If a recent report by Protocol is to be believed, Google is likely gearing up for some big plans with the release of its next Pixel Buds. It’s said that the tech giant has acquired four or more audio-focused startups and teams in the past 15 months, but things are hush across the board, and Google even declined to comment on the matter.
We’ve spoken in the past about its acquisition of the 3D audio startup called Dysonics including its patents and talent between January and April of 2021, but at the time, we weren’t aware that Google also picked up some of Synaptic’s staff including their Vice President a year prior. Not only that, but Synaptic’s move to Google cost around $35 million, and a bunch of patents came with it including one for “Balanced stereo headphones”, and another for “Active Noise Canceling Earbuds”.
Shortly afterward, Google went on to pick up the intellectual property of RevX Technologies, a company that built a small portable device to optimize in-ear monitors for musicians who perform for large crowds. Since the company’s CTO, Dennis Rauschmayer, began working at Google on “algorithm architecture”, it’s likely that the tech giant also gained RevX Tech’s patents.
Lastly, a French startup called Tempow which creates audio wearables was snatched up by Google in May of 2021 for $17.4 million. This company worked with Motorola and TCL in the past, and was focused on creating “the first OS for true wireless earbuds”. Patents gained along with this last acquisition included things like “Switching between multiple earbud architectures” and “low latency Bluetooth earbuds” just to name a few. Protocol states that all 21 Tempow employees now work at Google.
Alright, with all of that out of the way, what does this mean? Did you notice how in addition to acquiring many talented individuals, Google has focused on grabbing up as many patents as they can in the process? While there’s no way of truly saying for sure at this early stage whether or not these buy ups will result in something truly unique or interesting for the next generation of Pixel Buds, one thing is for sure – Google is serious about protecting itself against future litigation in the audio space like it’s faced with Sonos in recent history.
However, with so many talented people joining up and focusing heavily on things related to their specialty skills which are audio in nature, I have little doubt that something interesting will be on the horizon before long. Let me know in the comments what you hope to see with Google’s next earbuds, and whether or not you think they’re going to do something completely different than the competition.