Damn! Sonos’ newest products show just how smart the company is

Sonos is a fascinating company. In the 20 years since its inception, the business has carved out an enviable niche with its multi-room audio service.

In fact, it’s hard to think of any other consumer technology company that holds such a sway over the market. From TVs to headphones, laptops to games consoles, there are few companies that dominate their spaces quite like Sonos.

This isn’t to say the company doesn’t have competitors — I’ve written in great depth about my adoration of Bluesound gear and Bose has been in this sphere for some time — it’s just that they’re not on equal footing.

For example, Bluesound isn’t quite doing the same thing, as its focus is more on the audiophile community. Secondly, while many of us could name a competitor to, say, Microsoft Windows, far fewer would do the same for Sonos.

The more I’ve pondered it, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that Sonos’ biggest competitors aren’t companies in its precise space (that’s multiroom, wireless audio equipment).

Rather, the biggest threat to Sonos are the tech giants making voice-activated speakers.

In 2021 alone, there were 186 million smart speakers shipped. Their growth has been spectacular, with this figure sitting at 6.5 million in 2016.

Why are these figures important? Well, a key selling point of the most popular smart speakers — the Amazon Echo and Google’s Nest range — is how damn affordable the things are.

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