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Sonos Gets Just Smart Enough

“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” was once the Sonos motto for competing with big tech’s smart speakers. The evolution of that thinking may say more about the industry than the company.

Sonos used its fiscal second-quarter results late Wednesday to also announce a new voice-control feature for its compatible speakers that will launch next month. The software processes requests on the device with no audio or transcript files sent to the cloud. It is effectively Sonos’s in-house alternative to the voice assistants provided by Google and Amazon.com that also are available on some of the company’s devices. But unlike those systems, no one will be able to use the Sonos voice technology to check the weather forecast, schedule a meeting or order toilet paper.