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Google blames Sonos for latest 'interruption' on Pixel phones

Sonos says it is entirely Google's decision to inflict further harm to its customers.

Published onJune 7, 2022

Google Nest Mini charcoal with Pixel 3a XL
  • Google says some Pixel phone users may be unable to set up new or old smart home devices.
  • The company blames Sonos for the interruption.
  • Sonos says the problem directly results from Google infringing its patents rather than licensing them.

Google has put out a community post blaming audio-maker Sonos for a new problem that Pixel phones are facing.

According to the Nest team, some Pixel users in the US and Canada may be unable to set up smart home devices that haven’t been connected to Wi-Fi in a while or ever.

Google hasn’t shared a list of affected devices, but they presumably include Google Home and Nest speakers and displays, as well as Chromecasts. Android and Google TV devices are not affected, and users can continue to activate them via standard methods.

For devices that aren’t connecting, the official blog post warns that Pixel users may encounter a message saying “Device needs to be activated before setup” in the Google Home app. Google says this is happening “because of an interruption caused by Sonos.”

The company doesn’t detail how Sonos is responsible for the problem, but it’s a result of the ongoing patent case between the two companies.

A Google spokesperson gave the following statement to 9To5Google:

This decision temporarily impacts a small number of Pixel users who set up a speaker or display for the first time with the Device Utility App. We will work with them to minimize disruption. Our support teams are on hand to fix any issues they have and if needed, we will send replacement devices or offer a Google store credit. Over the years, we have worked hard to make sure that our shared customers would have a positive experience and are disappointed that Sonos continues to use the legal system in a way that deliberately creates issues for these users.

Meanwhile, speaking to Android Central, a Sonos spokesperson said that  the following:

Google’s Pixel disruption is the direct result of its decision to infringe Sonos’ patents rather than license them, as the International Trade Commission ruled. It is entirely Google’s decision to inflict further harm to its customers rather than behave responsibly, and it’s the height of arrogance to try to blame the company whose innovations it’s misappropriating.

How to fix the problem?

Google says that if you are someone who lives outside the US or Canada, you can follow these steps to activate your device using the Device Utility app. However, if you live in the two countries, you are advised to contact Google Support.

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