Sonos Roam SL drops the mic with a $159 price tag and all the portability   

Recent Sonos Roam SL release from Sonos is quite interesting in two ways. 

The first point is that the new Sonos Roam SL drops the built-in microphone meaning it is also dropping the voice assistant feature. The second point is that by dropping the built-in microphone, the Sonos Roam SL will also drop Sonos Trueplay. 

Sonos Trueplay in the original Sonos Roam may not have been widely known as a feature, this can listen to the environment through the microphone and adjust and fine-tune the speaker’s audio. This is similar to the room equalization feature that is typically available in AV receivers and soundbars. Some high-end smart TVs also come with room equalization feature (more details can be found here: Brochure: Smart TV Audio & Voice – SAR Insight) 

It is quite noteworthy that Sonos had Trueplay implemented in their rather low cost portable speaker and it is definitely an advanced feature to be part of a low-cost smart speaker. 

It is also curious to understand the reason behind Sonos releasing a low cost version of Sonos Roam by removing the voice assistant feature. Is it be purely a cost issue, to introduce a new version without voice assistant or does it mean that the smart speaker market has reached its peak as the market is now quite saturated with many competitors? From SAR’s perspective, we believe the reason to be the second one understanding that Amazon, Google, Baidu and others are dominating in the smart speaker market (see Voice Assistant Platforms  FORECAST Database for market share analysis). 

Dr. Seongcheol Jang Director, Voice Technologies

Dr. Jang is Director of SAR’s UI Practice Area, providing market insights on the latest devices, software, and components. 

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