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Sonos clarifies future of old products with the launch of its new Sonos S2 operating system

The reasons why Sonos will no longer be providing support for older products has become clearer with the company announcing the launch of a new operating system, Sonos S2. Designed to “power the next generation of products and experiences”, S2 requires greater resources to run and so isn’t compatible with older generation hardware.

Sonos has only given out a few details of the new operating system, stating that new products launched from May 2020 onwards will run the S2 operating system exclusively and will require a new app to work; there are no new product announcements at this stage.

The company has also said that existing hardware compatible with S2 will be able to upgrade their system from June and will be able to download the new app, which will simply be called Sonos.

Sonos has promised that S2 will bring increased personalisation and higher resolution audio formats. Interestingly, the company has said that upgrade audio bandwidth would bring higher-resolution audio for home theatre. This raises the possibility that Sonos will have a system capable of decoding high-resolution formats, such as Dolby TrueHD. Current home theatre products, such as the Sonos Beam and Sonos Playbar do not support these formats.

Via the new S2 app, there are also some enhancements including room groups. These will remember commonly-grouped rooms, letting you target music to areas faster than the current process, where rooms have to be individually grouped together.

What happens to old Sonos products?

Sonos has also taken time to clarify what happens to old products that will no support the S2 operating system. As announced before, when Sonos said it was killing updates for old products old products can’t be updated to the S2 software. The list of unsupported devices is:

  • Zone Players
  • CR200
  • Bridge
  • Connect (Gen 1)
  • Connect:Amp (Gen 1)
  • Play:5 (Gen 1) speakers fall into the old category and cannot be updated to S2.

What happens depends on the mix of products you have in your system. In all scenarios, old products will continue to get bug fixes and security updates.

You have S1-compatible products only

If you have older products that can’t run the S2 OS, then you don’t have to do anything, and all of your products will continue to run as they do today. These products will be controlled through the app that’s available today, although this will be renamed the Sonos S1 Controller.

You have only S2 compatible devices

If you have S2-compatible devices only, including older products that can be upgraded or new products yet to launch, you can download the new Sonos app and upgrade your entire system to run the new operating system.

You have a mix of S1 and S2 devices

If your system is a mix of products, then you have a few choices. First, you can leave the system as it is, and run on the S1 OS, but you will miss out on new features, particularly for any products that could be upgraded. This will also prevent you from adding new future products into the mix, as these will be S2 compatible only.

The next option is to remove S1 products from your existing system so that what’s left can be upgraded to S2. There are three options here. First, you can just remove the old players that you don’t use. Secondly, you can use the Sonos Trade Up scheme, which will get you a 30% discount on new players. This option used to require you to put your old players into recycle mode, effectively bricking them, but Sonos has removed this requirement and you still get your discount.

Finally, you can split your system into two separate parts that can no longer be grouped, letting you run older and newer components. Sonos will release information on how to split players in the future.

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