Sonos considering a hi-fi Bluetooth speaker with a twist

What you need to know

  • Sonos is holding private briefings on August 26 and 27 in New York.
  • FCC documents and other leaks point to a refreshed Connect and a new Bluetooth/Wi-Fi speaker.
  • The new speaker will support Wi-Fi for whole-home sound when connected to a dock.
  • While in Bluetooth mode, it will act like any other Bluetooth speaker.
  • Sonos is also working on an automatic version of its Trueplay audio calibration.

We already know that Sonos is set to unveil something on August 26 and 27 in New York — the company sent invitations to private press briefings this past week — but new FCC documents uncovered by Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny! and corroborated by The Verge point to two major product announcements.

The unannounced Sonos Wi-Fi/Bluetooth speaker

The first is a new version of Sonos’s ageing Connect product, which connects powered speakers to an existing Sonos system. The current $349 Connect is nearly a decade old and doesn’t support many modern inputs. Sonos released it’s $599 Amp last year, which allows traditional non-powered speakers to work with Sonos systems, so it makes sense a Connect refresh would be forthcoming.

But more interesting is the appearance of a speaker, whose name hasn’t yet leaked but all of its other pertinent details we’ve now learned. In traditional Sonos fashion, the speaker appears to be well-built, with a rubberized base, mesh speaker grills and metal frame, along with capacitive buttons up top. The Vergelearned that it sits on a base to provide power, and can easily be transitioned between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth depending on the audio source.

While the Sonos One has a Bluetooth LE radio to facilitate easier setup, this would be the perfect Bluetooth-supported Sonos speaker, allowing phones to connect to it to play music and other audio content. Presumably, the speaker has a sizeable battery inside it and appears to charge via USB-C when not in the dock.

When docked, the speaker will operate like any other Sonos speaker, connecting to a household system for whole-home audio, or sync with another identical speaker to create a stereo pair. According to the leaks, the speaker is larger and wider than the Sonos One, and also supports hands-free Google Assistant and Alexa.

When in Bluetooth mode, the speaker is separate from the Sonos ecosystem and is fully controlled by the phone connected to it, which may come as a disappointment to some looking for a fuller-featured Bluetooth speaker in the style of Ultimate Ears’ BOOM series, but there may be more to the story than we know right now.

Finally, Sonos is reportedly working on a new version of Trueplay that would use its built-in microphones to optimize audio output. Right now, Trueplay is performed exclusively through the company’s iOS app and is a fussy manual process.

With the Play:1 at $149 and the Sonos One at $199, one would expect this new speaker to fall somewhere in the middle, though it’s possible, given its extra size and feature set, it may be one of the more expensive Bluetooth speakers you’ll be able to buy.

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