider did not name a schedule for other countries on Wednesday.

Using the Sonos voice assistant, users will be able to control music playback, among other things, even in different rooms. The software called “Sonos Voice Control” can share a speaker with Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa. The programs then jump to their wake-up word. Such a coexistence on a device does not work with Google’s competing software Assistant. Although they can be used in parallel in one system, they would have to run on different devices. Sonos and Google are locked in a bitter patent battle in court. Most recently, the US Commerce Agency found that Google’s smart speakers infringe five Sonos patents.

Sonos does not see its voice control as direct competition for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, but wants to focus on music playback. Services initially supported include Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, Deezer, and Sonos Radio. Other services are to follow. Spotify is missing so far, but Sonos points out that its own voice assistant can also perform its core functions such as pausing, stopping and volume on Spotify. However, users cannot search for specific pieces of music by voice command.

Data protection should ensure that all voice commands are processed on the devices themselves instead of online in the cloud. This had already been reported in advance and should represent an attractive unique selling point for those who are aware of data protection. In the past, Sonos had pointed out that customers had concerns about voice assistants from Google and Amazon and therefore released models without the necessary microphones.

Sonos brought the technology for its own language assistant into the house with the purchase of the French company Snips in 2019. The preliminary work also explains why France will be the first stop in the international expansion. Sonos Voice Control will according to the speaker company are available at no extra charge for their own speakers equipped with microphones.

Sonos also unveiled its most affordable soundbar model on Wednesday. The compact device called “Sonos Ray” should cost 299 euros in Germany – and the company is making it clear that it does not want to leave the business with cheaper speakers for TV sets to rivals. The two previous Sonos soundbars are significantly more expensive at 999 and 499 euros. The company has according to the latest information, devices in 13 million households. (with material from the dpa) /


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