The Sonos-Audi Partnership Isn’t as Exciting as We’d Hoped


Sonos Speaker inside 2022 Audi E-Tron
Audi

On March 9, Audi released a series of interior photos of its 2022 Q4 E-Tron, and observers were quick to take note of the fact that when you look very closely at the car’s speaker grilles, you can see an unexpected company logo: Sonos. The partnership was confirmed later that day by Sonos CEO Patrick Spence during a call with investors. But the details of the integration of Sonos sound into Audi vehicles weren’t discussed by either company, which led to all kinds of speculation.

Would Sonos bring its Trueplay tuning software into the mix? Would you be able to access the Sonos Radio and Sonos Radio HD streaming music services from the Q4 E-Tron’s entertainment console? Would it be possible to use a Sonos Roam speaker to transfer a listening session from the car to the Roam, or vice versa?

Now we know the answers: No, no, and no. Today, Sonos went into more detail about its partnership with Audi, though there really wasn’t that much to say.

“Our ambition is to be the world’s leading sound experience company,” said Spence in an emailed statement. “That means giving listeners the ability to experience great sound wherever they go. We’ve found in Audi a partner that shares our vision and approach — a company that values innovation and design in the same way Sonos does. We are proud today to introduce this Sonos-tuned premium sound experience in the cabin of the Q4 E-Tron.”

All that said, the only Sonos technology in the E-Tron is the speakers themselves. “The Q4 features 10 expertly tuned high-performance speakers, including a center speaker and subwoofer,” a Sonos representative told Digital Trends.

The E-Tron won’t be the only Audi with Sonos audio. The two companies plan to partner on the Audi A1, Q2, and Q3 as well.

While I have mad respect for Sonos when it comes to designing speakers that sound great, the company’s real strength lies in its software. This is the digital heart of a Sonos home system, and it enables a host of awesome features like universal music search, multiservice favorites and playlists, and the ability to choose your preferred voice assistant on the company’s smart speakers: Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

It seems like a real missed opportunity that none of these technologies have made their way into the Audi partnership.

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