Sonos Expands Alexa Voice Control to 27 New Countries
Alexa will be available on Sonos devices in 27 new countries. The international version of Amazon’s voice assistant is coming this spring to countries in South America, Europe, Asaia, Africa, and Oceania, providing voice control for compatible Sonos devices.
Sonos Alexa International
The international version of Alexa operates much like the standard version. The voice assistant offers hands-free content control, answers to questions, weather reports, and smart home device management, among other features. It’s also compatible with Spotify, TuneIn, and Netflix, along with Amazon’s own Music and Prime Video services. The international version of Alexa communicates in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, but tends to emphasize simpler commands than the strictly English edition of the voice assistant. Sonos is exporting Alexa to Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey.
“We believe nothing should get between you and your audio content – that’s why Sonos is committed to giving listeners effortless ways to connect to the content they love,” Sonos senior director of product management Joe van Zyl said. “We’ve seen how our customers enjoy being able to use Alexa on their Sonos speakers for voice requests they know and love, such as streaming their favorite music and controlling other devices in their smart home. We’re thrilled to bring Alexa to more listeners around the world.”
Each Sonos speaker can have its own default voice assistant. That includes the new Sonos Voice control, which recently arrived in France after debuting in the U.S. The French-speaking version uses a synthetic voice from ReadSpeaker’s VoiceLab custom voice production unit, much like the one in English and Spanish that mimics the voice of Breaking Bad and The Mandalorian Giancarlo Esposito. Sonos plans to widen the availability of Sonos Voice Control, which can operate in tandem with Alexa, though the company hasn’t mentioned other celebrity voices as of yet.
No International Sonos Google Assistant
Sonos’ decision notably excludes Google Assistant from its widening international voice AI. That’s likely, at least in part, due to the continued legal battle between the two companies. Google fired the latest salvo in a lawsuit claiming the Sonos voice assistant infringes on Google Assistant patents. That filing comes after a now three-year courtroom fight with suits and counter-suits on both sides. Google claims that Sonos used Google Assistant software for its own voice AI. That followed Sonos convincing the U.S. International Trade Commission that Google infringed on five Sonos patents. That led Google to remove features, including the ability to change the volume of multiple speakers at once by voice command. The tech giant has had its own victories, with a judge canceling a Sonos patent for moving a queue of songs between devices.