Sonos: Whats the Big Deal Anyhow?

I love my Sonos. I. Love. It.

Every now and then a company comes along and invents a transformative product that changes the status-quo. Founded in 2002, Sonos is an American company that brought “wireless audio” to the mass market. In 2005, two years before the first iPhone came out, Sonos introduced the ZP100, an amplifier that could play digital music files from a computer or networked hard drive. After changing the game, Sonos has helped lead the digital audio streaming revolution with its wireless speaker system. The company just went public, and I’m sure some people just became kazillionaires.

Many other companies have come to market with their own excellent wireless speaker solutions. Thirteen years after Sonos released its first product  Apple released its Home Pod. Amazon’s Alexa “smart speakers” have now surpassed Sonos in speaker sales, but that is not comparing apples to apples. Alexa, like Google speakers, is more of a “smart speaker” rather than a full-bodied audio solution. Besides, Alexa is now built in to the newer Sonos speakers, and Google will be baked right into Sonos in the near future. Anyhow, this is a growing space and now, more than ever, we consumers have plenty of exciting options to enjoy our music… with or without speaker wires.

A quick refresher: a “wireless speaker” isn’t completely wireless.

Speakers need power so most wireless speakers (except the few that offer battery power) actually do have a wire for power; all of Sonos’ speakers need to be plugged into an outlet. But a “wireless speaker” does not require a speaker wire as the amp and speaker are built into the same chassis (as opposed to the amp connected to speakers via speaker wires). This is handy because if running wire isn’t an option, we can now stream our music to multiple zones in the house – all you need to listen to “All the music on earth” (Sonos’ tagline) is a power outlet.

I love Sonos for the same reasons I love Apple. I like clean lines. It works reliably and is relatively simple and intuitive to use. Relative is the operative word here. Although Sonos is by no means as full-featured as many of its competitors, it does what it does very well. Other companies want their products to work with Sonos, so there is value-add in terms of functionality with other products. Sonos was the first to support Apple Music. It now supports Apple’s AirPlay and Alexa, and Google Assistant functionality is forthcoming. IFTT (If This Then That) now works with Sonos, Lutron, Logitech, Iport, 3rd party apps, etc. And even as Sonos innovates on the software side and it develops new hardware, its older hardware continues to last the test of time. Your Sonos will get better and work for the long haul.

Sonos also has one very important trick up its sleeve that, to my knowledge, no competitor does: Sonosnet.

Sonosnet is the dedicated and proprietary wireless mesh network that Sonos creates for its speakers. This means its speakers work wirelessly outside of the range of traditional Wifi. And, the more speakers you add, the better it gets. Think flexible placement. Think reliability.

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