There have been quite a few leaks and rumors regarding Sonos in the past few weeks, particularly one surrounding an upcoming soundbar that will cost $249, making it the most affordable soundbar that Sonos will offer. But the latest leak is that Sonos is reportedly gearing up to launch something else: its first voice assistant.
According to The Verge's Chris Welch, the voice assistant will be called Sonos Voice and will respond to the wake phrase "Hey Sonos." It's not clear if Sonos Voice will work in tandem or an alternate to Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant, both of which are already supported on Sonos speakers.
Sonos will likely position its voice assistant as more private and more secure to Amazon and Google's alternatives, according to Welch. So it likely won't be as smart at answering your queries (if it can answer your queries at all), but consumers won't have to worry about creepy ad-targeting.
From a Sonos perspective, it's pretty easy to understand why it is getting into the voice assistant game. It gets more people saying the Sonos name and, later on, I'm sure they'll reveal ways to monetize the voice assistant (just like how Amazon allows you to order things online with Alexa voice commands).
But from a consumer perspective, the influx of so many voices has become tiresome. Off the top of my head, I can think of a number of tech companies that have introduced voice assistants — "Hey Spotify," "Hey Pandora," and "Hey Skullcandy." They've become so prevalent, but not really all that memorable or useful. At least, not yet.
It's going to be interesting to see what Sonos's upcoming voice assistant will be able to do. As somebody who listens to Sonos speakers pretty much every day, I hope that it'll be really useful in naming facts about songs and artists (similar to Siri with Apple Music). Or maybe, for people with multiple Sonos speakers in their home, you'll say "Hey Sonos" and play music on a particular speaker or speaker group.
Either way, we'll have to wait and see whether Sonos Voice will be a useful voice assistant or, like many others, one that you probably will never use.
You can read The Verge's story that broke the news on Sonos's voice assistant, here.