Sonos has taken its ambitious next step into the smart speaker space with a new product that supports multiple voice assistants and changes the form factor. The Sonos Beam is a sound bar, a much larger device than the most popular tabletop smart speaker designs currently on the market, that’s capable of providing quality audio for a range of entertainment purposes in small- or medium-sized rooms. Sonos Beam supports Amazon Alexa and 61 music services at launch. It will also add support for Siri/Apple AirPlay and Google Assistant. The product ships on July 17 and costs $399.
Sonos Beam fills a compelling niche in the company’s product line-up. It’s a more versatile tool than the Sonos One, but is smaller and cheaper than many of its more robust living room sound system components. It’s also priced accordingly. The Sonos Beam seems like the company’s effort to expand the audience for voice controls beyond the early adopters and beyond the hardcore audiophiles. And by bringing not just one, but three voice assistants to the speaker, it’s also a good first foray for people who are haven’t yet committed to one voice ecosystem or who are living in more than one.
This is a bold move by Sonos and I am a big fan. Their original Sound Bar is getting a little old and the Sonos 1 is really not a primary listening speaker. It is more for remote or surround use. But their Sonos 5 rocks the house. And Sonos is the way to listen to music delivered via the NET. I could do 1,000 words on how well Sonos can work as a music library server.
I am looking forward to see what Sonos delivers next. They invented smart, whole home audio and they are still the leader.
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