It would nonetheless be a little bit jarring to contemplate attending group gatherings or crowded scenes. But when that is (hopefully) the final section of the pandemic, individuals will quickly be again at it, mingling in shut proximity just like the Earlier than Occasions. At the least, that is what tech corporations within the moveable machine enterprise are relying on.
Sonos, the corporate recognized primarily for its in-home audio merchandise, has made one other moveable Bluetooth speaker. And this time, Sonos has really designed it to be, nicely, moveable. The Sonos Roam is an itty-bitty, light-weight Bluetooth speaker, the second in Sonos’ moveable lineup. Photographs of the product leaked final week, however now the corporate has formally introduced it. The Roam prices $169 and will probably be obtainable within the US and round 30 different markets beginning April 20.
Sonos has lengthy established itself as a home-focused audio model, even throwing shade at extra accessible “sensible” audio system from corporations like Amazon and Google. Sonos executives have referred to as these Bluetooth audio system “stepping stones” to extra high-fidelity (and stationary) audio system like Sonos’ indoor stalwarts. However the firm has additionally been properly plotting an growth to the outside.
“Sonos has held such a place within the house for therefore lengthy. They’re type of a model that lots of people look as much as,” says Ben Arnold, an trade analyst centered on client tech at NPD Group. “However they wish to promote audio system, proper? That’s their enterprise. You may solely promote so many audio system into anyone’s house till they grow to be saturated.”
Sonos’ first foray into Bluetooth got here in 2019 with the $400 Sonos Transfer. Whereas technically cell, with a nifty built-in deal with within the again, the Transfer is a cumbersome, 6-pound chonk. It’s unwieldy when hauled in a backpack and works greatest as a type of yard speaker.
Against this, the Sonos Roam is designed to go all over. It weighs lower than a pound and is simply over 6 inches tall and a couple of inches broad. Sonos claims it has a 10-hour battery life. It additionally has an IP67 water- and dust-proof score for prolonged jaunts into uncharted territory. It costs wirelessly with any Qi-certified charger, although Sonos is promoting a Roam-specific charger for an extra $49.
When customers do return house, the Roam’s Sound Swap function will permit them to press and maintain the play button to ship the audio to the closest Sonos speaker. (The function works on almost all newish Sonos audio system.) And like different newish Sonos audio system, the Roam has far-field microphones and helps voice management with Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant.
The Roam’s versatility and mobility-oriented advertising and marketing are well-timed. In response to NPD, US gross sales of Bluetooth audio system rose by almost 8 % in 2020, possible resulting from demand for moveable devices as out of doors actions grew extra widespread. NPD notes that a lot of the development occurred within the $100-plus class of audio system, not the super-cheap ones. And as Covid-19 vaccine rollouts are increasing, the Facilities for Illness Management have declared that vaccinated individuals can safely collect in small teams with out carrying masks or social distancing. (Vaccinated individuals, thoughts you. This isn’t carte blanche to only go hang around with whomever, even when they do have a dope playlist.) People who find themselves anxious to journey and get shifting once more may wish to carry their tech with them.