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Sonos finally adds streaming straight from Android

Android users can now play downloaded music directly from their device without the need for a separate PC or NAS.

Android users can now play from "This Mobile Device" without needing to use a PC or NAS Screenshot: Ty Pendlebury/CNET

You no longer need a PC (or iPhone) to play music through a Sonos system as the company has finally enabled onboard streaming from Android devices, several months after Apple devices got the same functionality.

An update to iOS 6 devices in December 2012 enabled users to access their device's onboard music library and stream it through their Sonos system.

The Android upgrade enables the option to play from "This Mobile Device" and should enable multiple users to create a playlist on the fly using their own music--perfect for parties. Every user would need to download the Sonos app and sync it with the system first, though.

The app reads the media stored in your device's default Music folder and will play most formats including 16-bit FLAC, MP3 and AAC, though Sonos advises that tracks downloaded directly from the Google Play Store won't work away from a PC.

To use the Sonos Controller for Android app (version 4.1.1) you need to have at least Android 2.1 (Eclair) or higher but the rest of your Sonos components do not need to be updated.

Depending on how many devices are connected to your network you may find that it doesn't work as seamlessly as you'd like Screenshot: Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Using the update I was able to make a playlist with multiple phones and it worked fairly well, though you can't add tracks from any other phones than your own.

Beware that if you connect using standard 2.4GHz wireless (802.11 g/n), the spectrum gets full very quickly as Sonos also uses the same bandwidth. For example, I found that I couldn't stream FLAC from a second HTC One X+ phone to the wirelessly-connected Play:3 without an error message ("Unable to play 'x' - network connection speed insufficient to maintain playback buffer). MP3 files worked much better, though. As a caveat, while I had a five-bar connection to the router, the CNET office is awash with 2.4GHz wireless signals -- you may not have the same problem at your home.

Functionality of the Sonos system was last improved in May 2013 with added playlist support and better Spotify integration .