There’s been a steady drumbeat of rumors that Sonos is eyeing the headphone market, and now the home audio manufacturer appears even closer to releasing its first headset following a key acquisition.
Protocol reports that Sonos recently snapped up T2 Software, a Bluetooth audio startup that’s steeped in LE Audio, the latest Bluetooth standard. T2 Software joined forces with Sonos last November, according to Protocol, but the acquisition is only now coming to light. Sonos confirmed the acquisition.
The LE Audio standard, which was first unveiled by the Bluetooth SIG in early 2020, boasts the new LC3 (short for Low Complexity Communications) audio codec, which offers a boost in audio quality over SBC (the current default Bluetooth codec) while using the same amount of bandwidth.
The LC3 codec can also serve up the same audio quality as SBC using only half the power (think better battery life), while its multi-stream capabilities allows for multiple streams between Bluetooth audio devices.
As Protocol notes, one of T2 Software’s first customers was Bose, which happens to be one of the largest headphone manufacturers on the planet. So if Sonos is truly prepping its first headphone, it makes sense that the company would want T2’s Bluetooth expertise for itself.
Reached for comment, a Sonos rep issued the following statement to TechHive:
Innovation remains the core of Sonos – both in the products we build and the culture that fuels them. To that end, occasionally we will acquire teams, talent, and/or technology that augment our existing and future product roadmap. We do not have anything further to share at this time.
Rumblings of Sonos headphones first began back in 2019 following a Bloomberg News report, while a Sonos patent that included headphone designs and possible features emerged the following year.
Just a few months ago, we learned that Sonos had acquired RHA Technologies, a well known but financially troubled British tech firm that was (according to TechHive’s sister site Tech Advisor) working on a high-end noise-canceling headphone.
Dubbed Atlas, RHA’s prototype for the headset had a “square-ish and slightly curved” design high-resolution Bluetooth codec support, “cracking” active noise cancellation, and spatial audio functionality.
With a design potentially in place and now Bluetooth support allowing for higher audio quality and better battery life, it seems like Sonos is getting oh-so-close to debuting its first headphones. But will 2022 be the big year? Stay tuned.