American audio product maker Sonos has a busy few quarters ahead, as the company is planning to experiment with not just one, but four new product categories. During Sonos’ Q4 2022 earnings call, CEO Patrick Spence revealed that the company is “investing in products that will allow us to enter four new categories, one of which we expect to announce in fiscal ’23.” The company didn’t delve into the specifics of the product categories that it was exploring, aside from mentioning that it was looking at “new naturally adjacent categories.” Or to put it simply, Sonos won’t be wandering too far off from its bread-and-butter audio gear category that covers both home and outdoorsy audio products.
The core objective behind exploring new product categories, according to Spence, is to diversify Sonos’ business, but the Sonos chief didn’t reveal any further information. According to Protocol, the company might finally launch a video streaming product. Sonos already has a Radio service under its belt and is already taking the fight to AI assistants with its own Sonos Voice Control.
As per job listings, the company is looking to hire talent for working on “Home Theater OS” and is also exploring avenues tied to the Android TV platform. “Content and services” will be a big part of the video-related service that Sonos aims to build. The company is also working on a new home theater project and a high-end desk speaker, too, according to The Verge.
Audio wearables are on the horizon
The most promising new product category by Sonos, something that has been rumored for a while, is wireless headphones. Rumored to cost somewhere around $300, the over-the-ear cans from Sonos will reportedly focus on offering a high-quality music listening experience and integration with digital assistants to get things done via voice commands. First reported by Bloomberg, we got our first potential look at the tentative design of Sonos’ upcoming headphones via patent schematics filed before the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2019. The patent documents (via Protocol) mention a knob-like control system for volume adjustments, and even a touch-sensitive surface for core controls.
An interesting aspect of the headphones would be a tech called “swap,” which could allow users to switch their music playback from the headphones to other Sonos devices in a local home network. If it turns out to be true, Sonos will be going against the likes of Sony and Bose in the premium headphone segment. Interestingly, Sonos purchased a controlling stake in British headphone manufacturer RHA Audio last year.
Another interesting but relevant product category that Sonos is apparently exploring is true wireless earbuds. A patent filed in its home market (via ZatsNotFunny) reveals a TWS earbuds diagram that looks somewhat similar to the OnePlus Nord Buds thanks to a flat stem design. But do keep in mind that this is just patent schematics, which may not become a real product.