Sonos appears to have bowed to customer pressure and will now offer security updates for legacy kit and ensure it can co-exist with newer systems.
The smart speaker firm issued a statement earlier this week warning that from May, “some of our oldest products will no longer receive software updates or new features.”
It claimed that the legacy products — Zone Players, Connect and Connect:Amp, first-generation Play:5, CR200 , and Bridge — were “stretched to their technical limits.” The firm urged customers to buy new items and take their old kit to a recycling facility.
That stance drew criticism from customers concerned that they wouldn’t be able to use old speakers in concert with newer, supported equipment.
A furore also erupted over the firm’s roll-out of a “Recycle Mode” for legacy equipment, which was designed to protect consumers from unwittingly buying old speakers. It effectively removes all user information and permanently bricks the device in preparation for recycling. But it has been argued that by doing so, recycling firms can subsequently do nothing but strip it for parts, which is more wasteful.
To its credit, Sonos appears to have reversed its stance. In an apology published on Thursday, CEO Patrick Spence said the firm would continue to offer security updates to legacy purchases, as well as finding a way for old and new equipment to work together.
“We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away. Many of you have invested heavily in your Sonos systems, and we intend to honor that investment for as long as possible,” he said.
“While legacy Sonos products won’t get new software features, we pledge to keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible. If we run into something core to the experience that can’t be addressed, we’ll work to offer an alternative solution and let you know about any changes you’ll see in your experience.”
Back in 2018, Trend Micro research warned that hackers could exploit flaws on internet-connected Sonos speakers to remotely control the devices themselves and infiltrate the networks they’re on.
This could present security challenges for corporates if remote workers have speakers operating on their home networks, it claimed.
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