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Sonos cuts support for older speakers

Andrew Griffin

Sonos is cutting support for some of its older speakers.

The decision marks a significant change for the company, which has prided itself on the lifespan of its smart speakers.

A number of different products – some sold as recently as 2015 – will lose access to software updates and may stop working properly, the company warned.

Affected users can trade their old speakers in for 30 per cent off new ones, Sonos said. Otherwise, they can try and keep using them – but have been warned they may stop working properly as new updates arrive.

The affected products are the original Zone Players, Connect and Connect:Amp (sold between 2006 and 2015), Play:5 (Gen 1), CR200, and Bridge, Sonos said.

They will stop receiving updates from May. They are likely to keep at least some of their features after that cutoff arrives, but will lose them over time.

"Without new software updates, access to services and overall functionality of your sound system will eventually be disrupted, particularly as partners evolve their technology," the company said in a blog post.

It made the decision because "some of the oldest products have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power", Sonos said.

Sonos said it was offering affected users two options.

The first is simply to keep using the speakers, aware that they may stop working. Users will have to recognise "your system will no longer receive software updates and new features", the company warned.

The second is to use Sonos's recently introduced "trade-up" programme. That allows people to swap their products for a 30 per cent on replacement speakers.

That programme has come into criticism because speakers that are put into it are placed in a "Recycle Mode", which makes them unable to be used. Sonos has faced criticism for failing to allow the speakers to be fixed, and instead shutting them down so they have to be destroyed.

Sonos said having that feature allowed the speakers to have any identifying information removed, as well as "protecting unsuspecting consumers from buying old products with a limited lifespan".

The company stressed that 92 per cent of its speakers are still in use and that it is "extremely proud of the fact that we build products that last a long time, and that listeners continue to enjoy them".

"Ideally all our products would last forever, but for now we’re limited by the existing technology," it said.

"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."

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