Sonos is an American consumer electronics company based in Santa Barbara, California. It was founded in 2002 by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen, and Trung Mai, and is currently run by Patrick Spence. Sonos is widely known for the smart speakers it develops and manufactures. Sonos products are designed to allow speakers to play music simultaneously in multiple rooms.
|Traded as||NASDAQ: SONO|
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The company has partnered with several dozen companies that offer music services, including Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, MOG, QQ Music, and Amazon Music. Sonos products work with the major voice assistants: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple's Siri.
- 1 Product Line
- 2 History
- 3 Technical Issues and Changes
- 4 Critical and Popular Reactions
- 5 Locations
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The company currently offers seven powered speakers: three smart speakers (ONE, ONE SL, and PLAY:5), two soundbars (PLAYBAR and BEAM), a television sound system (PLAYBASE), and a subwoofer (SUB). It also offers the AMP to drive unpowered speaker pairs and the PORT to link a Sonos system to conventional audio equipment such as amplifiers and CD players. The company recently added its first portable rechargeable battery powered speaker (Move).
Corporate, Financial, and Marketing HistoryEdit
During 2004, MacFarlane brought prototypes of the first Sonos products to several industry events including the June 2004 "D2: All Things Digital" conference in Carlsbad, California, where Steve Jobs told MacFarlane that the Sonos controller's scroll wheel might violate Apple patents related to the iPod, and the December 2004 Digital Music Summit.
In May 2005, Sonos announced that its initial product line would go on sale in the United Kingdom in the following month. The company has continued to broaden its international sales, for example to Japan in 2018.
In May 2012, Sonos announced the Sonos Studio, a studio and art gallery in which art was exhibited along with Sonos' products for free, and featured events with artists like Beck, The Lonely Island, Solange and others, and released a video about its development.
In December 2013, the company was estimated to have raised $118 million in venture funding, including a $25 million round; Its investors included Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Redpoint Ventures and Elevation Partners.
In January 2015, Sonos was rebranded by Bruce Mau Design, with a new visual identity and improved logotype that was created over the span of four years, from 2011 to 2014. There have been other brand refreshes, including one in 2019.
In January 2017, MacFarlane announced via the company's blog that he would be stepping down from his role as CEO, and that he would be succeeded in this position by former COO Patrick Spence.
In August 2018, Sonos went public, trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol SONO.
History of Sonos ProductsEdit
Products announced by Sonos (excluding several smaller or less-important ones) have been:
- June 2004 - Sonos announced its first products—the Digital Music System consisting of two components, the ZonePlayer and the Controller (later renamed as the ZP100 and CR100, respectively) -- then expected to be available in fall 2004. The products were introduced at the January 2005 Consumer Electronics Show. They first shipped either on January 27, 2005, or March 2005.
- January 2006 - the unamplified ZonePlayer ZP80, with analog and digital input and output connections to link a user's Sonos system to their traditional amplifier.
- August 2008 - the ZonePlayer120 (ZP120, later CONNECT:AMP), replacing the ZP100, and the ZonePlayer90 (ZP90, later CONNECT), replacing the ZP80.
- October 2008 - a free Controller app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, reducing the need for Sonos' separate controllers. Controller apps were later released for other IOS devices and for Android.
- July 2009 - the CR200, a second handheld controller to replace the CR100, with a touch screen rather than the CR100's scroll wheel. Sales of the CR200 were discontinued in 2012. Existing CR200 controllers continue to operate, however there are reports of touchscreen failures which cannot be repaired.
- November 2009 - the ZonePlayer S5 (later PLAY:5), the first independent Sonos-connected amplified speaker.
- July 2011 - the PLAY:3, a second, smaller, amplified speaker in its Play lineup of smart speakers.
- May 2012 - the SUB wireless subwoofer.
- February 2013 - the PLAYBAR soundbar speaker.
- October 2013 - the PLAY:1, a third, compact, smart speaker.
