Amidst all the announcements from Google and Amazon this week, you may have missed the fact that Sonos launched a new Alexa-enabled smart speaker today. The Sonos One is basically a version of its Play:1 speaker, except that the One is powered by Amazon’s Alexa allowing users to access the thousands of Alexa skills available and to control their speaker with voice commands. The new voice-assistant enabled speaker is available for pre-order today for $199 and will ship on October 24.
A Better Sounding Alexa
The Sonos One is essentially an Amazon Echo with its Alexa capabilities, top light display and far-field microphones. However, it will have better sound quality if it sounds anything like the Play:1, which is far superior to that of the Amazon Echo and Google Home. In addition, the Sonos One is priced to compete, at only $20 more than the standard retail price of the Echo and half the cost of the newly launched Google Home Max. Sonos will also have a leg up on the competition next year as it plans to add Google Assistant to the One as well.
Alexa Support for All Models
But if you own an older Sonos model, you don’t necessarily have to buy the new One in order to get Alexa on your Sonos speaker. The company also announced today a new public beta for Alexa support. Since the older models do not have far-field microphones, the new upgrade will allow Alexa users to control their Sonos device through any Alexa device, including the Echo and Echo Dot. This could actually end up assisting Amazon in way as any of the millions of Sonos customers could see the value in getting an Echo Dot instead of purchasing the new Sonos One.
Amazon Echo and Google Home sales could certainly take a hit with the launch of the Sonos One. However, those devices are really just a vehicle for the two companies to get their voice assistants in front of as many consumers as possible. This effort will only increase with Sonos in the smart speaker game. Now consumers can get a great sounding speaker at a reasonable price and have access to the two top voice assistants on the market. Sounds like a win for consumers, Sonos, Amazon and eventually Google.