Sonos plans Move (Gen 2) portable speaker for second half of 2023

It’s fixing to be a very busy year of new hardware from Sonos. The company is days away from releasing its latest products, the Era 300 and Era 100 speakers. CEO Patrick Spence has repeatedly stated that Sonos will enter a new product category sometime in 2023. And now, The Verge has learned more details about the company’s next portable speaker. According to people familiar with Sonos’ product road map, the Move (Gen 2) is currently under development for release sometime in the second half of 2023. I’d expect it in the late summer / early fall timeframe.

The second-generation speaker, model number S44, will feature a design similar to the original device. That puts it among the larger “portable” Bluetooth speakers on the market, but despite its hefty weight, the first-generation Move has earned praise and strong customer reviews for its sound performance and versatility.

One substantial improvement for the second generation is that the Move will support both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi playback without making you manually switch back and forth between them with a physical button on the back. The manual switching is how things worked on the original Move, which was the company’s first portable speaker before Sonos came up with a more seamless Bluetooth solution for the Roam and Era duo.

You won’t have to manually switch between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi modes on the Move (Gen 2).
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Sonos is also upgrading the internal processing power and memory to bring the Move in line with the new Era speakers, guaranteeing software support and new feature updates for many years to come. And just like the Era 300 and 100, the second-gen Move will offer line-in playback — presumably via the new USB-C line-in adapter. (The original Move lacked line-in altogether.) If so, that means the USB-C port would go dual-purpose and also be used for charging. The original Move can be juiced up wirelessly via a proprietary charging base, a convenience that is likely to stick around for the second-gen product.

Whereas the current Move offers compatibility with Sonos’ newer S2 platform and also the older S1 software, the Move (Gen 2) unsurprisingly will be S2-only. Separately, the company sells a battery replacement kit for the first-gen Move, and I’d expect something similar for the forthcoming model. Sonos continues to put more and more focus on repairability and sustainability — the Era speakers utilize screws instead of excessive adhesives, for instance — so preserving an easily swappable battery makes sense.

There are still open questions around potential changes to the audio drivers: the Era 100 just made the switch to stereo. Could the same be in the Move’s future? Might this be where we start seeing some of the promising transducer technology that Sonos picked up with its acquisition of Mayht?

I don’t have those answers… yet. But I try my best to help you avoid buying soon-to-be-replaced gadgets whenever I can. The first-generation Move still has plenty of runway and a long life of software updates ahead of it. But if you can afford to hold off on a new Bluetooth speaker over the warm summer months, your patience will be rewarded with a better product. Put this together with the Era speakers (and the mystery new category hardware), and Sonos is going to significantly outperform its typical “two new products per year” hardware guidance in 2023.

But do keep in mind these plans and hardware features are always subject to change: Sonos has said it will be cautious about product strategy and spending if the economic outlook should take a major downturn over the coming months. Hardware launches could be delayed (as was the case with the Sub Mini) if things get rocky and Sonos decides it needs to hunker down.

Source: The Verge

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