Sonos finally kills off CR100 controller and long-time fans aren't happy

After ceasing the sale of it way back in 2009, Sonos has today announced that it's ending support for the legacy CR100 hardware controller that first launched alongside its multi-room speakers back in 2005. 

From April 2018 anyone who still owns and uses the controller will no longer be able to use it to control their speakers thanks to an upcoming firmware update. 

Users on the Sonos forums aren't happy about the change. "Should Sonos stay with the decision to forcibly retire the CR100 I will part ways with the company and seek alternative solutions when the time comes," said Don_H.

"These controllers aren't the most elegant solution, but they are purpose-built and run like tanks."

Another forum-member, Dash, expressed similar frustration, pointing out that the change would impact upon both their non-smartphone owning child and older relatives. 

An inevitable move?

However, with the hardware now over 12 years old and having not been on sale for over five years, the writing has been on the wall for the CR100 for some time now as smartphone control has taken over. 

After an initially shaky start, Sonos's app has seen excellent improvements over the years, and is now the primary way people will interact with their multi-room system. 

With Alexa support having arrived on the entire range of speakers, and Alexa being directly built into the recently released Sonos One, voice control has now joined the app as a means to control the system. 

When we asked Sonos directly why it was taking this move, it gave us a couple of answers. First is the fact that the age of the devices means that their lithium ion batteries could now be prone to overheating, and second is that the speed of the processor in the old CR100 means that it is increasingly unable to handle the modern Sonos software. 

These developments will bring little comfort to those users who will see their hardware lose its functionality. Sonos is running a recycling scheme for any CR100s still out in the wild, underlining the finality of this decision. Sonos has said that it'll offer a £100 voucher to any owners who have to retire their legacy devices. 

It's not all bad news for fans of Sonos' physical controllers as the later touchscreen-equipped CR200 will remain functional for the foreseeable future. 

  • Check out our review of the recently released Sonos One
Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.