Google has ambitious plans for headphones
Google has ambitious plans for headphones

Over the past 15 months, Google has acquired several audio hardware startups and spent tens of millions of dollars acquiring intellectual property for audio hardware, technology, and talent.

These acquisitions could help the company strengthen its wireless headphones. It also helps him defend himself in future patent lawsuits.

The search giant has spent tens of millions on a suite of patents from startups and companies working on audio, 3D audio, noise-cancelling and Bluetooth devices, indicating that it plans to expand its audio offering.

Google began acquiring audio hardware companies in December 2020 when it struck a deal with longtime partner Synaptics to acquire part of the company's audio hardware business.

The deal amounted to $35 million, and in return Google received audio equipment and patents. The search giant has also acquired employees from Synaptics.

That same month, Google acquired Dysonics to start playing 3D audio. The deal includes patents and talent.

Dysonics previously developed 3D audio creation and motion tracking software for headphones. Technology developed by Dysonics can help Google add spatial audio and more to future headphone projects.

The acquisition lasted until 2021, when Google acquired the intellectual property rights to RevX Technologies.

As part of the deal, the patents listed include ways to reduce noise from headphones via in-ear microphones.

The search giant also acquired French mobile audio startup Tempow for $17.4 million in May 2021.

Tempow develops the so-called first operating system for true wireless headphones. It maintains business relationships with Android device manufacturers such as Motorola and TCL.

Google plans to expand its audio offerings

Google may acquire its own intellectual and commercial property rights in this area for a number of reasons. The acquisitions are likely to be defensive as the search giant looks to bolster its patent portfolio against future lawsuits.

The company is currently in a patent infringement lawsuit with Sonos. He recently had to disable some features to avoid being prevented from importing his devices.

However, the fact that the company has hired entire teams as part of these deals shows that they are trying to use these companies to improve their audio products.

Google hired long-time Bose engineer Peter Liu in early 2021. Liu has been a member of the Bluetooth SIG's board of directors for many years.

Liu also helped develop the Bluetooth LE audio standard. This standard plays a major role in the next generation of portable audio devices.

The job announcement also reveals that the company plans to operate an experimental audio lab for innovation in audio technology in Irvine, California, where most of the former Synaptics employees work.

The company has also opened the door to hiring multiple positions to develop custom silicone acoustic barriers that bring the key functions of its devices to life.

New acquisitions and hires show that the voice business is expanding exponentially, with a focus on mobile devices.

The company first entered the headphone market in 2017 with Pixel Buds. Two more versions have since appeared.

Google stopped selling the second generation Pixel Buds last summer. This indicates that an updated version may be available soon.

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