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Generation Change – Sonos S2 App and first devices now available

Before the three new solutions from Sonos Inc., the first hardware systems explicitly designed for Sonos S2, were available, the new generation of software was available. Now, two days later, the Sonos Arc, Sonos Five and Sonos Sub (Gen 3) solutions are also available.

As early as mid-March 2020, Sonos Inc. announced that it was moving to a new software platform, the Sonos S2 software platform – we reported. When Sonos presented new hardware solutions in May 2020, the Sonos Arc soundbar, the successor to Sonos PLAY:5 in the form of the new Sonos Five, and a new subwoofer, the Sonos Sub (Gen 3), these plans were put into concrete terms and it was announced that this completely new generation of software would be introduced in mid-June 2020, said Sonos S2, based around the new Sonos S2 App.

From the perspective of Sonos Inc., the new software would open a new chapter for the former leader in multi-room audio streaming. In addition to providing improvements in ease of use and flexibility, the company said it would also take quality to a new level by supporting “high-definition audio formats” for the first time. This is all the more astonishing as the company has been convinced for years that there is no demand for this anyway…

The new Sonos S2 software platform offers new features, usability updates and more personalization, Sonos Inc. promises, adding that Sonos S2 will allow higher resolution audio technologies for music, but most importantly for home theater, which is especially important with the new Sonos Arc soundbar, which is the first to support formats such as Dolby Atmos.

While the new hardware systems Sonos Arc, Sonos Five and Sonos Sub (3 Gen) will be launched on June 10, 2020, the update to Sonos S2 was available on June 8, 2020, as promised. This marks the beginning of what the manufacturer sees as an important generation change at Sonos Inc.

While Sonos Inc. continues to emphasize that the upcoming update will be easy to implement and will benefit a wide range of customers, there are a few things to consider. For example, switching to Sonos S2 is irreversible, which in principle is not a problem if you’re only using solutions that are already equipped for Sonos S2. Admittedly, there are a number of products that have been released in recent years that can easily be upgraded to Sonos S2, but some long-time users will still have a few products that can’t.

The following solutions are definitely not upgradable to Sonos S2: Sonos ZONE PLAYER, Sonos CR200, Sonos BRIDGE, Sonos CONNECT (Gen 1), Sonos CONNECT AMP (Gen 1) and Sonos PLAY:5 (Gen 1). These systems do not have enough memory or performance to meet the new requirements of the Sonos S2 platform, according to the manufacturer.

All other systems should be easily upgradeable to the latest software generation, including those devices that Sonos Inc. produces in cooperation with the Swedish furniture store Ikea.

Customers who only own solutions that are not suitable for updating will not receive any update recommendation and will continue to be able to use the Sonos app to control their products in the future, Sonos Inc. promises. The only difference is that the Sonos app will be called the Sonos S1 app. Sonos Inc. promises to continue to provide bug fixes and security patches to these customers, and will continue to work with partners to provide a variety of services to customers using the Sonos S1 app.
Customers who are using solutions that are already compatible with Sonos S2 will be able to update their Sonos S1 app, but interestingly, the new app will simply be called the Sonos app.

All products launched now are designed exclusively for Sonos S2, according to Sonos Inc.

It’s a little more complex for those who have both new and old products in use and want to continue using them. They have no choice but to create two “households” so that the old ones are in a separate cluster under the control of the Sonos S1, and the new ones are in a second cluster under the control of the new Sonos App and therefore the Sonos S2 software platform. This means that it is not possible to actually mix the two platforms.

A trade-up program offered by the manufacturer could therefore be of interest to customers with existing S1 products. As part of this offer, a 30 percent discount will be granted on all new products.

Getting to the point

The promises that Sonos Inc. is making around the new Sonos Arc are very full-bodied. They say that it is more than just a soundbar, because the Sonos Arc not only provides perfect sound for TV, movies, series and games, but also offers a streaming system for the playback of various content in unique quality. The Sonos Arc is designed to deliver the most immersive cinema sound at home through software-assisted audio with detailed sound, crystal-clear dialogue, impressive bass and Dolby Atmos compatibility. Also new is the Sonos Sub: 3rd generation and the Sonos Five, the successor to the Sonos PLAY:5. But if this is to be the “big hit” with which Sonos Inc. wants to assert itself again against the numerous competitors and their platforms…

Manufacturer:Sonos Inc.
Distribution:Sonos Inc.
Price:Sonos Arc € 899,-
Sonos: Sub 3. Generation € 799,-
Sonos Five € 579,-
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.at, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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