Sonos has acquired Bluetooth audio startup T2 Software, according to a new report from Protocol.
The acquisition signals that Sonos is preparing to introduce new technologies and new products in the wireless audio space, potentially including its first pair of wireless headphones. Prior reports in Bloomberg and elsewhere say that Sonos is working on an entirely new product category, likely to be headphones.
In a comment to Protocol, a Sonos spokesperson simply said, “Occasionally, we will acquire teams, talent, and/or technology that augment our existing and future product roadmap.”
Founded in 2018, Kentucky-based T2 Software develops and licenses “software for current- and next-generation Bluetooth LE Audio and Bluetooth Classic audio solutions. We also provide custom software development services for embedded and wireless applications,” according to the company’s LinkedIn page. The same page says T2 Software has between 11 and 50 employees and that its specialties include “Bluetooth, Connectivity, Audio, Codecs, LC3, LE Audio, Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth Stacks, Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth Profiles, Bluetooth BR/EDR, and Embedded Software.”
Several reports speculate that Sonos is planning to make Bluetooth headphones because Bluetooth LE Audio will be a key technology in future headphones.
That is certainly possible, but we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. There is another Bluetooth audio category that is sure to use Bluetooth LE Audio in the future: wireless, ultraportable Bluetooth speakers. Just under a year ago, Sonos released a product called the Sonos Roam that fits neatly into that category.
All that said, Protocol notes that T2 was founded by Tim Reilly, who previously worked on wearables at Qualcomm.
According to T2’s now-shuttered website, the company has been working with a new audio codec for Bluetooth LE Audio called Bluetooth LC3. As quoted in Protocol, the website’s copy used to say that “the codec is designed to achieve high-quality audio at much lower data rates than the current SBC used in Bluetooth audio solutions today, thus achieving lower power consumption.”
Among other things, the new codec allows streaming tightly synced audio to multiple devices simultaneously using Bluetooth. That same feature is core to Sonos’ lineup of smart speakers for the home, but Sonos’ existing products use Wi-Fi for that purpose.