The Cell speaker made by ex-HomePod designers will cost a whopping $1,500 and will ship in early 2021
The unique smart speaker made by Syng promises immersive spatial audio.
Los Angeles-based audio hardware startup Syng is getting ready to take orders for its first product: The company is in the process of starting a presale campaign for Cell Alpha, a still-unannounced spatial audio speaker that is slated to ship in the first quarter of 2021. Syng is selling each Cell Alpha for $1,500, according to a presale page discovered by Protocol. The company is advising prospective customers that they will be able to get the most immersive sound with three or more Cell speakers. (Buyers of multiple speakers are set to receive a small discount.)
Syng didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Syng was co-founded by longtime Apple designer Christopher Stringer as well as key HomePod engineer Afrooz Family. Its staff includes more than a dozen former Apple engineers and designers, and Nest co-founder Matthew Rogers sits on the company's board. The company's existence was first revealed in May 2020, and Protocol first reported key details about Syng's technology last week.
Syng's first speaker, Cell Alpha, is quite literally a big bet on spatial audio:
Syng's spatial audio technology has been described as "revolutionary" and capable of producing sound that's "indistinguishable from reality." In a patent application, the company not only promised to enhance home theater sound, but also laid out a few more futuristic scenarios. For instance, the speakers could add "functional directional alerts or beacons for guidance" to a home, and even reproduce spatial audio for VR and AR wearables.
The $1,500 price tag will all but guarantee that these kinds of audio innovations are only available to a select few, but Cell Alpha may not be the company's only product for long. The Financial Times reported earlier this year that Syng was looking to license its technology to other companies, and Syng's patent application mentioned a number of other form factors, including a possible integration into lightbulb sockets.
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Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.