As much as Sonos is known for high-quality connected speakers, it's also built up a reputation for lackluster software and a closed ecosystem. And that's getting harder to live with as alternative platforms like Google's Cast (formerly Chromecast) are flourishing alongside smart partnerships (see Vizio's recent TVs) and inexpensive devices like the Chromecast Audio. So to course correct, Sonos announced today that it's opening up its platform to Spotify Connect, and it has also kicked off a "long-term strategic collaboration" with Amazon to integrate Echo voice control with its speakers.
The Spotify Connect support, which is coming in a few weeks, will be particularly useful for anyone who's grown tired of Sonos's software. You'll be able to control the company's speakers from within any Spotify app. You'll even be able to get music playing across multiple rooms, since all of your Sonos groups will appear inside Spotify. The Sonos app will also recognize the songs Spotify is delivering, so if your friend is streaming a song you've never heard, you'll be able to add it to your library easily.
The Amazon Echo integration works as you'd expect. You can ask Alexa to play music on specific Sonos speakers, and if an unfamiliar tune pops up in a playlist, you can also ask what is actually playing. You'll have to wait a while to marry Sonos and Amazon's Echo, though. The integration will be available in private beta later this year, but it won't reach general users until 2017.
As for other updates, you'll soon be able to control your Sonos speakers even when you're away from your home WiFi network. That'll let you get the party started a bit early on your drive home from work (or at least easily annoy your family or roomates). Sonos is also joining the Open Music Initiative, a non-profit group dedicated to open sourcing access to music. That's a big sign that the company will open up its platform even more down the line.