Article about Sonos prospects, framed out against Apple and Google smart speakers. One of Sonos named advantage is their sound quality vs. the others (some here may chuckle). Sonos is public company but has been down since its listing. At the end of the article it talks about Sonos extensive number of patents and IP.
Very interesting article Rob, thanks for sharing this :-). It is an interesting time for Sonos for sure. I think that they are good at the core of what they do: Easy, discreet and reliable whole home audio. Patents are also valuable as ‘firm capabilities’ that can potentially translate into competitive advantage. I feel that the
increasing challenges (as the article also highlights) are mainly the evolving customer needs and the competition. Integrating voice and airplay 2 while also accelerating the rate of new product launches, appears to have stretched their available resources quite a bit. Alexa integration has been bumpy and it seems to have resulted into a user experience decline. It is not surprising as before all this new ‘smart’ speaker wave, Sonos developed and controlled everything in house (similar to apple) so they could ensure a relatively bug-free experience. Having to integrate Alexa (and even airplay 2) seems to be challenging that. Did they need to go the ‘voice’ way? I guess the target market expects this and direct competitors offer it so…
It will be interesting to see how they perform in the medium term but also I wander if they will be able to maintain a good enough sound quality alongside the added tech complexity (voice integration) they are tackling. Finite resources spreading over multiple goals and their financial performance does not offer them a lot of leeway.
All this was not such an issue for them a few years ago. The target market did not expect voice services and competition was not strong. How things change…
Not sure if Roon folk belong to the Sonos target market Not even sure about how good Sonos SQ is (at least referring to speakers and soundbars). Excluding voice integration and assuming one uses the native app, they are extremely reliable, stable and easy to use.
Sonos filled a desire I’ve had for several years – wireless synchronized music throughout my house. The friend who showed me Sonos convinced me about TIDAL, which is how I found my way to Roon.
It’s possible I wouldn’t have gotten Sonos if I had Roon first, but I’m really not sure. I <3 <3 <3 my Sonos setup.
Pat, totally agree the wireless sync is a major plus for Sonos. The reliability and ease of use is super.
Out of curiosity, do you use Sonos devices exclusively or do you also have other end points?
I’m not an audiophile,so who knows, but to my ears, they sound great. I have two Play:5 in stereo paired with a sub and four Play:1s scattered around the rest of my rooms.
Roon and Sonos are perfect for another type of customer, the Tinkerers. Both of these companies have easy to use APIs that allow us to have fun and create our own applications. Roon’s API is still just a pup, but if they continue to release more functionality I’ll be happy.
Sonos has, IMO, created one of the worst music browsing experiences ever made. Their controller is the worst piece of music software (UI/UX) I’ve ever used. I literally listened to less music the first couple of months I bought my speakers because their app is so horrible.
That’s where Roon came into the picture. With their incredible work on the controller-side, I finally have a perfect setup.
They did make a rather nice dedicated controller, the CR100, which was/is really easy to use for browsing - arguably much better than their oft-redesigned smartphone apps. Sadly they forcibly and deliberately killed it with a recent firmware update, which didn’t go down very well with the old-timers (like me).
(A little off topic, sorry, but I got it off my chest!)
Airplay 2 has made Sonos much more flexible.