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: Sonos debuts new entry-level Ray sound bar at $279, adds spring color options for Roam speaker

Sonos Inc. revamped its product lineup Wednesday, adding an entry-level sound bar and new color options for its portable Roam speaker.

The maker of audio products already offers sound bars, but its new Ray device will come at a lower price point: $279. That compares with $449 for the Beam and $899 for the Arc.

The device is meant to hook up to a television and provide enhanced sound for home viewing. Sonos
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said in a press release that the Ray sound bar will tune itself to a user’s particular room, balance the bass, “project sound from wall to wall.”

“The timing given where the world is makes it feel particularly nice to be coming out with a good entry-level sound bar,” Chief Financial Officer Brittany Bagley told MarketWatch. The device could appeal to households that deemed Sonos’ previous sound-bar offerings too expensive, and it could also find favor among existing customers looking to add additional Sonos sound bars to their homes, she continued.

Global availability starts June 7.

Further, the company is introducing new Olive, Wave and Sunset color options for its $179 portable Roam speaker, which it debuted last year. The speaker previously came in just black and white options, and the new colors will be available starting today.

This marks the first time that Sonos is adding bright colors to products on its own. The company previously introduced colors for its One smart speaker in a 2018 partnership with Danish design company HAY.

The company also announced Wednesday that it was adding a new voice-control service to its speaker lineup. Sonos expects that the native feature could appeal to users concerned about the privacy aspects of other voice assistants and bring more accurate results when people are making commands related to artists or songs.

“No audio or transcript is sent to the cloud, stored, listened to or read by anyone,” Sonos said in its press release.

Sonos acquired voice-recognition company Snips in 2019, helping the company in its effort to create a more music-oriented assistant.

“The reason we did that is, as great as ask-me-anything voice assistants are, they aren’t as tailored to music,” she said, meaning that people might not get as accurate results with Amazon.com Inc.’s
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or Alphabet Inc.’s
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voice assistants when asking about less mainstream bands or songs. Sonos’ native offering, which can be activated by saying “Hey Sonos,” is meant to help “get music playing faster,” she said.

A spokeswoman noted that users can use Sonos Voice Control and Alexa on the same smart speaker, and they can also activate the Google Assistant on a different speaker within the same system.

Sonos customers can get the update on their existing devices, and new products will also feature the option. It will be available in the U.S. on June 1 and in France later in 2022. Additional markets will follow.

The announcements come alongside Sonos’ latest earnings results. The company topped expectations for its March quarter, pointing to strong demand but noting that supply-chain challenges could limit upside for the balance of the fiscal year.

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