Nearly six months after Ikea announced a mysterious collaboration with home audio company Sonos — and just one day after Sonos revealed its new Beam soundbar — we’ve finally got our first look at what Ikea is calling the Symfonisk speaker (some prototype models, at least).
The Symfonisk — one of the easier Ikea products to pronounce — represents the second phase of the Scandinavian company’s push into the smart home sector, following the launch of Qi wireless charging products in 2015 and smart lighting in 2016. Ikea is calling the Sonos deal “a long-term partnership,” so perhaps this is just the first in a long line of audio equipment to come.
The Symfonisk is still in the concept/planning stage; you can see some prototype models in the images above and some rough sketches in the image below. Ikea is designing the Symfonisk (which could conceivably double as shelving, depending upon size) for mounting on walls or under cabinets, thanks to built-in brackets. Based on the images from Sonos, it looks like the speaker will be between the One and the Play:5 in size.
While the Symfonisk represents the first collaboration between Sonos and Ikea, it’s actually not Ikea’s first speaker. In fact, the Swedish furniture/appliance giant recently debuted the compact Eneby Bluetooth speakers, sub-$100 options reflective of the company’s postmodern design philosophy.
From the press release, it appears the partnership between Sonos and Ikea is going swimmingly, thanks to similarities in shared values and company culture.
“Many people dream of built-in sound systems, but few can afford it. Our goal is for our collective work to save space, get rid of cords, make clutter invisible, and bring sound and music into the home in a more beautiful way,” said Björn Block, the business leader for Ikea’s Home Smart division.
It seems the two companies are taking cues from one another. Sonos recently launched its first brick-and-mortar store, which features seven different “mini-homes” outfitted with furniture and a Sonos sound system where shoppers can demo Sonos’ various sound systems in different room environments.
Ikea stores already feature demo rooms to show off its furniture and home products, so slipping in a few speakers into these rooms and selling Sonos products in stores doesn’t seem too outlandish of a possibility. It’s certainly a more cost-effective solution than building more Sonos stores. Plus, including live sound systems in Ikea demo rooms is only going to make people spend more time there (if that’s even possible).
The companies are expecting an in-store launch sometime in 2019, and we can safely expect that more details will surface at some point between now and then. In the meantime, be sure to check out our list of the best wireless speakers if you’re in the market for a great portable listening device.
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