The likes of Samsung Bixby have struggled to make inroads in the smart assistant world, but that hasn’t stopped Sonos making its own. Called Voice Control, Sonos' own assistant can’t do the very thing you'll most want it to do.
The aptly named service allows you to control your music playback on any voice-capable Sonos speaker. At launch, though, Spotify isn't on the list of supported streaming services. You can use it for Sonos Radio, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, and Pandora but more will come later.
Sonos products already support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant but the firm says Voice Control is “created purely for listening on Sonos”, which makes sense. As well as offering ‘complete command’, privacy is a key element.
Unlike many rivals, all the commands are processed locally on the device and no audio recordings or transcripts are sent to the cloud, stored anywhere, or interacted with by anyone. Sonos also says this results in “faster response times, and effortless follow-ups."
The wake-up phrase is “Hey, Sonos” and you’ll be greeted by the voice of Giancarlo Esposito. He's best known for his roles as Gus Fring in Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, as well as Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian. More voices will be added in the future.
You can use the assistant to do things like control playback, move music between speakers, 'like' favourite songs and more.
Voice Control will be released in the US on 1 June and then in France later in the year. Although it’s an English-speaking country, Sonos says the UK, as well as other markets, are “to follow”, which won't be such welcome news for British Sonos owners.
Also announced today was the Sonos Ray, the firm’s cheapest soundbar yet at £279/$279. It comes in the usual black and white colours. Sonos has also added three new colourways called Olive, Wave and Sunset for the Roam (above).
The firm says the colours are "influenced by natural serenity, evening skies and outdoor living". They are on sale now at £179/$179.