The Comfortably Dumb

The most recent issue of my weekend newsletter, in which I conveyed my disinterest in engaging with products equipped with surveillance-type technologies, elicited quite a reaction from the readers. I was personally shocked by the number of people who were in agreement with my desire to have devices that eschew the add-ons from big technology … Continue reading The Comfortably Dumb

Hello HomePod. So Long Sonos & Bose

Sonos founder John MacFarlane’s vision of a connected speaker that could wirelessly stream music was too seductive to resist for a broadband and connectivity junkie like me. Even before the product evolved from a concept to design, I was sold on the idea of Sonos and what it represented. For years, the company’s speakers have been the preferred way of listening to music in my tiny apartment. But it is time to say goodbye to Sonos — though, not for the reason you might think.

Yes, most of my Sonos gear is over a decade old and needs an upgrade. And I’m told their new speakers look nicer and sound better than ever (of course, they only need to sound as good as the high-def stream on Spotify). But I am not going to be upgrading with Sonos. This has nothing to do with their core product. The problem is that they are bundling the speakers with voice assistants, specifically Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Yes, you have to turn on these features and enable them for use, but I remain highly suspicious of what can be done surreptitiously. You can blame it on a growing mistrust of the big tech, and their decision making processes. Continue reading “Hello HomePod. So Long Sonos & Bose”

Should Spotify buy Sonos

If some job listings are to be believed, then Spotify might be getting into the hardware business. I am not sure, how much of that is true, but it makes perfect sense. Spotify should be thinking about vertical integration — its content, its distribution and its own speakers — it wants to compete with Apple, Amazon, and Google. Those three companies are making their speakers, have their music services and have their distribution channels.  Continue reading “Should Spotify buy Sonos”