December 31, 2008
| by Lisa Montgomery
Interactive touchpanels to control consumer electronics devices are highly intuitive, easy to navigate and fun to fiddle with. The only problem: It’s the most expensive type of home control interface. Even some higher end remotes can top $500.
That’s part of the reason the iPhone has become so appealing as a home control device, says Tom Cullen, co-founder of Sonos, a manufacturer of wireless multiroom music systems. “By using the iPhone you can get into home control for less.” How much less? In Sonos’ case, about $200 less than what you might spend for Sonos’ $400 CR100 handheld controller.
Once the Sonos free software is downloaded from iPhone App Store into the iPhone, the mobile device can do everything the handheld controller can. You can use it to search for your favorite songs stored on a computer or access an infinite world of music from a variety of Internet radio stations like Pandora and Last.fm, as well as subscription-based services like Napster, Rhapsody and Sirius. The chosen music can be directed to just one room or several rooms throughout the house. Go to www.sonos.com/iphone for a video demonstration of the iPhone application.
To keep the cost of its multiroom music system in check, like the iPhone app these Internet-based music services are free. “For as little as $350 plus the cost of an iPhone, you can have a huge world of music at your fingertips,” Cullen says. “And just imagine: When you walk into your house, you can just pull your phone out of your pocket and turn on the music.”
While the iPhone provides a simple, convenient way to control the Sonos system, the company will still offer its full portfolio of control options, including the CR100, as well as software that enables a PC or Mac computer to order up song choices.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.