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October 4, 2017

Sonos One is the company’s first speaker with built-in voice control

by John_A

Sonos wasn’t shy about promising a voice-controlled speaker at its October 4th event, and it’s delivering. It’s introducing the Sonos One, its first speaker with voice control built-in. It looks like a Play:1 on the outside, but it has a six-microphone array to pick up your spoken commands and lighting to indicate when voice control is active. It’ll support Alexa out of the box, but Sonos says it’s open to using other voice assistants — in fact, Google Assistant will be coming in 2018.

You’ll have access to Alexa’s skills from the get-go, of course, but the big deal is that you can control playback entirely through voice if you like. You can tell the One to play music on specific Sonos speakers or throughout your entire home, for instance. And if you prefer to use apps, newly-added support for direct control and (in 2018) Apple’s AirPlay 2 lets you skip Sonos’ own controller software in favor of the likes of Audible, iHeartRadio or Tidal.

The speaker will cost $199 when it ships on October 24th, which is decidedly pricier than your typical smart speaker but on par with the One’s voiceless precursor. Sonos is clearly betting that its reputation for good sound and its experience with whole-home audio will justify a premium. The catch, of course, is that Amazon, Apple and Google aren’t standing still.

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