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Wearables

New Google Pixel audio products may be under development, suggested by acquisition history

By Roland Udvarlaki March 2, 2022, 9:52 am

Google unveiled the original Pixel Buds back in 2017, and the second generation in 2020. The first two generations were not the greatest wireless earbuds, and they had a lot of connectivity and other issues. The latest Google Pixel Buds A-Series has been well received, and it shows that Google is on the right path, but there are a lot of improvements that need to be made. According to a report, Google has been quietly purchasing audio-related patents and businesses, including the entire team from Synaptics in a move to, presumably, improve the Pixel audio products.

Protocol did a little bit of investigation and found that Google acquired several companies and patents in the past few months, including Dysonics, for an undisclosed amount. The deal reportedly included all of the patents and the talent at the company. Dysonics developed a 3D audio software with motion-tracking hardware for headphones.

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The Synaptics acquisition was worth £35 million, and the deal included the patents and the audio hardware from the company. The Synaptics patents covered things such as “Balanced stereo headphones” and “Active Noise Cancelling Earbuds.” The company’s VP and GM of Audio Trausti Thormundsson moved over to Google as product managers.

Last year, Google also acquired audio patents from RevX Technologies, the startup that built a device to optimize in-ear monitors for musicians. The product was successful, and it was received well by the artists. In May 2021, Google also acquired Fresh audio wearables startup Tempow for a reported price of $17.4 million. The company was developing “the first OS for true wireless earbuds” and it had partnerships with TCL and Motorola. Protocol speculates that Google needed the company for defensive purposes, as it had a legal fight with Sonos over alleged patent infringement.

Many job listings show that Google is looking for experienced employees to up its audio game and develop new products in California. Google is hiring people for a wide variety of positions “that brings to life key features that distinguish our first-party devices.”

While nothing is certain at this point, the proof shows that Google wants to take audio more seriously, and we might see some better speakers and headphones from the company in the near future.

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