In December, audio company Sonos faced criticism over the ‘Recycle Mode’ mode it introduced to brick perfectly good, but obsolete, speakers. The mode was a requirement for customers who wanted to use the company’s Trade Up program, which offers a discount on new products that are still supported. Going forward, Sonos no longer requires users to brick their devices, but the speakers will still soon be obsolete.
The Sonos Trade Up program offers a 30-percent discount on new products, but it required users to put their older products in Recycle Mode, which would brick the devices by removing their ability to connect with other Sonos products and with the Internet. This requirement existed despite the fact that these products were functional.
The company was criticized for this requirement, with critics pointing out that it was bad for the environment to render the otherwise usable product into something unusable. Because the speakers were no longer usable, the owner would have to recycle them as electronic waste…and that assumes the customer wouldn’t just toss the speaker in the trash.
While the Trade Up program remains, Sonos no longer requires its customers to put their old devices into Recycle Mode in order to get the discount. The older speakers will no longer be supported by the company and will no longer get updates starting this May; that hasn’t changed.
They’ll still be usable in their current state, however, and the owner can continue to use them or give them away for someone else to use. Going forward, Sonos only requires Trade Up customers to provide the older device’s serial number so the company can confirm they are eligible for the discount.
Update: Sonos gave SlashGear the following statement:
“We have updated our trade up program by removing the recycle mode requirement. Trade up was designed as an option for our customers to upgrade their older Sonos products to the latest experiences.
Customers still receive a 30% discount on new Sonos products, but they can now choose what to do with their old device: continue to use it, give it to a friend, donate it to charity, responsibly recycle it at their local e-waste facility or send it back to Sonos via a prepaid shipping label.”