Sonos kills its dumb 'recycle mode' that bricked perfectly good devices

Owners of older Sonos speakers can still get 30 percent off new gear.

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Sonos has killed its strange program that offered existing customers discounts on new speakers if they bricked their old devices and mailed them back to the company. Now anyone with a "legacy" Sonos speaker can get a 30 percent discount on a new one simply by validating the serial number of their device. No need to brick your perfectly good speaker or send it to Sonos. Just as the program should've worked in the first place.

In a comment to Engadget, a spokesperson for Sonos said that customers can keep their old speakers and continue using them or do whatever else they want with them. Unfortunately, that won't address all the speakers that customers may have already bricked under the old program. Bricking a Sonos speaker cannot be reversed.

Sonos is doing the right and obvious thing — The company's initial response to backlash over the program — which doesn't seem environmentally friendly in the slightest — was to say that it had to brick old speakers because future versions of Sonos software might render them incompatible. It's obviously understandable that someday old speakers will no longer be able to keep up with new software but that still didn't explain why the company felt a need to destroy working products today. Plenty of Sonos customers have a mix of old and new devices and they interoperate just fine.

With the environment going to hell, we should be trying to make our devices last as long as possible, and speakers are relatively easy to preserve because they don't degrade in quality over a year or two like phones do. Why let a device get trashed before absolutely necessary? Today's move by Sonos reverses a nonsensical position.

Unfortunately the company is still moving forward with its plan to end software updates for older speakers come May. But unlike recycle mode it's totally reasonable that they'd stop dedicating resources to older devices eventually.