Sonos today showed off the fruits of a partnership with Amazon first announced last year.
At an event in New York City this morning, the speaker maker debuted a new Alexa-powered smart speaker and announced a software update for all models making them Alexa compatible starting today. The new $199 Sonos One hits stores Oct. 24, and is the first smart speaker to support multiple voice assistants, the company says.
In addition to Alexa, Google’s voice assistant is coming to the speaker next year. Sonos is adding Apple AirPlay 2 support next year as well, making it possible to play sound on Sonos speakers from Netflix shows or YouTube videos streamed on iOS devices.
“We live in a golden age of streaming entertainment,” Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said in a statement. “But so much of this great content is being pushed through smart speakers that aren’t designed with sound quality in mind. With our open approach to collaboration, agnostic approach to voice services, the strength of our many innovative partners, and a sound platform designed for the whole home, we’re helping people listen more and listen better.”
Sonos is also adding the ability for any Siri-powered device to control the Sonos One speaker via voice.
In addition to the new speaker, starting today, all existing Sonos speakers can be controlled via an Alexa-powered device like the Echo or Dot, thanks to a software update and a Sonos Alexa skill.
Sonos, which has a growing Seattle office, has been working closely with Amazon on Alexa integration for more than a year.
Teams from both companies are making sure that the experience is seamless, and that starts with grammar and syntax. Rather than building a clunky command like, “Alexa, ask Sonos to play” Song X, by Artist Y, Sonos wants something a little easier to use.
“The idea is to be able to say Alexa, ‘play The Beatles in the living room,’” Antonie Leblond, one of the leaders of the Seattle office told GeekWire earlier this year. “You can imagine more sophisticated things like, Alexa, ‘play The Beatles here,’ if you think of the tech that has to go into figuring out what here means.”
Sonos in recent years has opened itself up to third party apps and developers, and integrating voice assistants is the next step. Out of the box, the Sonos One speaker will be able to control Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, and TuneIn via voice, with Spotify integration coming soon after the device launches.