A message from the Sonos CEO :: And what it means

by Volker Weber


Patrick Spence has posted on the Sonos blog and communicates the plan much better. Read it. What is new? Not much. Sonos will issue security fixes to legacy players in the future.

You can continue to use your legacy players as you please. If you only have legacy players, you won't notice a thing. Things get tricky if you have legacy and modern players, for example one Connect to power your old stereo and a Play:1 in the kitchen. Come May, they may not be talking to each other anymore. Let me explain why.

Sonos is a system. All players have to run the same software and they collaborate. Only one of the players talks to Spotify for instance. If that is your Connect, then your Play:1 receives Spotify through Connect. This gives you a special privilige. Several Sonos players can play different streams from Spotify and they still count only as one. All players elect their "chief". If it dies, because you pulled the power cord, they will elect a different one.

When Sonos issues a software release that cannot run on all players in your house, because you have both modern and legacy players, this becomes a problem. It looks like Sonos will solve this by creating two distinct systems in your house. One with the legacy players, one with the modern ones. You may have the choice to keep all players in the legacy domain, forgoing feature upgrades, but that needs to be ironed out yet. One of the prerequesites would be the ability to downgrade players to shoehorn them in later if you decide that's what you want. However, that will not work with yet to be released product which require the new software. It's complicated and Sonos does not really like complicated.

Sonos made a bad decision with their "30% discount if you disable an old player" program. It demonstrates their ability to shut off old players. Mixed with the legacy/modern split it created the impression your old players would stop working. Sonos truly wanted to make it easy to get the discount, but instead they created this confusion.

There is only one thing that Sonos is not honest about. They would love to get rid of the old legacy players. Then life would remain simple for its customers, and in the end, for Sonos itself. And that is exactly my advice: dispose of the legacy players by selling them, by giving them away, or by disabling them for a 30% discount on new players. There is one exception: if you have only legacy players, sit tight and continue to use them, as long as you can.


Sitting tight is what I will do. I have a Play:5 and a Play:3, and no need to churn out circa 650 EUR to keep listening to music.

Sascha A. Carlin, 2020-01-24

A Play:5 1st gen is a legacy device, a Play:3 is a modern device.

Volker Weber, 2020-01-24

The way the trade up program was announced is problematic, I think this is now common sense.
What is fascinating to me are the numbers in your pic. I was angry, because I didn't understand, what will be that problematic to integrate at least upcomming updates in top streaming services for older HW - just streaming.
If I see now - 32MB Storage and Memory for Play:5.1 - ups. Why we talk about limited horse power - lets talk about, how SONOS could ride the dead horse that long (with the same SW they use for AMP, ONE or MOVE).

Michael Witzorky, 2020-01-24

It is both amazing and very limiting. If you look at the numbers you can see how much a Sonos household can improve when you drop legacy devices from the mix. That does not even take into account the better networking hardware and faster chipsets. Nobody wants to hear that but we should really recycle the old gear.

Volker Weber, 2020-01-24

Looking at your graph I see as well that my Play:3 and Playbar will be the next victims as that I now hesitate to replace my Play:5.1’s with Play:5.2’s since they also have little memory.
Only 1 and newer look safe.
Sorry to be so frank about it but this looks like slow learning. How long will a 5.2 last me, 3 years?

Tobias Hauser, 2020-01-24

There is a thing I don't understand and wonder about for days already.

> All players elect their "chief". If it dies, because you pulled the power cord, they will elect a different one.

Why don't they just priorize that "election" to favor the more powerful recent players to win that job and provide its services to the legacy devices? They even could produce some addon-boxes for this that don't do anything themselves but to provide newer features for the rest of the network.

Torsten Pinkert, 2020-01-24

I cannot explain why-questions. There can be a million reasons that you don't understand with this tiny bit of information.

Volker Weber, 2020-01-24

The redd.it thread that the graphic comes from has some interesting comments- worth reading.

I'd link to it, since some posters here seem to be able to do that, but I don't know how to... The link would be reddit(dot)com/r/sonos/comments/es42jk/32mb_no_longer_enough_chart_shows_installed_ram/, where the (dot) gets replaced with you-know-what!

John Keys, 2020-01-24

Well, you just let the dot in there and put the http in front. :-)


Volker Weber, 2020-01-24

@vowe: Well, why do you say "No HTML, no links" in the comment form then??
Just trying to be a good citizen!

John Keys, 2020-01-24

... well, perhaps to be honest, not so much trying to be a good citizen, but I think I tried to post a link a long time ago and it wasn't possible then! ;-)

John Keys, 2020-01-24

It's a leftover and confuses spammers. :-)

Volker Weber, 2020-01-24

This take surprises me. The CEO’s blog post is refreshingly clear in that he admits they made a mistake, and changed their plans. You seem to believe this was the plan all sling?

Stefan Tilkov, 2020-01-25

Yes, I do. I believe, they communicated poorly.

Volker Weber, 2020-01-25

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