Bloomberg had reported that Sonos was seeking to get new markets following their August IPO, and they were targeting over the ear headphones and also looking into possibilities of having in-car audio and battery-powered speakers.
Can I use Sonos in my car? NO! The Sonos app is designed to control your Sonos speakers and to tell them what they should play. It only controls the music that is played by the Sonos speaker and does not do anything by itself. This is because the WiFi implementation in the car is most likely up to the task of creating the required network environment for Sonos.
This is going to be hard, even if, at some point, you got it to work from the perspective of power supply. I cannot imagine that powering few powered devices off the cigarette lighter is an option that is sustainable.
This is because most of the car WiFi we have is built to provide internet access, much like hotspots in shops or in airports, and not to provide a local network environment that will facilitate the inter-device connectivity that Sonos needs to have.
Window of Opportunity
Yes, there is something that could be done with a line in autoplay, but without WiFi. Though you would have zero control over the system, and this makes it even ridiculously convoluted and overpriced way to get good audio in your car. For a good price, you can be able to get some good solutions that are specifically built to introduce great audio into your car and without having some strange workarounds and risk of damaging your electronics in the car.
If you are looking to start using Sonos on the go, then you should consider the Move. It has Bluetooth, and it is also battery-powered, and which makes it even better suited for use in a car, and when you are not driving, it fits into your Sonos household by WiFi.
The possibility of having the Move used as a car audio system is something I have thought about for a while. The Bluetooth mode would work just fine, but you will not get the best sound quality out of the Move, and it won’t take advantage of the WiFi in the car. The control will also be limited to the phone, with no voice control.
The Move’s size, weight, and shape are also another thing to put into consideration. It is not ideal for a moving environment. But if you are thinking of always being in Bluetooth mode, I think there are other better options out there.
So What About WiFi Mode?
I have tried connecting my Move to WiFi before, and NO. my Move won’t connect to the car’s WiFi. I believe this is because there is no router to connect to. More specifically, this is because Sonos setup requires your phone to connect to the speaker through WiFi, and you cannot be able to do that without a route. Having a cheap travel router will be the best solution for this, though I have not tried it.
Assuming that you get the travel router and it works, then power would be an issue. You can power the Move with a USB-C cable, but whether your car is going to provide all the power needed to power the speaker and keep it charged depends on your specific vehicle. I think that if you took the Move out and charged it when you are not using the vehicle, it would be fine.
This will enable you to have wif and power, and you should be able to voice control of the Sonos speaker. Auto Trueplay should take into account space inside your vehicle to optimize the sound, but that may be a problem.
As I understand the Move, there is an accelerator so that it knows when it is in motion. Motion or when motion stops, it is supposed to initiate true autoplay because it now thinks it’s a new space. So in a moving vehicle, space is not changing, but the Move would act as if it is.
So auto true play would infrequently be kicking, either all the time or anytime that the vehicle is not in motion. Though this is not the environment, the Move was designed for and could potentially cause excess wear and battery drain.
As a long-term solution, I would argue that Sonos need to consider mirroring this functionality in their products within the home. Alexa is getting there with it also.
Sonos Seeks New Markets
Sonos is expecting a target price range of $300+, as high-end pairs of headphones always do. It is reported that the headphones will support multiple voice assistants, though they don’t make any comments on their future products.
The news also coincides with another letter from Sonos to the shareholders where the company wrote that half of the music listening happens outside the home, and they suggested to tackle that part of the market.
Sonos plans to push their boundaries by investing their resources to make the experience of Sonos outside of the home become a reality.
There is an opportunity for growth with Sonos and having headphones is what provides that opportunity. The high-end headphones that include active noise canceling and sell for more than $300 a pair make up the biggest share of the headphones market. This is because they are selling more of them.
The biggest challenge to Sonos is the crowded market, with many other companies already in the space. What will enable Sonos to stand out is the inclusion of multiple voice assistants. There is the inclusion of Google assistant in the Alexa enabled Sonos one smart speaker. There is no telling of how the Sonos one smart speaker will turn out as they are battery powered and can be used as in-car audio.
The beauty of software-defined systems like smart speakers is that new software can transform a product without touching the hardware. This is why the Sonos speakers that were introduced in early 2009 won’t get the same features as the latest Sonos Move speakers.