- February 2015 - Sonos announced the limited edition Blue Note PLAY:1, a collaboration with Blue Note Records, which went on sale in March. There have been other similar Sonos releases, available for limited times, such as a Beastie Boys PLAY:5 and a series of Sonos Ones in five new colors developed by the Danish design firm HAY.
- September 2015 - A new ("2nd gen") PLAY:5 speaker was announced, and pre-orders began in October.
- March 2017 - the PLAYBASE, a soundbase to go under a television.
- October 2017 - the SONOS ONE, a small connected speaker with voice control. A key feature of whole house systems starting in 2017 was the adoption of Amazon's Alexa as a third-party voice controller.
- April 2018 - production of the PLAY:3 was discontinued, effective July 31.
- June 2018 - the Sonos Beam, a soundbar with voice control, was announced.
- August 2018 - An updated version of the Sonos Amp was unveiled, with a planned limited release in December.
- March 2019 - A second-generation Sonos One, with Bluetooth LE connectivity, a faster processor, and more memory.
- August 2019 - The first two products resulting from the IKEA-Sonos collaboration, called SYMFONISK, a small bookshelf speaker and a combination table-lamp/speaker, became available from IKEA.
- September 2019 - The introduction of the first battery operated Sonos speaker called Move. The speaker is portable and has the rating of IP56 making it humidity, heat, and cold resistance. It uses an indoor charging base and claims to play up to 10 hours on a full charge. Sonos also announced the One SL, a version of its One without voice control, replacing the Play:1, and the Port, an updated version of the Connect, to add Sonos functionality into an existing, wired stereo system.
History of Outside Services SupportedEdit
In April 2005, Sonos announced that its products could play music from Rhapsody, the first of many music services that its products would support. Starting in September 2006 Sonos supported Rhapsody from its own Controller without use of a PC. Subsequently added services include:
- Sirius XM (February 2011).
- MOG (May 2011).
- Spotify (July 2011).
- QQ Music, with collaboration from Tencent (May 2012).
- Amazon Cloud Player (August 2012).
- Amazon Music (October 2015).
- Apple Music (February 2016).
Second logo, used until 2015 as part of the rebrand by Bruce Mau Design.
Technical Issues and ChangesEdit
Multiple Sonos devices in a single household are connected to each other wirelessly, through a wired ethernet network, or a mixture of the two. The Sonos system creates a proprietary AES-encrypted peer-to-peer mesh network, known as SonosNet. This allows for each unit to play any chosen input and if desired share it as synchronized audio with one or more other chosen zones. The first versions of SonosNet required a single ZonePlayer or ZoneBridge to be wired to a network for access to LAN and Internet audio sources or when creating a 3.1/5.1 surround setup. SonosNet 2.0 integrated MIMO on 802.11n hardware, providing a more robust connection. Later, the company added support for connecting to an existing Wi-Fi network for internet connectivity, removing the wired network requirement. Sonos devices do not have power buttons, and the company claims that each speaker consumes 4–8W in idle/standby.
In November 2015, a tuning feature called Trueplay was released in a software update. Trueplay tunes the output of Sonos smart speaker units to the acoustics of the room they are in. The initial tuning process requires the use of a suitable Apple smartphone or tablet.
Critical and Popular ReactionsEdit
In November 2004, the Sonos Digital Music System won the "Best of Audio" award at the 2005 CES Innovations Design and Engineering awards.
A February 2005 Macworld review of the first Sonos system explains its basic idea.
Reviews of, and popular reception to, Sonos products has generally been positive.
Stores and resellersEdit
The company's products are mostly resold through vendors, such as Best Buy, Apple and Target. However, online retailers, such as Amazon.com and Crutchfield, also play in the role of distributing and reselling the products manufactured by the company. According to a press release in November 2011, the company had over 6,300 retail locations that housed their products in North America.
There are currently 12 offices operated by Sonos independently. These are located in Australia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Santa Barbara CA (US), Seattle WA (US), Sweden, and the United Kingdom. An engineering office was present in Boston as of 2017.
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