YES! At long last, Sonos has announced it is integrating Alexa voice controls for its sound system hardware.
Sonos Owners Have Been Waiting For This…
At a special media event yesterday, Sonos announced integration of Alexa voice controls for its audio systems is currently in development. From Sonos’ press release:
Sonos owners with an Alexa-enabled device such as an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot will soon be able to use Amazon’s popular Alexa service to control their Sonos sound system, the companies announced. The software integration – collaboratively built from the ground up using the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) SDK– taps into both Sonos’ and Alexa’s existing music capabilities so owners don’t have to learn additional commands or key words. Simply ask Alexa to play your music from Amazon Music, Spotify and more and it will flow to any group of Sonos speakers in the home. By integrating Alexa into their Sonos sound systems, owners can use their voice to play, pause, skip, control volume and more.
These new voice capabilities will be delivered in a software update that will work with new and previously purchased Sonos and Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and Amazon Fire TV. The companies will begin rolling out the experience through an invite-only beta test later this year, with general availability in 2017.
You Read That Right: Multi-Speaker Synchronization Will Be A Thing!
One frustration for many owners of Alexa-enabled devices is that those devices can’t communicate with one another and have no “awareness” of one another. This is why you can’t use multiple Alexa devices as a kind of intercom system, and it’s also why it hasn’t been possible to play the same audio through multiple Alexa devices simultaneously.
But it is possible to play the same audio through multiple Sonos devices. As it says in the Sonos press release, after the integration update is released, owners of Sonos devices can “Simply ask Alexa to play your music from Amazon Music, Spotify and more and it will flow to any group of Sonos speakers in the home.” (emphasis mine).
At last, you’ll be able to start your music from an Alexa device in one room and have that same music piped simultaneously to every Sonos device in your home, or to a specific group of them.
How Do I Get An Invite For The Private Beta?!
An “invite-only” beta test generally means just what it sounds like: if you get an invite you’re in, and if you don’t, you’re not.
Since the press release quoted above does not include any information about how to let Sonos know you’d like an invite, it appears Sonos will be making its own decisions about which customers to put on that list. Still, since the finished integration is due early next year no one is going to have to wait too long for this.
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Lots of music fans who own Alexa enabled devices have been hanging back, uncertain whether or not to invest in high-end, Sonos audio equipment. At last, it’s safe to take the plunge! The SONOS PLAY: 1 Compact Smart Speaker is a great way to get started on a whole-home Sonos system. Currently (as of 8/30/16) rated 4.5/5 stars across over 2,200 reviews and priced at $199, this is a quality speaker that’s only going to get better with Alexa integration next year.
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