After spending 2022 focusing on mid-range products like the Ray and launching its own voice service, Sonos is about to turn its attention back to high-end devices. In addition to the upcoming and long-delayed Sub Mini, the company is also working on an entirely new high-end speaker codenamed Optimo 2.
the edge You’ve seen the first work-in-progress images of the Optimo 2, and it marks a substantial evolution in design compared to existing Sonos products such as the Sonos One, Five, Arc, Beam and Roam. Encased in a unique dual-angle casing, the new device will be positioned as the best-sounding speaker Sonos has ever produced. It includes an arsenal of drivers, including several that fire in different directions from under the casing between the front speaker grill and the back plate. The 3D recreation above is bronze in color, but the Optimo 2 will likely stick to Sonos’ traditional black and white color options. The front of the device is shown in our image, with the vertical rectangle indicating where the Sonos logo will be.
Size-wise, it resembles something like the Sonos Five / Play:5. According to people familiar with the product, the Optimo 2 packs twice the RAM and up to eight times the flash memory of any previous Sonos speaker. It’s a clearly designed powerhouse with a long road of software support ahead of it.
If current plans hold, Optimo 2 will become the Swiss Army Knife of Sonos speakers. It will support music playback over Wi-Fi like all the company’s products, but also Bluetooth audio. Until now, Bluetooth playback has been limited to portable hardware like the Move and Roam. Interestingly, the company is also considering USB-C line-in playback for the device. That would make it the only other modern Sonos speaker aside from the Five to offer line-in capabilities. (The Sonos Five has a more traditional 3.5mm aux input.) With the help of built-in microphones, Optimo 2 will feature automatic sound adjustment to optimize its performance in various environments. Those mics will also support Sonos Voice Control. As always, some of these features may be left out and absent from the final shipping product.
With its variety of drivers (including one that appears to shoot upwards), the Optimo 2 will showcase Dolby Atmos audio. But it is only one piece of the puzzle. the edge can report that the Optimo 2 is the lead product in a trio of devices in the works, which will also include an Optimo 1 and Optimo 1 SL. “SL” designates that the latter will not include built-in microphones. All three products are intertwined with an upcoming major update to the Sonos software platform that will unlock new features.
Microphones aside, the specific differences between the three Optimo devices could not yet be learned. Theoretically, the Optimo 2 could serve as a successor to the Sonos Five, which hasn’t seen a significant redesign in years. That would leave the Optimo 1 and 1 SL to play the role of smaller smart speakers or satellite speakers in Sonos surround sound systems. Home theater has become a fundamental part of the company’s business.
Earlier this month, Sonos reported shaky third-quarter earnings, blaming runaway inflation and an appreciating dollar for a lack of revenue. The company also revealed that it had delayed the planned launch of a new product, almost certainly the Sub Mini, until the first fiscal quarter of 2023, which falls between October and December of this calendar year.
“Declining consumer demand across our product categories had a huge impact on Roam,” CEO Patrick Spence said on the quarterly investor call, also noting that the $279.99 Sonos Ray soundbar “is significantly below our expectations for the year” due to the same weak demand.
But Spence maintained an optimistic outlook. “We are focusing on what we can control at this point. We are investing in a lot of innovation and new products that we believe will help us emerge from these macroeconomic headwinds in an even stronger position.” Optimo 2, Optimo 1 and Optimo 1 SL will be essential for this innovation and constant line of products.
During its fiscal year 2022, Sonos launched the second-generation Beam, Roam SL (plus new Roam colors), Sonos Ray, and Sonos Voice Control. It has also made acquisitions, including Mayht Holding BV, a company that Sonos says “has invented a revolutionary new approach to audio transducers” that allows them to be smaller and lighter without compromising quality.
the edge has reached out to Sonos for comment.