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Sonos has been slinging smart speakers—and tech for connecting them—to dedicated fans since 2005. This week, however, Sonos announced the end of software support for its older product lines, and many of those once-loyal customers are furious.
Software support for "legacy" product lines will end in May of this year, Sonos said Tuesday in a corporate blog post and an email sent to customers. The list of products being forced off into the tech sunset includes original Zone Players, Connect, and Connect:Amp (launched in 2006; includes versions sold until 2015), first-generation Play:5 (launched 2009), CR200 (launched 2009), and Bridge (launched 2007).
Owners of an affected product basically have two options. Either they can take advantage of Sonos' "Trade Up" program to snag a discount on new Sonos stuff, or they can keep using their old product with the understanding that inevitably, certain functions will simply begin to fail over some long, unspecified period of time.Further ReadingSmart scale goes dumb as Under Armour pulls the plug on connected tech
For users who do elect to keep their old equipment, there is an important caveat: any Sonos system is only as current as its oldest, weakest link. Basically, if you have a discontinued legacy device hooked up to newer, supported Sonos devices, the current devices will also be unable to receive software updates after the May 2020 cutoff. That's the bad news, but here's the good: Sonos says in its customer FAQ that beginning in May, it will introduce a way for device owners to separate their unsupported hardware onto a secondary network.
In its announcement, Sonos bragged about the longevity of its products, boasting that 92 percent of all devices it has ever shipped are still in use today. But that day is apparently ending. "We've now come to a point where some of the oldest products have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power," Sonos said, explaining its decision.
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