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Sonos says these speakers are too old to get any more updates

Published Jan 21st, 2020 6:34PM EST
Sonos speakers
Image: Sonos

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By way of prefacing its announcement Tuesday that the company is winding down software support for its oldest products, Sonos first reminded everyone that its original speakers pre-date the iPhone and first materialized back when MySpace was still a social media titan.

The point being, many of those products are old enough that they’ve now reached the limits of their technical capabilities and no longer make sense for the company to support with software updates. The company says it will stop doing so in May and that this will affect several legacy devices currently included in the Sonos trade-up program, which we’ll list below.

If you’re still holding on to any of the following devices, then this decision affects you: Sonos’ original Zone Players, Connect, and Connect:Amp (launched in 2006 and including versions sold until 2015); the first-generation Play:5; the CR200; and the Bridge. “Since launching our first products, technology has advanced at an exponential rate, from streaming services and voice assistants to wireless networking and Bluetooth capabilities,” Sonos says in its announcement of the decision, in which it adds that some 92% of the products it’s ever shipped are still in use today.

“Through all of this transformation, we have continued delivering new features via software updates … However, we’ve now come to a point where some of the oldest products have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power.”

What the software update wind-down means, among other things, is that access to the interconnected ecosystem that makes the full Sonos experience possible will eventually be interrupted. That ecosystem provides access to more than 100 streaming services, plus voice assistants and control options like Apple’s AirPlay 2, but without new software updates, users will eventually see a disruption in access to services and the overall functionality of their sound system.

Importantly, Sonos is stressing that its users have two options here:

  • Option 1 is for the user to do nothing, and to merely understand that their system will soon no longer get software updates and new features.
  • Option 2 is for the user to “trade up” to a new Sonos product. To incentivize that, Sonos is offering a 30% credit for each legacy product a user replaces. Users that elect to go this route will have to have their devices put in “Recycle Mode,” which deletes personally identifiable information and prepares them for e-recycling. If there’s not a nearby certified e-recycling facility in your area, Sonos is promising to pay for you to ship your products back to Sonos “for responsible recycling.”

“Ideally, all our products would last forever, but for now we’re limited by the existing technology,” Sonos’ announcement concludes. “Our responsibility here is threefold: Build products that last a long time; continually look for ways to make our products more environmentally friendly through materials, packaging, and our supply chain and take responsibility for helping you through the transition once products near the end of their useful life.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.