Bose’s venture into the wearable tech market marks an ambitious move for the US-based company, but success may see the company become a takeover target.
Will Bose Frames capture mass appeal?
Bose’s recently released Bose Frames – sunglasses that double up as headphones – feature miniature Bose speakers inside the frame that sit just above the user’s ear. Bose says there’s only 1% sound leakage when in use, a significant improvement on conventional technology. The unit has a 3.5-hour battery life.
The sunglasses themselves block 99% of UVA/UBV rays – somewhat vital for a pair of sunglasses’ main function. There are two variants of the glasses: Alto, which comes in a square frame, and a rounder style for the Rondo frames. The glasses are priced at just under £200 without optional extras in the form of differently tinted frames.
Bose has integrated augmented reality technology with an in-built nine-axis head motion sensor and GPS into the smartglasses. Location and direction details can, therefore, be fed through a smartphone and transmitted into the glasses through Bluetooth.
An attractive takeover proposition
The price entry point will likely appeal to an array of potential customers, from everyday commuters to audiophiles who want to trial the latest technology.
Two major technology players Google and Snapchat, have both launched smartglasses, under the Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles brands. However, both failed miserably after launch under the weight of too much fanfare backed by too few sales, but these efforts did outline a viable space in the market.
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A legal battle with Apple in 2014 saw Apple remove Bose products from stores, though recent moves in the market suggest the two could in future forge a positive relationship.
Apple AirPods, wireless earphones, launched in 2016 have sold better than the company expected. The company are said to be moving into the high-end headphones market, in which Bose, one of the market leaders, commands a large share.
If Bose can succeed where Google and Snap failed, the company could easily become a target for a takeover. Wearable tech is predicted to be a big growth market, despite the early failures, meaning if Bose is able to sell these smartglasses in large numbers, the likes of Apple and Google could soon make bids.
Certainly, the current state of the company would make such a move attractive. Bose sales in 2018 were $4 billion and the company has over 8,500 staff worldwide, which is an improvement from 2017 when the company saw revenues of $3.8 billion with just over 8,000 staff members.