Smart speaker maker Sonos seems to be readying a satellite speaker to bring true surround sound as well s voice control to its Playbar soundbar, if a new FCC filing is any indication.
A Sonos spokesperson declined to comment on the filing.
The heavily redacted filing , which was published by the FCC Monday, describes a new Sonos device with the model number S18 , which has both Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity. Photos and other documents aren’t included in the public version of the filing, but one slip-up gives us a good idea of what S18 will be:
A list of the equipment used in testing the new device includes a mention of the company’s existing Playbar as a “master device,” and describes the S18 as a “wireless smart speaker (right).” The fact that the new device was tested in conjunction with the Playbar suggests that it is meant to be used as a satellite speaker in a home theater setup.
The filing further illustrates this setup with the following schematics:
The speaker also seems to have touch controls similar to the ones first introduced with the Sonos One (hat tip to Dave Zatz ), which indicate the presence of a built-in microphone for far-field voice control.
Sonos first introduced the Playbar as its very first soundbar back in early 2013. The company followed up with a smaller and cheaper model, dubbed the Sonos Beam, earlier this year.
Like all recent Sonos products, the Beam includes microphones for far-field voice control – something that the original Playbar doesn’t offer. By adding smart satellite speakers to its line-up, Sonos could allow Playbar owners to get surround sound as well as voice control to their home theater setups.
Adding another product for Playbar owners to its line-up would also be a good match for the company’s business model, which relies heavily on repeat buyers. In its fiscal year of 2017, Sonos sold around 38% of its devices to consumers who already owned at least one of its products.
Update: 10:53am: This post was updated with additional information on touch control for the S18 device.
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