Sonos Ending Support for ‘Oldest’ Products

Citing limitations of processing power in speakers built prior to 2009, Sonos announces it will end software updates for those legacy products.


Starting in May 2020, Sonos (Nasdaq: SONO) has announced it will end software support updates for some of its older products, saying those products have reached the end of their “useful life.”

Customers can either continue to use their older Sonos systems or receive a 30% discount on an upgrade to a new Sonos wireless audio system. Products affected include the Zone Players, Connect, and Connect:Amp, first-generation Play:5, CR200, and Bridge.

Sonos made the announcement in an email to customers and a blog post on its website. The reaction has been mixed, with the company’s stock initially plummeting to start the day before rebounding. At press time, the stock was down just 2% to about $14.50 per share.

Meanwhile, angry customers started a #SonosBoycott hashtag on social media and began peppering the company’s social media with questions. For integrators, they are put in the unenviable position of having to defend the move with their own clients.

Here is the full statement from Sonos:

When we first set out almost 20 years ago to invent the technology to easily listen to any song in any room, most of the ways we listen to music today did not exist. In fact, the first Sonos products were introduced before the first iPhone was announced and when Myspace still ruled social media.

In order to invent multi-room music and smart speakers, we combined the worlds of high-fidelity audio and computing. Every Sonos product has a microprocessor, flash memory, and other hardware components typically found in computers and smartphones.

Since launching our first products, technology has advanced at an exponential rate; from streaming services and voice assistants to wireless networking and Bluetooth capabilities. Through all of this transformation, we have continued delivering new features via software updates. We’re extremely proud of the fact that we build products that last a long time, and that listeners continue to enjoy them. In fact, 92% of the products we’ve ever shipped are still in use today. That is unheard of in the world of consumer electronics. However, we’ve now come to a point where some of the oldest products have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power.

This coming May, these legacy products—our original Zone Players, Connect, and Connect:Amp (launched in 2006; includes versions sold until 2015), first-generation Play:5 (launched 2009), CR200 (launched 2009), and Bridge (launched 2007)—will no longer receive software updates or new features.

Today the Sonos experience relies on an interconnected ecosystem, giving you access to more than 100 streaming services, voice assistants, and control options like Apple AirPlay 2. Without new software updates, access to services and overall functionality of your sound system will eventually be disrupted, particularly as partners evolve their technology.

To help you through this transition, we’re providing two options:

Option 1:
Continue using these legacy products, recognizing that your system will no longer receive software updates and new features.

Option 2:
Trade up to a new Sonos product with a 30% credit for each legacy product you replace.

If you’re not sure if your products are affected, you can check in the System tab in your account.

If you choose to participate in the trade up program, your legacy products will be put in Recycle Mode, a state that deletes personally identifiable information and prepares these products for e-recycling. Recycle Mode also protects unsuspecting people from buying legacy products that are approaching the end of their useful life and won’t provide the Sonos experience customers expect today. Recycle Mode will only apply to the legacy products listed above.

We ask that you take your legacy products to a nearby certified e-recycling facility. This is the most environmentally friendly way to recycle. That said, if there isn’t a facility in your area, we are happy to pay for you to ship your products back to Sonos for responsible recycling.

Ideally all our products would last forever, but for now we’re limited by the existing technology. Our responsibility here is threefold: build products that last a long time; continually look for ways to make our products more environmentally friendly through materials, packaging, and our supply chain and take responsibility for helping you through the transition once products near the end of their useful life.

We’ve always believed in freedom of choice, whether that means choosing a certain streaming service or way to control your listening experience. We hope the choices provided here—continuing to use these products without new software updates or trading up to our modern products—enable you to make the choice that’s right for you.

We are honored to have a place in your home and want to make sure that we help continue to bring the best experience we can, even when products reach the end of their useful life.

About the Author

Jason Knott
Jason Knott:

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald's Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.


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