Sonos's first Bluetooth speaker details revealed

Portable audio comes to Sonos

by Andy Bassett Aug 12, 2019 at 11:16 AM

  • Hi-Fi News


    Sonos's first Bluetooth speaker details revealed
    Sonos has long had a reputation as an innovator in wireless speaker technology but one thing has always been missing from its portfolio - a portable Bluetooth speaker. Has the company finally played catchup?
    First revealed by The Verge after a post on Zatz Not Funny, an FCC filing for communications compliance looks to confirm Sonos' plans for its very first Bluetooth speaker. Filings with the FCC only take place once a product is in its final form, so market release could be very soon and this seems to fit in with the pair of invitations that were sent out last week for press only events at the end of August and beginning of September, just prior to IFA 2019.

    Two devices were mentioned in the FCC filing, and while initial speculation settled on headphones, The Verge’s investigations indicate that one could be an updated version of the Sonos Connect while the other is the longtime requested Bluetooth speaker - something that will imbue Sonos with a missing ingredient - portability.

    The filing provides evidence of the new speaker in as much as Sonos states the device is “a high-performance wireless speaker and part of the Sonos sound system. The device’s primary function will be for streaming with Wi-Fi, but also features Bluetooth audio streaming and Bluetooth Low Energy, used for simplified setup.”

    This will be the first time Sonos has included Bluetooth for audio streaming and the fact that Sonos’s established Wi-Fi streaming is also featured means listeners will have access to the best of both streaming worlds.

    The information in the filing also states the speaker features 45W of power and a USB-C port for charging via a base unit. There’s no word whether this charging station is a separate accessory but it appears that charging can also take place over USB-C without it.

    An image subsequently shared by Zatz Not Funny shows the speaker fits in with current Sonos design language but is more cylindrical than the Sonos One. The top panel capacitive controls are largely unchanged and there are 6 small apertures, presumably for the mic array to pick up vocal commands for the digital assistant - either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

    The Verge reports that there is a hardware toggle switch to select either Bluetooth of Wi-Fi modes. Sources indicate that when in Bluetooth mode the speaker is independent of the Sonos app and voice commands are not available. It notes that Apple’s Airplay 2 is also supported.

    Finally, also mentioned is the presence of a feature called Auto Trueplay which will use the speaker’s on-board microphones to measure the room characteristics and optimally adjust the audio output for the environment. This is already available using the Trueplay feature on the Sonos app in conjunction with a smartphone microphone, but automating the process seems sensible since the portable nature of the speaker means it will frequently find itself in different locations.

    Have any AVForums' Sonos fans been looking forward to portable hardware from the company? Will it go on your wishlist? Let us know in the discussion thread.

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