I cannot say enough awesome things about my Sonos wireless speaker system. I am convinced that now friends want to choose my house for dinner parties, specifically so they can play with it. However if I have had any complaint, it’s their rather clunky app that, while thorough, could have a cleaner, more intuitive interface and additional features. Well thanks, Fairy Techmothers of Sonos, for my wishes have been answered.

The new Sonos app (available in beta for Android, and coming soon to iOS) is extremely streamlined, with much clearer navigation and better integration of clean graphics to differentiate your streaming media sources. It all looks very…Apple-y.

They’ve incorporated newly designed apps for services like Napster, Rhapsody and even MLB which is now in open beta, so you can listen to your favorite team’s games. And I like that it’s way easier to find radio stations–hey, remember radio?

My favorite change might be that the “Playing Now” page isn’t hard to get back to while you’re poking around in the app for the next songs in your queue; in fact, it’s right there at the bottom of every page as a little bar.

However my biggest concern with media apps of all kinds is always the quality of the search functionality, and Sonos has made some major leaps here.  There’s a nice search slider that lets you toggle between categories like albums, artists, and now genres and podcasts. And I loooove the universal search (something I use a lot on my Roku 3) which lets me search across every service–wildly helpful if you’re up for for say, Led Zeppelin, and aren’t aware that they are exclusive to Spotify.  Sure beats looking for them one network at a time.

 

New Sonos App screenshot | Cool Mom Tech

New sonos app - playlist screenshot | Cool Mom Tech

Local radio on Sonos app controller | Cool Mom Tech

There are still some minor kinks that are being worked out, like just how the queue algorithm works–I find it a little confusing to try and add songs from one service when another service is playing. It would be great if somehow the app would let me toggle back and forth more easily. But no doubt these things will be cleared up.

It’s clear that Sonos is primed to become more than a wireless speaker system (and a fantastic one at that), but to do for audio what services like Roku and Apple TV have done for video. The only problem is that it spoils you: you get so used to having all your services in one place, you forget that when you leave the range of your system, you’re back to listening to Spotify or rdio through the regular old app.

Android users can currently test the new Sonos app by logging onto your account at Sonos.com. iTunes doesn’t allow public betas, so sorry iOS users–you have to wait a little bit longer.  But it will be worth it. 

 

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