A week removed from its 14th birthday, web-connected speaker company Sonos had a lot to share during an event held this morning (Aug. 30) at NeueHouse, a high-end co-working space located two blocks from Madison Square Park in Manhattan.
Through an event which dutifully ticked off the standardized must-haves of a technology company presentation -- excitement, length, features-that-help-better-integrate-said-tech-into-your-life, a token celebrity (Pusha T was seated in front of Amazon's Mike George, the latter who grinned widely throughout), understatedly fine t-shirt selections -- Sonos revealed some small, and large, changes to its popular product line.
The headline news, as that Amazon exec's presence indicated, is that Sonos and Amazon have made Amazon's voice-assistant software Alexa, via its smart-speaker product line Echo, play nicely with Sonos' speakers. During his presentation, George, in cowboy boots that looked to be made of orc leather, called the partnership "inevitable." It will allow users of both products (an Echo device is required) to voice-direct playback on their smart speakers at home. Voice technologies more generally have had a growth spurt in sophistication this year, and the pairing of Sonos with a leader in the space -- Amazon, Google, Hound and to a lesser extent (for now), Apple -- was indeed inevitable. That Sonos' new friend is Amazon isn't surprising, considering that Amazon's introduction of the Echo jumpstarted consumer interest in the space. Sonos and Amazon are expected to launch in beta later this year, with a "full voice experience," according to George, planned for 2017.