Sonos just announced a new smart speaker -- the first to support multiple smart assistants

Home-audio company Sonos announced its new Sonos One speaker on Wednesday, which comes with Amazon’s popular smart voice-activated assistant, Alexa.

The Sonos One speaker will also get support for Google’s smart voice-activated Assistant in 2018, making it the first smart speaker that supports different smart voice-activated assistants.

Google Assistant is pretty similar to Alexa in its abilities, and having both on one device simply gives you the option to use one or the other, which no other smart speaker currently offers. This is particularly good if you use both Google and Amazon services.

The new Sonos One looks nearly identical in size and design as the original Sonos Play:1 speaker. Sonos speakers use WiFi to play music instead of Bluetooth, and you control what music to play through Sonos speakers through the Sonos app.

The main difference in the Sonos One is that it comes with far-field microphones so you can issue voice commands to Alexa, like music volume and playback controls. At launch, Alexa on the Sonos One will support Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, and TuneIn. Support for Spotify will come “soon after launch.”

As with other third-party Alexa devices, you can also ask Alexa questions about the weather and traffic, catch up with news, set reminders, hear your day’s calendar agenda, and other simple tasks. You’ll also be able to use the Sonos One with Alexa’s apps, otherwise known as “skills,” which let you control smart-home devices like smart locks, smart alarms, smart thermostats, and smart bulbs.

Alexa can do other basic-but-useful tasks that you’d normally perform yourself on your smartphone or computer, like requesting an Uber or Lyft, add items to a shopping list, add events to your calendar, find nearby restaurants, and even pay your credit card bill. Check out what my colleague Dave Smith likes to ask Alexa on his Amazon Echo.

Also in 2018, Sonos will add support for Apple’s AirPlay 2, which will allow iOS device owners play audio from music or videos through the Sonos One speaker. iOS device owners will be able to use Siri, but they will have to issue commands through their iOS device rather than through the Sonos One speaker itself.

At launch, Alexa on the Sonos One will only be available in the US, UK, and Germany. The Sonos One is available for pre-order for $US199 starting on Wednesday, and it will go on sale globally starting October 24.

Current Sonos speaker owners in the US, UK, and Germany will also get an update that started rolling out on Wednesday, which will allow them to connect an Echo device to their speaker to use Alexa from their Sonos speaker.

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