Sonos will stop updating its older speakers and hardware in May, the company has announced.
Sonos says it is retiring old products because “they have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power.” The change will affect many Sonos customers, as 92% of its products are still in use.
The Sonos Play:5 speaker was released in 2009, and all earlier devices are affected. The issue will affect anyone who is still using older hardware and even those who have mixed equipment.
Sonos says older products can still be used, but it will prevent new speakers from receiving updates. Sonos says this is because all speakers run on the same software, so old hardware will cause the system to lag behind.
The company plans on launching a way for customers to segment their older products in a separate speaker group. Let’s be clear here; these speakers still work just fine. Sonos speakers used to be a ‘for life’ purchase for many.
Sonos is offering a ‘recycling’ program that gives users 30% off of new hardware. But the recycling program bricks your old device, rendering it completely unusable afterward. This scheme isn’t some cash for clunkers buyback program Sonos is doing here; it’s planned obsolescence.
Sonos says its recycling program is about “sustainability,” but e-waste recyclers confirm that’s not entirely true.
Putting your old Play:5 speaker into recycle mode bricks it after 21 days. Bricked devices cannot be reused and end up in a landfill. The bricked hardware can’t be repaired, either. The recycling process puts the speaker’s serial number on a blacklist on Sonos’ servers.
The news sparked outrage when it hit social media, which Sonos defended. The spokesperson said the Trade-Up program is intended to “help customers that are interested in upgrading to the next generation of Sonos products.”
Now, it seems like Sonos is forcing those customers’ hands if they want an up-to-date home entertainment system.