Sonos is preparing to launch a new device that seems poised to compete with the Amazon Echo, Apple’s HomePod, and other smart home speaker products. The speaker device will feature built-in WiFi and integrated support for music streaming services, and is described by Sonos as an “all-in-one wireless smart speaker”.
The tipoff comes by way of an FCC filing uncovered by David Zatz, who speculates that the product will primarily operate via Alexa-based voice control, given that a new ‘skill’ for Amazon’s AI platform is meant to enable Sonos speaker control through Alexa products. That means yet another product on the horizon that will compete with Amazon’s Echo using Amazon’s own voice interaction technology. But Sonos’s latest filing also asserts that its smart speaker device “will support multiple voice platforms”, which may suggest compatibility with Samsung’s Bixby AI system, or even Apple’s Siri.
It isn’t clear when the new device will arrive. While GizModo suggests a holiday release, the fact that Sonos’s filing features redactions that expire on February 28th could point to a commercial release in 2o18. It’s quite possible that the device will come out after Apple’s HomePod, which is likely to garner significant interest from Apple’s fan base, and before Facebook’s new smart home device, which could also take some considerable marketshare. Meanwhile, Samsung is working on a smart home speaker too, so Sonos’s offering will almost certainly face a very competitive market.