Smart speaker manufacturer Sonos has announced that the company is going to drop support for some of its products. Sonos stopped selling these devices a few years ago. While nothing lasts forever, dropping support is going to have a lot of implications and shows once again that the connected home isn’t as future-proof as expected.
Sonos points out that 92% of the products that it has ever sold are still in use today. It means that some people are still happily using old Sonos devices even though production has stopped since then.
“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,” the company writes.
If you use a Zone Player, Connect, first-generation Play:5, CR200, Bridge or pre-2015 Connect:Amp, Sonos is basically going to make your Sonos experience worse across the board.
The company is going to stop shipping updates to those devices. If Spotify and Apple Music update their application programming interface in the future, your devices could stop working with those services altogether.
But Sonos has decided that your entire ecosystem of Sonos devices is going to stop receiving updates so that all your devices are on the same firmware version. For instance, if you just bought a Sonos One but you’re still using an old Sonos Play:5, your Sonos One isn’t going to receive updates either.
The company says that you can get a discount if you replace your old device. But it will still cost you some money. It’s also ironic as the company promises a seamless music experience but then requires you to swap out speakers altogether.
Sonos should use this opportunity to rethink its product lineup. Planned obsolescence due to end-of-life is a great business model for sure. But it’s time to think about ways to keep your speakers for 10, 20 or even 30 years.
People in the 1980s would buy beautiful speakers and keep them for decades. Sure, they’d have to add a CD player in their system at some point. But modularity is a great feature.
Sonos should add a computing card slot to its devices. As systems on a chip, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth get faster and more efficient, users should be able to swap out the computing card for a new one without replacing the speaker altogether.
That would be a more environmental-friendly process than bricking old devices with their questionable recycle mode.