Shouting out “Hey Sonos” to change the music might become a reality in your household in the next few weeks. Sonos is preparing to launch its anticipated voice control functionality in June, an exclusive leak from The Verge claims. It’ll exist as an alternative to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, which are already supported on select Sonos speakers and soundbars.
The Sonos Voice Control functionality will come packaged as part of an upcoming software update arriving on June 1, says the leak. All Sonos products running on the S2 software will get the ability.
Sonos Voice will supposedly work with various music services at launch, including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, Deezer, and — of course — Sonos Radio. However, Google’s YouTube Music and Spotify are glaringly missing from the list.
As previously reported, “Hey Sonos” will be the wake word for your Sonos devices, and any commands you give it are processed on the device. You’ll be able to use your voice to skip songs, adjust the volume, and even check on battery levels.
Sonos’ internal testing, the leak says, showed its voice control could run “core music tasks” faster than the two digital assistants from Google and Amazon. Its voice control feature will also supposedly be programmed to allow for “voice concurrency,” which lets you use two assistants on one device. For instance, you could use Alexa and the Assistant for smart controls and Sonos specifically for music playback.
It’ll be interesting to see this in play. My only other experience with a device-specific voice assistant is “Hey Portal” on the Portal Go, which I can experientially say will often think I’m talking to it when I’m not. The Portal Go also integrates with Alexa.
Sonos declined to comment to The Verge about this latest report on its voice control, and there is still no official announcement from the company despite all the past indications that this feature was coming.
Last year, Sonos started surveying to figure out how a voice assistant would serve its users as an alternative to Google and Amazon’s offerings. There have also been several job listings that have gone up that indicate the company is staffing up in preparation to build out this ability. And with Sonos’ recent win against Google for infringing on its audio patents, it’s looking for an edge to keep its ecosystem thriving against the two giants competing against it.
There appears to be a season of new Sonos hardware and software abilities on the horizon. Recently, other reports suggested that Sonos had an entry-level soundbar in the works, with a potential June 7 launch. Wouldn’t it be nice to pair that with a brand new, faster voice assistant than what’s out there? We’ll see if that’s Sonos’ play in the coming weeks.