Sonos is expanding beyond surround sound and smart speakers

Greg S

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Something to look forward to: As a maker of excellent home speakers, Sonos is moving on to tackle mobile sound as well with the addition of headphones. Even though there are already plenty of great headphones in the $300 price range, more competition may help bring better headphones down to more affordable levels.

After going public last year, speaker company Sonos is ready to try and grow even further by expanding its product lineup to include over-ear headphones. Sonos has recognized in a letter to shareholders that nearly half of music listening is happening outside of homes, giving large opportunities to try and cash in on a new target audience.

Sonos' headphones are still in early stages of development, but may still be finished and ready for launch by the end of this year. Similar to Sonos' line of high end smart speakers, over-the-ear headphones are likely to support all of the main digital assistants, including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. Some speakers launched by the company have not included support for all assistants at launch, only to later add support, so that is also a possibility for headphones as well.

Even though the market for high end headphones is becoming extremely crowded, Sonos may be one of the few companies that can produce a set of headphones that is truly platform independent. When you want to listen to music on a smartphone, watch videos on a laptop or tablet, and make phone calls with your fancy headphones, there are few options available that work with a mixture of hardware and software well.

The bet on producing headphones is sure to help Sonos satisfy investors after the company has slipped more than 25 percent since its initial public offering. Strong sales of the Sonos Beam sound bar during the third quarter last year and amassing more than $490 million in sales during the holiday season are also positive signs for the company.

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