After years of pushing out products of questionable quality like sub-par smartwatches, Will.i.am’s company I.am+ finally hit on a winner in 2017 with the release of its Buttons Bluetooth in-ears. It seems the company is keenly aware of this, as it has doubled down on audio, telling Techcrunch that it has acquired wireless headphone manufacturer Earin.
Earin was one of the first companies to release what are often referred to as “true wireless” headphones, which consist of two individual earbuds unencumbered by wires. The Earin M1, while plagued by the same issues that were present in many early true wireless designs, were generally well-received and sold well. The follow-up, the Earin M2, was originally slated to arrive in early 2017, but still have yet to arrive on the market.
Reportedly, the Earin M2 in-ears are still on track for release, though whether or not the Earin name will still grace the casing or packaging is up in the air. I.am+ does not seem to be sharing many details, including what the price of the acquisition was, and this isn’t limited to the public. Apparently, not all of Earin was aware that this acquisition was going to happen, as the news threw a wrench in the spokes of the company’s CES plans and it ended up canceling a meeting we had for another look at the M2.
Looking toward the future, this could be a good thing for Earin’s products. The name and brand awareness that Will.i.am being attached could help make its next product sell better and the extra funding that will likely be involved under the new owner could mean that we will finally start to see true wireless earbuds that don’t suffer from battery life or connectivity issues. Of course, this could be a tech-focused acquisition, meaning we will never see the Earin M2 released, but will end up seeing Buttons-branded true wireless in-ears come to light.
Late last year, I.am+ announced that it was working on an alternative to Alexa or Siri by the name of Omega, which would be targeted at enterprise users. It doesn’t seem very likely that the company is looking at releasing a business-focused true wireless in-ear, but stranger things have happened.