As well as launching its new Ray soundbar, Sonos has just unveiled its very own voice control system which, in a fairly Dulux manner, it's calling Sonos Voice Control. As is perhaps indicated by the name, this isn't a full voice assistant in the mould of Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant, but instead simply a way of operating your Sonos system hands-free.
That may make Sonos Voice Control sound somewhat limited in scope, but it has one particularly appealing characteristic: it's supremely secure and private. That's primarily because rather than sending voice commands to the cloud before a response is provided, all Sonos Voice Control requests are handled locally, by the device to which you're talking. No communication with the cloud; no potential for invasion of your digital privacy.
Sonos Voice Control works with every voice-capable Sonos speaker, including favourites such as the One, Beam and Arc. Essentially, if you have a Sonos speaker that already supports Alexa, it will also support Sonos Voice Control when it launches.
Unfortunately, said launch is quite a long way away for all regions except the US, where it will arrive on 1st June. Sonos has said that Voice Control will be available in France 'later this year' and that other countries, including the UK, are 'to follow'.
So what sort of things will you be shouting at your Sonos when Voice Control does arrive? First, the wake phrase is "Hey Sonos", which can be followed by instructions such as "turn it up", "play Do Ya Wanna Taste It", "skip" and "play this everywhere". Perhaps best of all, the voice of Sonos Voice Control is provided by Giancarlo Esposito, aka Gus Fring from Breaking Bad. Sonos says more voices will be added over time, but we frankly can't think of anything better than talking to The Chicken Man.
New Roam colours and Lorde on Sonos Radio
In other Sonos news, the Roam is being launched in three new colours: Olive, Wave and Sunset (green, blue and orange to those of us with a more basic colour vocabulary). The Roam is available in these new colours right now, and there's no increase in the existing price of £179 / $179 / AU$299, though it's worth noting that that is itself an increase on the launch price of £159 / $169 / AU$279.
Finally, Sonos has also announced that it's launching a new Sonos Radio station in partnership with New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde. Named SOLARSYSTM, this new station is, according to Lorde herself, "like stepping into my brain, giving listeners a front row seat to the songs that have meant a ton to me and my life”. If that interests you, SOLARSYSTM should be available via your Sonos speaker right about now.
Everything you need to know about the new Sonos Ray soundbar
Here's our Sonos Ray vs Sonos Beam comparison