How Sonos Used Clever Software Engineering To Make A $50 Gadget Obsolete

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It’s not often that a company announces that they’ve figured out a way to make people stop paying for a piece of hardware by purposely making it obsolete, but that’s just what Sonos has done.

Sonos has just announced that thanks to clever programming, they have figured out a way to make their $50 Sonos Bridge device — a gadget that plugs into your router to allows you to stream music in perfect sync to the Sonos speakers throughout your house — completely obsolete.

Before now, the Sonos Bridge was a piece of required hardware for any Sonos users. You plugged into your router, and it then created a dedicated wireless mesh network for all Sonos products to connect to. If you wanted to have all your Sonos speakers playing in sync, you had to have a Bridge, there was no way around it.

But according to Sonos, that’s no longer the case:

We’ve found a way to deliver all the benefits of SonosNet without a product directly connected to your router. This new software solution will make Sonos simpler than ever. Start with a speaker and your smartphone, enter your WiFi password and Sonos takes care of the rest.

We will maintain the core function of SonosNet so that – when several players are linked together as a group – they continue to communicate directly with one another, keeping your music in perfect sync.

Sonos says large homes might still benefit from having the Bridge, but the rest of Sonos’ customers can stop buying it as soon as the software comes out of beta. That’s fantastic news, and a refreshing change of pace in an industry that is constantly trying to sell users as much unnecessary hardware as possible.

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About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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