Starting from May, anyone running legacy products on their Sonos system will no longer receive any updates for any product. Only customers running a system comprising of currently supported models will get new features and updates.
Sonos has said that the products being discontinued are the original Zone Players (ZP80, ZP90, ZP100 and ZP120), the Connect and Connect:Amp (sold between 2006 and 2015), the Play:5 (Gen 1), CR200 and Bridge.
The reason for the change is that advances in technology have pushed the capabilities of these products to the limits in terms of memory and processing power. You only have to look at the age of these products to see why: the ZP80 was launched in January 2005, two years before the first iPhone and almost four years before Spotify.
Sonos has told us that 92% of its products sold are still in use, with software updates adding new features to the system, even on products that are more than a decade old. Windows 7, by comparison, launched in 2009 and has recently stopped getting updates.
When the changes come in May, there are three main options for customers. First, there’s the do-nothing option. With this, the entire Sonos system will no longer get updates, as all players have to be on the software version. This effectively locks the system into its current form. For the short term, there should be no differences noted, but Sonos warns that over time “access to services and overall functionality will be disrupted, particularly as partners evolve their technology”. This could mean, for example, that Spotify would no longer work if the way the service is accessed changes.
The second option is to split the system into two, with supported products on one system and legacy products on another. While this prevents you from playing music across all devices, it means that you’ll get the new features on the new products, while the legacy system is locked at its current point.
Finally, customers can take advantage of the Sonos Trade Up programme, which gets customers 30% off a new Sonos player for trading in the old one. You can check which products are supported for the upgrade by logging into your Sonos account online.
With this programme, legacy products are put into recycle mode, which wipes personal information and ‘bricks’ the unit, deactivating it so that it can’t be used again. Sonos says that this prevents people from buying out-of-date products with a limited lifespan. Once done, you get a 30% credit against any new Sonos product, and your old device goes into Recycle Mode after 21 days. Sonos says that customers should recycle their legacy products at a local facility.
We asked Sonos how long newer products would be supported for and have been told that the company supports products for at least five years after going off sale, but many are supported for much longer.
Ultimately, software updates aren’t possible on products forever, but it’s fair to say that Sonos supports its devices for considerably longer than many of its competitors.