The Sonos S5 ($399) was one of my 2009 boxes of the year. With good reason. Sonos is a sophisticated but easy to implement and easy to operate whole-home audio solution. Featuring content from both our local music collections and various online sources. The S5 broke new ground in the Sonos lineup by integrating rich, powerful speakers into their connected receiver. Sonos is not an inexpensive solution (especially since you won’t stop with just one room), but it’s clearly the best at what it does. Yet, what’s next?
A Sonos email survey I received a few days ago alluded to several interesting expansion possibilities. As I still have a loaner unit on hand, I’ve got a few ideas….
The survey item I snapped above includes an option for a less expensive unit than the S5 that would replace an alarm clock radio. And that was indeed my top selection on this screen. Not so much on the pricing point, but on the size and usage point. The S5 isn’t huge, but it’s physically too big for most night stands. Also, the the sound is too big for, and will wasted in, most bedrooms. So I’d love to see a nightstand model for the bedroom, a form factor which could also be used in the office.
2. Embrace the Android
The iPhone remote control app is quite impressive. Considering all it does, including replacing a dedicated piece of hardware and despite my little UI nav nits. However, there are plenty of folks who don’t own Apple hardware that might appreciate a Sonos app. And at my briefing last fall, Sonos did indicate additional mobile clients could be on tap for 2010. My first choice, given a probable defection from AT&T to the Sprint/Google/HTC Nexus One in the very near future, is Android support.
3. Bring the Slacker
I’ve come to prefer Slacker‘s niche programming over Pandora‘s acoustic similarities. Which regularly resulted in bizarre, unrelated pairings. I love the Led Zeppelin. But not when I’m in a 90s grunge kind of mood. So I’d like to see some Slacker on Sonos. And, shortly after CES, I put the two companies in touch with hopes of seeing them resolve this shortcoming. As it’s probably the #1 reason I haven’t tricked out every room with a S5. I love Sonos, but content is king. Bring it.