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Sonos refreshes Linux audio gear

Aug 4, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 14 views

Sonos has chosen LinuxWorld in San Francisco this week as the place to unveil updated hardware and new Linux-based firmware. The vendor says its whole-house audio products are carried by 3,000 retailers in 55 countries, putting them among the most popular Linux-based consumer electronics products yet.

New Sonos Products
(l-r)ZonePlayer 120, the “BU150” bundle, and ZonePlayer 90

(Click any to enlarge)

New Sonos products announced this week include:

  • ZonePlayer 120 (ZP120), featuring a new amplifier claimed to deliver five more Watts (55 Watts total) while running cooler and fitting into a smaller case than the Tripath-based (T-amp style) amplifier built into the original ZonePlayer 100.
  • A new ampless ZonePlayer 90, which updates the earlier ZP80
  • A “Sonos 2.6” firmware upgrade for existing owners of Sonos devices

Back panels and I/O ports
(l-r) ZonePlayer 120 and ZonePlayer 90

(Click either to enlarge)

The main improvement in the new Sonos hardware designs appears to be in the realm of wireless networking. The devices now use MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out) WiFi radios (802.11n) for doubled range in some homes, the vendor says.

Meanwhile, the software upgrade brings support for “more than 15 brands” of network-attached storage devices, along with support for larger collections — up to 65,000 tracks, total, on local PCs and NAS devices. Additionally, the upgrade brings support for Apple's Mac OS X “Leopard” release, Sonos says.

All of Sonos's devices run Linux. In addition to its “ZonePlayer” amplifiers, it uses Linux on its Zone Controller, a handheld PDA-like remote control device. That device recently gained Sirius support via a firmware update. (Another recent firmware upgrade brought WMP11 support to the Players.)

Lots more details about how the Sonos system works can be found in our earlier coverage, here.


Sonos is offering its ZP120 and Z90, bundled with a Sonos Controller, priced at $1,000, or $1,150 with speakers. The 2.6 firmware upgrade is free to existing customers, and comes with several free albums, downloads, and other promotions. The system is widely available, at retailers such as BestBuy.

Other home audio systems that run Linux:

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