Sonos' AirPlay play

Whole-house connected audio veterans Sonos today announced both AirPlay support and a full-featured (and free) controller app for the Android platform.

Incorporating AirPlay into a Sonos system requires that one of the Sonos devices in a system be connected to an Airport Express. The Sonos network doesn't support the Apple protocol natively, but instead a single device piggybacks on the Express' connection. Basically, you're creating a hybrid SonosNet/AirPlay network, using the former for what it's good at (playing back multiple media streams in different zones, accessing networked mass storage devices directly) and the latter for accessing media on your various iOS devices or playing back your vintage DRM-era iTunes library.

The Android app is a nifty addition; taking advantage of standard OS features like voice recognition (so you can search your library without all of that pesky typing) and coming in a whole lot cheaper than Sonos' hardware Controller 200.

We're going to be taking a closer look at this system soon, so watch this space.

- Michael Berk