Sonos speakers are known for their endurance, so if you have an older model still chugging along, there's some bad news on the horizon. Several of Sonos' older models, including speakers manufactured in 2015, will no longer be receiving updates beyond May 2020.
Which Sonos models will no longer be supported?
Sonos models that will no longer receive feature updates from May include:
- All Sonos Zone Players (ZP80, ZP90, ZP100, ZP120, S5)
- Sonos ZoneBridge
- Sonos Connect (Manufactured 2011-2015)
- Sonos Connect:Amp (Manufactured 2011-2015)
- Sonos Play:5 (1st Gen)
- Sonos CR200
- Sonos Bridge
Some of these products are more than 10 years old, so discontinuing support makes sense. Unfortunately for those who bought a Sonos Connect or Sonos:Connect Amp in 2015, you're getting a bit of a bum deal.
Why will happen to my Sonos device?
From May 2020, these Sonos devices will no longer receive new updates. This means they won't receive any new features, including compatibility with any new streaming services that may pop up.
While feature updates will be discontinued, Sonos has announced the hardware will still receive bug and security fixes on an as-needed basis, so you'll still be able to use your Sonos without risking your network security.
What alternatives are there?
Sonos provides a trade-up program for owners of its products, and you are able to surrender older devices in exchange for a discount on new products. It's likely that the planned obsolescence of the announced devices is designed to encourage people to join the program, but while it's easy to be cynical, it is great to see Sonos promoting sustainability via ethical recycling.
The company recommends switching your device into Recycle Mode (which kills all device functionality), and dropping it off to your local certified e-recycling facility, or sending it back to Sonos via a prepaid shipping label.
Once that's complete, you are able to receive credit for 30% off any new Sonos product. It's not a huge saving, but if you're looking at an upgrade, it might be worthwhile.
Otherwise, your Sonos will continue to function, but with reduced functionality. Sonos told The Verge that it plans on introducing a "new way" for customers to use their existing legacy hardware separately from their other, newer devices. This step will become important, The Verge notes, because if one device on your Sonos network becomes obsolete, the entire system stops receiving essential updates. Details for this change are not currently available.
If you do have an older Sonos still in your speaker network, now's the time to check if it's subject to the this obsolescence. Because the change will apply to your entire network, it's important to consider creating a secondary system for older devices in May, when support ends. Keep an eye on the Sonos website for further instructions on how to keep your older devices properly functional.
Gizmodo Australia reached out to Sonos to confirm why this change will impact an entire Sonos network, and received the following response: "The reality is these are our oldest products and they have been stretched to their limits. They simply don’t have the memory or processing power to sustain software updates or new features." It confirmed that all Sonos products are required to be run on the same software, so networks containing legacy devices would be impacted by this change.