Sonos buys Bluetooth audio startup to build better headphones

T2 Software was working on the new Bluetooth LE Audio standard; Sonos appears to be looking for an ad agency for its headphones launch.

Sonos staff during IPO

Sonos went public in 2018. Now it’s embarking on “one of the most ambitious projects in [its] history.”

Photo: Sonos

Sonos has acquired Louisville, Kentucky-based Bluetooth audio startup T2 Software, Protocol has been able to confirm. T2 Software had been working on implementations of Bluetooth LE Audio, a new standard that promises higher-quality audio over Bluetooth while also optimizing device battery usage — both key to building next-generation wireless headphones.

A Sonos spokesperson confirmed the acquisition, but declined to share any further details. “Occasionally, we will acquire teams, talent, and/or technology that augment our existing and future product roadmap,” the spokesperson said via email.

The company has yet to publicly announce its plans to branch out into the wearables market, but a recent LinkedIn posting suggests a launch may come later this year.

T2 Software was founded in 2018, and quietly joined Sonos in November. The startup was founded by Tim Reilly, a veteran Bluetooth expert who sold his previous company to Qualcomm. After working on Qualcomm’s wearables portfolio for a little over two years, Reilly founded T2 Software to focus on Bluetooth Audio. One of the T2 Software’s first clients was headphone-maker Bose.

More recently, T2 Software had been working on implementations of Bluetooth LC3, a dedicated audio codec for the new Bluetooth LE Audio standard. “The codec is designed to achieve high-quality audio at much lower data rates than the current [codec] used in Bluetooth audio solutions today, thus achieving lower power consumption,” T2 Software explained on its website, which has been taken down following the Sonos acquisition.

The codec also supports a number of advanced features that are not part of the current Bluetooth specs. For instance, it can send out multiple synchronized audio streams to headphones at the same time for better stereo pairing and more seamless integration of voice assistants.

Another new feature: Bluetooth LC3 supports broadcasting audio signals to multiple endpoints, which would allow people to stream the same music to multiple headphones, much like Sonos currently streams audio over Wi-Fi to multiple speakers.

Sonos has been quietly working on a headphones product for a number of years. Bloomberg first reported about the company’s efforts in this space in 2019, and a patent filing from 2020 revealed further details about the product.

Now, it looks like Sonos is getting closer to launching its headphones. Last week, Sonos VP of Marketing Pete Pedersen revealed on LinkedIn that the company was looking for a new ad agency to help with “one of the most ambitious projects in [its] history.”

Prospective agency partners were told that they should have experience in “launching a new brand/product/service in an established category,” “creating a new category for an established brand,” and “targeting a new audience/consumer segment” — all things that would match an expansion into the headphone space.

Sonos’ spokesperson declined to comment on any connection between the search and the company’s product roadmap.


Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

Keep ReadingShow less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

Keep ReadingShow less
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

Keep ReadingShow less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

Keep ReadingShow less
Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.


Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

Keep ReadingShow less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories