SANTA BARBARA (dpa-AFX) – Speaker provider Sonos wants to offer its device users an alternative to the language assistants of the big tech companies. The software is designed closely for music use and will initially only be available in the USA from June. By the end of the year, Sonos customers in France will also be able to give commands to their French speakers. Sonos did not give a timetable for the other countries on Wednesday.
With the Sonos voice assistant, users will be able to control the playback of music, among other things, even in different rooms. The software called Sonos Voice Control can share a speaker with the Amazon Alexa voice assistant — then the programs go to the wake-up word. Such coexistence on a device that does not work with Google’s rival software assistant. Although they can be used in parallel in a single system, they must be run on different devices. Sonos and Google (Alphabet C (ex Google)) are stuck in a bitter patent dispute in court.
Sonos brought the technology for its language assistant home with the purchase of French company Snips in 2019. The preliminary work also explains why France will be the first stop in its international expansion. Data protection must ensure that all voice commands are processed on the devices themselves rather than online in the cloud. In the past, Sonos has indicated that customers have concerns about voice assistants from Google and Amazon, and so have launched models without the necessary microphones.
Sonos also revealed its lowest-cost speaker model on Wednesday. The little device called Sonos Ray is said to cost €299 in Germany – and the company says it doesn’t want to leave work with cheaper speakers for TVs to competitors. Previous Sonos speakers are much more expensive, priced at 999 and 499 euros. According to the latest information, the company has devices in 13 million households. / sso/DP / zb
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