Sonos is continuing to distance itself from some of the oldest products it has sold over the years. Starting in May of 2020, a group of "legacy" products will stop getting software updates and new features, the first time that the company has decided to end updates for a whole set of its products. In the past, Sonos ended software support for a couple of its oldest devices (including the Sonos Dock and CR100). And some new features the company has added, like AirPlay 2 support, didn't work on all of its older products. But in this case, there won't be any updates going forward for the following devices: the original Zone Players; Connect, and Connect:Amp; first-generation Play:5; CR200; and Bridge.
The company says this is because the technical capabilities of those devices has essentially been maxed out due to limitations on memory and processing power -- a reasonable argument, considering some of these products are more than a decade old. After May, these devices will continue working as they did before, but any new features Sonos offers won't work. Additionally, if you have a multi-product system that includes legacy products and newer ones, those newer ones also won't work with whatever new features Sonos adds. Basically, if you have any of these unsupported devices in your Sonos setup, your setup will essentially be frozen.
Sonos was clear in its blog post on the news that its old products aren't being phased out -- they'll continue to work for the foreseeable future. The company also says that it'll offer a way for people who have both these legacy products as well as newer ones a way to "split" the system so that current speakers can take advantage of software updates and new features, though we don't have the full details on how that'll work just yet.
As we move forward, we will provide ways to separate your legacy and modern products so that the modern products can still receive updates, and legacy products can still be used. We'll have more details in May.— Sonos Support Team (@SonosSupport) January 21, 2020
This is just the latest move Sonos has made to distance itself from some of its oldest products. Back in October, the company announced a "trade-up" program that offered owners of those legacy products a 30-percent discount on new hardware. Of course, there's a catch: you need to put that hardware into a "recycling mode" that deletes all personal information. More troubling, that recycling mode also essentially bricks the hardware so that no one else can ever use it, quite the environmentally unfriendly move.
With today's announcement, Sonos made it clear that the way the trade-in program is structured isn't changing right now. That discount is still contingent upon putting that old hardware into the recycling mode that means they won't be able to be used again. We're hoping that Sonos changes course eventually on this, as it's much better for the environment to let these old products be used, even if their functionality is rather limited. That said, if you want to replace these devices after software updates end in May, there's always eBay rather than Sonos' own recycling program.