August 30, 2017:Sonos preps smart-speaker launch amid Echo refresh rumours

Yesterday, we reported on a Sonos regulatory filing revealing a few details on its upcoming voice-controlled smart speaker.

Now we know when it’s likely to be launched officially: 4 October, judging by an invitation sent to journalists for an event in New York that day.

A Rolling Stones-esque pair of lips on the invitation makes the device’s voice focus clear: it’s expected to work with several smart assistants, including Alexa and Siri.

The news came as speculation began about the imminence of a new Echo speaker from Amazon, with stocks of its original speaker having run dry in the US (if not elsewhere in the world: you can still order it in the UK for example).

However, Amazon is already menacing Sonos in another way: yesterday it introduced multi-room support for Echo speakers, so that owners of several can control and synchronise their music playback throughout their homes. Cue voice commands like “Alexa, play John Mayer downstairs”.

For now, the new feature works with Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and Pandora, with Spotify and SiriusXM to follow, and tools for developers to support the feature from other music services too.

In separate Amazon news, it’s matching streaming rivals with a $4.99-a-month Amazon Music Unlimited offer for students.

Stuart Dredge
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