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Sonos revamps controller app with Android beta available now

David Ludlow
19 Mar 2014
Sonos controller app
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Completely redesigned interface makes the Sonos controller app easier to use to find music

Sonos has released details of its new controller app, designed to make discovering and playing music easier. It's available in beta for Android now, with the identical-looking iOS version due to be released in Spring.

The need for revamp is fairly obvious to anyone that's been a long-term Sonos user. The current mobile apps uses roughly the same touchscreen interface as the discontinued touchscreen controller, the CR200, and are starting to look a little dated now.

In particular, times have changed in regards to how we use and listen to music. When the old apps were launched, music was largely stored on a NAS or computer and streamed over the local network. Today, a lot more music is streamed online, using services such as Spotify.

The Sonos controller app update intends to redress the balance. Now, instead of having services hidden away in a sub menu, all music (local and streamed) find pride-of-place on the main screen of the app. Now, you can simply select the one that you want to use, getting into it much quicker.

Sonos has always been good at mixing local and streamed files into playlists, not really caring where the music was stored; however, it always kept the browsing and search for each service separate. With the new app, there's a single search, which looks through your local files and music services together.

We've been using the beta for just over a week now and have to say that the controller's a big improvement. It takes a little getting used to, as some things have moved around.

For example, the old app launched to the zone's screen, so you'd need to select the one you wanted to control. To see what was playing, you'd have to tap the Now Playing button.

In contrast, the new app launches to the new music selection screen of the zone you last controlled. To view what's playing in detail, you have to tap the bar at the bottom of this screen. In the new Now Playing screen, you can tap the button at the top to group zones or select a different one to control. After a few minutes of trying to work out where everything was, we much preferred the new interface.

Android users can download the beta now (instructions below); iOS users will get the app in Spring; Windows and Mac users will get revamped controllers later in the year.

If you have Sonos and an Android handset, here's what you need to do:

* Go to www.sonos.com and select Sign in

* Log-in using your Sonos account information

* Click My Account, then select Sonos Beta from the left-hand menu

* Click Join, under the Sonos Public Beta for Android

* Wait for the email to come through on your phone, then select the download link to get the new controller app

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