The stylish Libratone Zipp speakers now support the Alexa voice assistant, beating multi-room audio specialist Sonos to the punch.
Despite Sonos’ dominance of the multi-room audio marketplace, the Libratone Zipp has been incredibly popular with audiophiles who have praised the striking design of the speaker, alongside its good acoustics. These wireless speakers faced the same problems as Sonos, however, with competition from the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home eating into its bottom line.
As the old adage goes, if you can’t beat them, join them. That’s exactly what Libratone is doing with its new firmware update, that will come to both the Zipp and Zipp Mini. This software upgrade will enable users to bark commands at the speaker using their voice, and it utilises the microphones already found on the Zipp and Zipp Mini – meaning users needn’t go buy any new hardware.
The Zipp and Zipp Mini’s noise-isolating microphone should be powerful enough to pick up commands from across the room, although whether it can compete with the vast array of microphones found on the Amazon Echo or Google Home remains to be seen. Clearly Libratone thinks it works well enough to push the update to its customers.
Using the Alexa voice assistant, users will be able to ask questions, play games, control smart home devices, and queue up songs through voice commands. Amazon’s recent update to Alexa enabling multi-room support also allows users to play music in multiple rooms on a range of speakers supporting the Alexa ecosystem – meaning users could one day have Sonos and Libratone speakers working together in perfect harmony.
In addition to Alexa support, the free software upgrade will also bring support for AirPlay 2, which launches later this year. Libratone will be one of the first wireless speaker companies to support the new wireless audio format, which Apple is utilising as its big move into the multi-room music industry.
Libratone Takes On Sonos
Through the release of Alexa support to its Zipp and Zipp Mini speakers, Libratone is clearly taking aim at Sonos. The multi-room audio specialist has already promised that Alexa support is coming to its range of speakers, and has even announced the event where it’s widely tipped to be announced. Libratone is just beating it to the punch.
While Libratone is offering Alexa first, Sonos may end up coming out a winner in the end. That’s thanks to Sonos’ agnostic approach to voice assistants, with the company hoping to work with a wide array of different AIs – including Alexa and Google Assistant. This could be the unique selling point that leads some users to opt for Sonos over any other speaker system on the market.
The Libratone Zipp app update will officially roll out in the autumn.