Just a few short days ago, Sonos dropped the bomb that some of its older products would no longer receive software updates starting in May 2020. In the initial announcement, Sonos reasoned that the ‘legacy products’ were all reaching the end of their useful life. It then told users they could either recycle the products through its Trade Up program or simply keep legacy devices as they were, understanding that they would eventually lose functionality over time. Today, the company published a blog from CEO Patrick Spence saying that well, actually, Sonos will continue supporting legacy products beyond May.
“We heard you,” writes Spence, indicating the decision to stop supporting older products was deeply unpopular with its users. “We did not get this right from the start.”
Spence goes on to write that after May all of Sonos’s products will “continue to work as they do today.” He claims that they will not be bricked or forced into planned obsolescence. However, don’t get too excited. Spence writes that after May, legacy products still won’t get new software features. It’s more about the fact that Sonos is now promising to continue rolling out bug fixes and software patches “for as long as possible.”
The legacy products in question are the original Zone Players, the Connect and Connect:Amp (all versions sold until 2015), the first-generation Play:5, the CR200, and Bridge. However, many Sonos users have multiple speakers, both old and new. The problem with stopping updates to legacy products meant potentially borking interoperability between older and newer devices. “We are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, while legacy products work together and remain in their current state,” Spence says, adding that further details would be shared in the coming weeks.
So... not much has changed, other than Sonos deciding that legacy products will get some updates. (A good thing, considering out-of-date connected devices are a serious security and privacy risk!) Spence’s wording also raises the question of whether legacy products will only be able to interact with other legacy products—which resolve complaints that modern and legacy products may no longer work well together, should users decide to keep their older devices. Hmm. Well, at the very least, we now know Sonos knows its users are pissed.