Sonos wants Roam to be your post-pandemic speaker

It could still be a little shocking to consider attending group gatherings or crowded stages. But if this is (hopefully) the final phase of the pandemic, people will be back there soon, mingling nearby like the Before Times. At least, that’s what tech companies in the wearable industry rely on.

Sonos, the company known primarily for its home audio products, has made another portable Bluetooth speaker. And this time, Sonos actually designed it to be portable. The Sonos Roam is a lightweight and itty-bitty Bluetooth speaker, the second in His boneportable range. Product Pictures leaked last week, but now the company has officially announced it. The Roam costs $ 169 and will be available in the United States and around 30 other markets starting April 20.

Sonos has long established itself as a home-focused audio brand, even casting a shadow over more accessible “smart” speakers from companies like Amazon and Google. Sonos executives called these Bluetooth speakers “stepping stones“To higher fidelity (and fixed) speakers like those from Sonos indoor pillars. But the company was also wisely draw an expansion outside.

“Sonos has been in this role at home for so long. It’s kind of a brand that a lot of people admire, ”says Ben Arnold, an industry analyst specializing in consumer technology at NPD Group. “But they want to sell speakers, right? It is their business. You can only sell a limited number of speakers in someone’s house until they are full. “

Photography: Sonos
Photography: Sonos

His bone ‘ first foray in Bluetooth arrived in 2019 with the $ 400 Sonos Move. While technically mobile, with a nifty integrated handle on the back, the Move is a chunky 6-pound chonk. It is unwieldy when carried in a backpack and works best as a sort of garden enclosure.

In contrast, the Sonos Roam is designed to go anywhere. It weighs less than a pound and measures just over 6 inches in height and 2 inches in width. Sonos claims to have 10 hours of battery life. It also has an IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating for extended trips into uncharted territory. It charges wirelessly with any Qi-certified charger, although Sonos does sell a Roam-specific charger for an additional $ 49.

When users get home, Roam’s Sound Swap feature allows them to press and hold the play button to send audio to the nearest Sonos speaker. (The feature works on almost all new Sonos speakers.) And like other newer Sonos speakers, the Roam has far-field microphones and supports voice control with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Roam’s versatility and mobility-oriented marketing are well chosen. According to NPD, sales of Bluetooth speakers in the United States increased nearly 8% in 2020, likely due to the demand for wearable gadgets as outdoor activities became more popular. NPD notes that most of the growth has occurred in the over $ 100 speaker category, not the cheapest ones. And as Covid-19 vaccine deployments grow, the The Centers for Disease Control said that vaccinated people can safely gather in small groups without wearing masks or social distancing. (Vaccinated people, mind you. It’s not carte blanche to date just anyone, even if they have a dope playlist.) People who can’t wait to travel and be moving again may want to. be bringing their technology with them.

Photography: Sonos

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