Sonos unlikely to release any new speakers this year

Sonos probably won't release any new speakers this year
No new hardware, but that's no reason to despair

2013 was a big year for Sonos; the company settled into its jazzy new branding, added a cheaper speaker option and branched out into home cinema audio with the launch of its Play Bar soundbar.

But 2014 won't be so hardware-heavy, the company told us as it launched its revamped controller app.

With the hypothetical house now covered in wirelessly-linked Sonos speakers - there's the bigger Play:5, the medium Play:3 and the dinky Play:1 alongside the Play Bar and the bass-heavy Sonos Sub - attention has turned to the software that runs it.

The upshot is that you probably won't see any new speakers from the Californian company this year.

No speaker, no cry

"Last year was a big year for us in terms of hardware launches, and with two major launches we increased the scope of what we do," a spokesman told us.

"At the same time, there's been a huge number of new music services arriving on the controller so we've brought on new people to focus on user experience.

"This year, rather than bringing out any new boxes, we'll be focusing on the user experience and software. You probably won't see a new speaker from us this calendar year - not that we're not working on hardware behind the scenes - but we have pretty good coverage for most rooms in the house now."

Free software upgrades like the new controller app are designed to work with all Sonos hardware, making a speaker you may have bought five or six years ago feel up-to-date and new.

Waging softwar

Software has been the biggest hurdle to making the Internet of Things take off - we've talked before about hardware makers having to provide decent software: what good's a smart boiler, for example, if the software is barely usable?

Anyone who's found themselves frustrated with the Sonos controller app as it became dated and struggled to handle so many new services in the last year might be surprised to learn that Sonos has software in its DNA. CEO and founder John MacFarlane is the man behind 90s business hit

"Because our founders come from the software world, we see software as the special sauce of what we do," the spokesman said, promising that the updated app is just the beginning of the updates we'll see from Sonos this year.

There may be no new hardware from the Sonos camp in 2014, but there's still plenty to look forward to.

  • Should you invest in a Sonos system? Here's what we made of the Play:3
News Editor (UK)

Former UK News Editor for TechRadar, it was a perpetual challenge among the TechRadar staff to send Kate (Twitter, Google+) a link to something interesting on the internet that she hasn't already seen. As TechRadar's News Editor (UK), she was constantly on the hunt for top news and intriguing stories to feed your gadget lust. Kate now enjoys life as a renowned music critic – her words can be found in the i Paper, Guardian, GQ, Metro, Evening Standard and Time Out, and she's also the author of 'Amy Winehouse', a biography of the soul star.