Hi, Gerard here and welcome to this week’s edition of our newsletter, where I bring you the juiciest updates from the world of smart home technology. I have an action-packed lineup for you today, starting with the ongoing clash between Sonos and Google, affectionately dubbed “The Battle of Bickering Titans.” Hold onto your seats as we dive into the latest developments in this intense rivalry.
Next up, we have some exciting news for Sonos users, as Soro strikes back with a long-awaited intercom update that will surely elevate your home audio experience. But alas, it’s not all good news, as we bid a heartfelt farewell to the celebrity voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Shaq, and McCarthy on Alexa.
Fear not, though, because we’re ending on a high note with Hubitat’s latest release, 188.8.131.52. So buckle up, stay tuned, and let’s delve into the captivating smart home tech world together!
Farewell, Celebrity Voices: Amazon Bids Adieu to Samuel L. Jackson, Shaq, and McCarthy on Alexa
Amazon is pulling the plug on its celebrity voices for Alexa, leaving fans disappointed. The likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Melissa McCarthy will no longer be available for purchase or supported on Alexa devices. These voices, initially priced at $0.99 and later at $4.99, added a touch of star power to Alexa, allowing users to interact with celebrities using personalized commands. While customers can use the voices for a limited time, Amazon has confirmed that support will soon come to an end. The voice of Samuel L. Jackson will stop working after June 7th, while McCarthy and Shaq’s voices will be supported until September 30th.
Soro for Sonos Strikes Back: The Intercom Update You’ve Been Waiting For!
Remember back in 2020 when Apple launched its fancy intercom feature for HomePod and HomePod mini? Well, guess what? It’s 2023, and Sonos speakers still don’t have that nifty capability. But fear not, my friends, because Soro for Sonos is here to save the day with a spiffy new update!
Soro made its debut in 2021, bringing Siri and Apple’s Shortcuts app support to Sonos speakers with a plethora of useful actions. And now, with the latest Soro 1.4 update, they’re kicking it up a notch by introducing a HomePod-like intercom feature for all you Sonos enthusiasts out there.
Sure, you might argue that other integrations like Amazon Alexa’s announce feature already work on some Sonos speakers. But hey, if you’re a die-hard Apple fan who craves that authentic Apple experience, Soro Siri intercom support is the way to go.
So, what’s in store with the Soro 1.4 update, you ask? Well, hold on to your seats, because we’ve got the scoop. Introducing the “Speak Text” action, a.k.a. Intercom for Sonos. Just like the Intercom action on the HomePod, this nifty feature lets you play messages (or media files) on any supported Sonos speaker using the built-in text-to-speech features of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. You can even customize the voice, language, pitch, and speed rate to suit your fancy. It’s like having your own personal announcer right in your living room!
But wait, there’s more! The Soro 1.4 update also brings additional actions like Create Alarm, Delete Alarm, and Update Alarm, as well as the ability to create or separate stereo pairs. They’ve even thrown in various fixes to improve speed and reliability. It’s like they’ve thought of everything!
Supported speakers for this intercom extravaganza include Sonos One, Amp, Port, Play:5 (gen 2), Beam, One SL, Move, SYMFONISK table lamp with WiFi, SYMFONISK WiFi bookshelf, and any newer speakers using the Sonos S2 system.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. What about official intercom support from Sonos themselves? Well, back in January, a company rep mentioned that they shared the feature request with the “relevant teams for consideration.” Fingers crossed, folks!
So, if you’re ready to embrace the power of intercom on your Sonos speakers, head on over to the App Store and snag Soro for Sonos. It’s a one-time purchase of $7.99.
Sonos vs. Google: The Battle of Bickering Titans
In a courtroom clash that feels like it’s been going on since the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, Sonos seems to have won a small victory against Google. Picture this: a bunch of lawyers in suits, glaring at each other across the room, while Sonos and Google exchange snarky remarks like siblings fighting over the TV remote.
Sonos, the plucky underdog, filed a lawsuit against Google way back in the ancient times of January 2020. They claimed that Google swiped their patented technology during their cozy collaboration days when they were all buddy-buddy integrating Sonos speakers with Google Play Music. But wait, there’s more! Google fired back with a counter-suit, accusing Sonos of infringing on its smart speaker patents. This legal tug-of-war was just getting started.
Not one to back down, Sonos decided to up the ante a few months later by expanding their lawsuit. It was like adding extra layers to a cake of legal woes. Then, in a shocking plot twist, Google sued Sonos in 2022, claiming that Sonos’s new voice assistant was treading on the toes of seven patents related to the all-knowing Google Assistant. Seriously, are these guys ever going to stop?
Now, today’s decision has left us hanging on the edge of our seats, wondering if the bickering between Sonos and Google will ever end. Will they finally call a truce, or will this circus continue to entertain us for months to come? Brace yourself, folks, because there’s a whole bunch of unresolved lawsuits still lurking in the shadows, and you can bet your favorite smart speaker that Google will appeal this decision faster than you can say “Hey Google, what’s the meaning of legal limbo?”
So, grab your popcorn and settle in, because the battle of the bickering titans is far from over. Sonos and Google are locked in a never-ending dance of legal wrangling, and we’re all just waiting for the next episode of this courtroom soap opera.
Hubitat Unleashed: Release 184.108.40.206 with Graphical Network Views and New Friends
Hubitat is back with a bang in its latest update, Release 220.127.116.11! Get ready to dive into the exciting world of graphical network views and meet some new friends along the way.
First up, let’s talk about the new drivers. Introducing the frient Water Leak Detector (FLSZB-110) and frient IO Module (IOMZB-110). These trusty companions will keep a watchful eye on water leaks and provide you with a smart IO module for all your tinkering needs. They’re like the Batman and Robin of your Hubitat universe!
Now, onto the bug fixes. The Zigbee multi-endpoint switch has learned to ignore all those pesky F2 endpoints. SmartSense Multi Sensor V4 got its parsing error all fixed up. And the Generic Zigbee dimmer can now parse like a pro without any errors. It’s like the Hubitat team sent these bugs packing on a one-way trip to Bug-Free Island.
But wait, there’s more! Rule 5.1 is now smarter than ever. It can handle paused rules being resumed by another rule without breaking a sweat. Talk about rule-resume harmony.
Now, let’s get to the pièce de résistance—the platform changes. Brace yourselves, because Hubitat is introducing graphical views of Zigbee and Z-Wave networks (beta version, folks!).
So, grab your superhero cape, update to Release 18.104.22.168, and explore the Hubitat universe with its fancy graphical network views and fantastic new friends. It’s time to take your smart home on a thrilling adventure!
This is it for today, See you soon 😉. If you have colleagues, friends, or neighbors that would benefit from knowing about smart home devices, please consider sharing them. They can sign up for the newsletter by going here.
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