Sonos
Sonos is set to focus on the user experience in 2014, and has confirmed that no new products are likely to be released this year, and that it sees no interest in high-res audio

Sonos has said that the company's focus for this year will be developing the Sonos user experience and that it's unlikely that we will see new Sonos products in 2014.

The company also said it was unlikely that we would see support for Bluetooth streaming or high-res audio playback on Sonos any time soon. Sonos currently supports CD-quality streaming but not 192kHz/24-bit music.

Sonos launched two new products in 2013, the Playbar and the Play:1, both of which received glowing five-star reviews, but this year the focus will be on software not hardware, as demonstrated by the launch of a new Sonos controller app on a completely new platform.

Yasser Rashid, Senior Director of User Experience at Sonos, told What Hi-Fi?: "This year the focus is user experience, building on a new platform which will allow us to roll out services faster and bring an enhanced UI and fresh look and feel.

More after the break

"The behind-the-scenes stuff is important and the new platform ensures we can meet consumers demands."

While Sonos acknowledged the new players in the wireless multiroom speaker market, saying "it was always good to get competition from the likes of Samsung and Bose", Tom Lodge, European PR and Culture Manager at Sonos, confirmed that "2014 is unlikely to see any new Sonos products". 

MORE:  Sonos reviews

High-res audio support doesn't look to be on the Sonos roadmap, either. "I don't see any great appetite for that [high-res audio] at Sonos. They don't see the value in 24-bit streaming audio for users," said Lodge.

Bluetooth audio also got a flat "no" response. Sonos does of course already offer direct streaming from your phone or tablet music library, and it's possible to add AirPlay using an Airport Express and a Sonos product with an aux input.

It does however look likely that we will be seeing new music services added to Sonos, with the new app said to be "the first of a series of updates coming this year, with developments in coming weeks and months". Watch this space, then.

Is there a new Sonos product you'd like to see? Or are you happy that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Let us know in the comments below.

MORE: New Sonos controller app launches in beta mode

MORE: Sonos Buying Guide

 

by  Joe Cox

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Comments

Jeff Allen's picture

Wrong Answer, Sonos.

As a long-time (i.e, since 2009) Sonos user and unpaid evangelist, I'm disappointed to hear the harware pipline is drying up--especially given the fact that focusing on user experience usually translates into "we're working on the software." In my opinion, one of Sonos' greatest strengths has always been their stellar user experience. Granted the user interface was due for a facelift (which they just recently released--and which IMO makes it harder to use), but if it wasn't for their great app, I think it would be a far less awesome product. Still, you can never fault a tech company for working on user experience. My irritation with their statement above, however, comes from the fact that the hardware teams are not usually the software teams in these kinds of companies. So why would they have to work on UX to the exclusion of hardware--whose UX consists of two buttons? They should be able to do BOTH simultaneously.

Where do I think they should focus their R&D instead? 1) A more powerful solution for built-in speakers. The current Connect Amp is under-powered for $500, plus at that price point, it should be able to drive two zones or four speakers. 2) A solution for software-based zones. I'm often in a room on my laptop, or outside working in the yard on my phone and I want to listen to what's playing on the Sonos, but I'm not in a zone. I should be able to listen through my speakers or headphones through a mobile or desktop app, but there's no way to do it. I know it seems like it would cannibalize sales of their hardware, but they could easily prevent or minimize that by only allowing you to "listen in" on a zone, or something similar. The value prop of the hardware is sufficient that they could give me that ability without hurting their business. 3) A weather/waterproof Play. I would love a way to take my music into the shower, or outside by the pool without having to worry about it getting ruined. Maybe ruggedize it? Maybe even make it rechargeable so I could pull it out of a cradle and take it with me wherever I go (ghetto blaster anyone?) 4) Bridge in the Cloud. Almost everytime we go on vacation, my kids go into Sonos withdrawls. They miss their music on a nice full-sound speaker. Sonos needs to develop a VPN, or some other network proxy service to allow me to extend my Sonos network beyond the range of my home network. My Play:5 could connect to another WiFi network, and then traverse the Internet to connect to a Bridge in the Sky, or back to my home network Bridge, giving me all of my music on the go. This could lead to a solution for listening in the car from Sonos, too.

I know a lot of this stuff could be pieced together with existing componentry, and I know I can (and I do) access my music services directly from my phone and computer, but that's the magic of Sonos--they let me do it all in one clean, easy-to-use system.

Alas, I am one voice, so I don't expect this to change anything. Regardless, I'm still buying more Sonos and convincing my friends to do the same.