Sonos Speakers Go Silent And Under Armour Record Is Wiped
We Learned It From Logitech, They Announce In Harmony
The Internet of Things has once again reminded us how incredibly poorly thought out the various devices which call that place home are. Users of a variety of Sonos smart devices, including the Zone Player, Connect, Play:5, C200, Bridge and even the recent Connect:Amp received notification yesterday that their devices are no longer going to receive software updates. In a bold move Sonos declared even current generation products will be blocked from receiving updates if they associate with the aforementioned devices on the same network so you will have little choice but to unplug them. This is very reminiscent of Logitech’s two Christmas presents for Harmony Link and Harmony Hub owners.
Members of the football team are warned not to make fun of the band kids as they will be getting their own warning about several Under Armour products suffering a similar fate on March 31st. Their UA HealthBox kit which included a wrist-worn activity monitor, a smart scale, and a chest-strap-style heart rate monitor will soon be nothing more than very expensive and fairly useless weights as Under Armour will be effectively bricking them. They were not content to simply stop pushing updates to the devices as they also decided to pull the UA Record app needed for these devices to work from both Google Play and Apple’s App Store on New Year’s Eve; not bothering to tell anyone until January 8th.
As with Harmony, they have a new series of hardware and apps coming out, which they invite you to to purchase at full retail price. It’s not like you don’t have any reason not to trust them, right?
There is one caveat: customers with a mix of legacy and modern Sonos gear won't be able to run both together once a future update moves modern kit to a new version of the Sonos software. So legacy gear will have to be quarantined on its own network, a capability Sonos intends to facilitate shortly.
More to the growing pile of reasons to avoid products that are cloud reliant. In the vast majority of cases it is used as a more predictable and lower risk method of planned obsolescence, as they can shorted the service life of a product in a predictable way. Outside of this method the usual methods were to do things like pull an Acer and use poor reliability 85C Capxon capacitors and place them right above a heatsink for a linear regulator.
While it increased failure rates, it also increased failures within the warranty period. Now the trend is to just do cloud reliance and brick the product when the company wants more money.
The cloud reliance also open you up to rent-seeking and ransom tactics, e.g., you buy a device at a significant price premium because a specific cloud function is offered at no monthly fee, only to then have the company wait sales to level off, before deciding that those previously free features will now require a subscription, thus you either engage in the sunk cost fallacy and pay increasingly exorbitant rates or let your cloud reliant device become a paperweight. Unless more people become aware of the risks and start thinking long term with a perspective on total cost of ownership, customers will continue to be taken advantage of.