Most consumers have to make a choice before buying smart speakers – Alexa or Google Assistant. Sonos, the premium speaker maker has found a way out by giving its users the option to access either of them.
Some of the brand’s speakers have a built-in feature of Amazon Alexa, and allow the use of Siri (Apple’s voice assistant) through AirPlay. On Tuesday, the company stated, in the U.S., some of its products will now be offered with the Google Assistant, thereby letting users turn smart lights on, check traffic conditions or send emails just by speaking.
At a given time, only one assistant can be active on a Sonos speaker, but its owners can choose which assistant they want for their device.
The models SonosOne ($199) along with Beam soundbar ($399) with an inbuilt Alexa feature, will now have Google Assistant as well. Users already owning these models will have the option to upgrade software and access Google Assistant.
Sonos was supposed to add Google Assistant into its speaker features by October 2017 itself, but the company said the development took longer than it expected and attributed the delay to its keenness to give its customers an experience that was truly seamless.
The strategy to allow users to pick their choice of voice assistant will help Sonos to widen their market. ABI Research’s director, Jonathan Collins says Sonos can fare well as a speaker and music systems company, rather than directly compete with Amazon or Google in the market for smart speakers.
Analyst at a research company eMarketer, Jaimie Chung said since different voice assistants are equipped differently, consumers may choose one for some tasks and an alternate for other chores. For example, Alexa may perform shopping tasks better, whereas Google Assistant could answer questions through Google or purchase music and movies.
Collins doesn’t expect much of a shift among loyal users of either Google or Amazon devices. Someone using Alexa at home is likely to choose Alexa over the Google Assistant for their Sonos device.
For now, the dual voice assistant speaker system Sonos is promoting the option of choosing the assistant of their preference.