We’ve just had a play with the new S5 Zoneplayer (now re-named the Play:5), thanks to Sonos’ UK distributor. Watch the video below and read on for the new social networking features coming in the new software version next week.
As well as selling for additional zones for existing Sonos owners we can see the S5 opening up a whole new market. Even though Sonos has been designed with simplicity and ease of use as core values, the thought of a box with wires and speakers is still too much for many people. The ‘all-in-one’ nature of the S5 makes it very appealing to people looking for minimal fuss.
On the top the unit has the usual ZP controls – an up/down volume, plus a mute button. Round the back are mini-jacks for headphones and, as with every other ZonePlayer from Sonos, an analogue input. You can use this socket to feed in another source (say a DAB radio for example), allowing you to listen to it through the S5 as well as streaming it to all the other Sonos Zones around the home.
As always the first zone in your Sonos setup must be hard wired to your network, so if you are planning on starting a system with the S5 then you’ll need an Ethernet socket where you want to site it. Alternatively you can plug a ZoneBridge into your router and use the built-in wireless of the S5 instead. As usual, Sonos have thoughtfully fitted 2 Ethernet sockets, so if you are going for the hardwired option you won’t be a socket down in that room.
A 30 second look round the Sonos S5 ZonePlayer
Social Software – We hear the next version of the Sonos software (V3.1) is also due for release on the same day the S5 becomes available – 11th November. The update will give the CR200 and iPod Touch / iPhone App a new look with a screen of icons to choose your music service.
The bigger surprise is that the new software will include some ‘Social Networking’ features. You’ll be able use your Twitter account (facebook to follow no doubt?) right from a Sonos system to send out a quick message from the CR200 / iPhone app. With a couple clicks you’ll be able to fire off a tweet that will automatically include your artist and zone location information. For example you might get – Listening to COLDPLAY in the KITCHEN – then be able to add some free text on the end perhaps giving something like – “Listening to COLDPLAY in the KITCHEN, can’t wait to see them live on Monday”. These tweets may well be tagged with a link to Sonos to hep them sell more systems of course.
With Sonos refreshing the regular ZonePlayer range last year, then fulfilling the need for a new touchscreen controller with the CR200 and and now a ‘boom box’ zoneplayer with the S5 it’s perhaps unlikely we’ll see more new hardware from them anytime soon. However we do expect to see more features added to the system as Sonos concentrates its resources on the software. We wonder if we’ll see any rise in the 65,000 track limit in the new version coming?
We hear as many as 60-70% of UK Sonos users subscribe to a paid streaming service. With Napster recently dropping its price to £5 per month for unlimited access to its 8 million tracks, it may not be long until storing music locally really does become a minority interest.
The £349 / $399 S5 (now Play:5) is due for its world wide release on 11th November, although we’re told pre-orders have already taken up a lot of the first allocation. Let us know what you think of yours in the comments below.