Strike #2 for SONOS

A few years ago, Sonos made a terrible mistake. They wanted to abandon the earliest models and upgrade their customers to newer hardware, because the new software would no longer run on the old hardware. Sonos offered a discount, if and only if the customers provided proof that they destroyed the old gear. Heck, they even added a feature to their software to facilitate this destruction, turning Zoneplayers into expensive paperweights.

The most loyal customers were pissed. And since this incident we have Sonos S1 and Sonos S2.

Now Sonos did it again. They rolled out a new software, which — without warning — disabled many core features like the ability to play your own MP3 collection, building queues for what to play next, working on playlists, setting timers and alarms. Blind people were no longer able to use their Sonos gear because there are no affordances for screen readers.

The software was incomplete and Sonos knew it. Still, they threw their existing customers under the bus, because Sonos needs the new software to ship a new product: headphones.

How hard could it be for Sonos to admit defeat, roll back to the previous version and give their customers the complete experience back, while they finish the new software BEFORE shipping it?

Give customers a choice, Sonos. This was strike #2. I am not sure you get a third one.

Sonos has a plan to fix the new software

Here is when Sonos wants to bring back the features they “forgot” in the new update:

  • Screen reader for visually impaired customers: May 21
  • Adding and editing alarms: May 21
  • Adding to queue and playing next: early June
  • Sleep timer: mid-June
  • Local music library search and playback: mid-June 
  • Update Wi-Fi settings: mid-June

Let’s just say that Sonos customers have not been thrilled. I had already split ways with the company when they asked their old customers to destroy old gear in exchange for a discount for new gear.

Neue Ära bei Sonos

Interessanter Verge-Artikel zu den zwei neuen Sonos-Speakern, die im März erscheinen sollen. Ich fasse mal die wichtigsten Neuerungen zusammen.

  • Era 100 sieht wie ein Play:1/One-Nachfolger mit zwei Tweetern für Stereosound aus. Era 300 ist komplett neu. USP: Spatial Audio, wie etwa der Apple HomePod 2.
  • Beide Speaker haben neue Inputs: Bluetooth 5.0 und USB-C. Per USB-C kann man direkt Audio vom Computer einspielen. Sonos wird einen Klinkenadapter anbieten und einen kombinierten Adapter mit Ethernet.
Sonos Era 300 (Bild: The Verge)

Diese Änderungen öffnen die Speaker für mehr Use Cases. Bluetooth-Streaming, AirPlay 2, Line-In, das fehlt in dieser Breite bisher. Man wird also direkt einen Plattenspieler am Era 100 anschließen können, das ging bisher nur mit dem Play:5/Five. HomePods haben keine Bluetooth-Streaming und kein Line-In, Echo Studio hat kein AirPlay 2.

Sonos Era 100

Alexa wird an Bord sein, zusätzlich zum Sonos-Sprachassistenten. Die Mikros dienen auch der Klanganpassung und lassen sich per Schalter komplett vom Strom trennen. Spatial Sound kommt von Amazon Music. Die Situation bei Apple Music ist unklar, ebenfalls die bei Googe Assistant. Das könnte ein Fallout des Rechtsstreits mit Google sein.

How I hacked SONOS and YouTube the same day

Didelot Maurice-Michel:

So, that take us to the subject of playing YouTube videos. Even if YouTube videos are publicly available and their content are free, SONOS can’t play them without the use of YouTube Music which is not cool. YouTube is a big place for finding music, especially old live concert, or forgotten songs.

So, “How do we play YouTube videos on a SONOS ?”.

In our path of digging into the SONOS system, we’ll discover exotic audio format, interesting stream management techniques, and how we can abuse innocent features, “for fun and profit”.

A very cool hack. We will have to see how long it lasts.

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