Bragi was a promising early contender in the Bluetooth earbud space. The company came to prominence in 2014 with a massively successful $3.3 million Kickstarter. And to its credit, it actually brought to market products like the Dash and Dash Pro, offering a compelling “smart” alternative to other devices.
Last month, however, the German company gave up the ghost, selling off its hardware business to an unnamed party. Wareable notes that early this year Bragi’s online store went out of stock, and while it told the press it had plans to refresh, that day never came. Instead, an outside party has purchased its product business.
Bragi confirmed the move in a statement from CEO Nikolaj Hviid. The executive was quick to add, however, that its conscious uncoupling from products like the Dash should not be viewed as the end for the company.
“Bragi’s technology suite is applied beyond our own products to partners and headphone brands,” Hviid said. “The Dash Pro featured groundbreaking ultra efficient AI and software that could be updated with new features such as Amazon Alexa, language translation and personalized hearing. With the sale of our product business, Bragi has completed its transformation into a software, AI and IP licensing company.”
Of course, the AirPods came along in 2016, and did the thing that Apple does to markets — it’s a story we’ve seen played out time and time again with companies like Pebble. New numbers out last week put Apple’s product at around 60 percent of the so-called “hearables” market. Other giants like Samsung, Bose and Jabra also make up a sizable chunk.
Ultimately, it seems, the market Bragi helped pioneer was quickly ceded to existing giants. As such, maintaining its innovative work on the software and AI, while licensing IP, certainly makes the most sense going forward. We noted the seemingly inevitability of the move at last year’s Mobile World Congress, when one of its EVP’s told us, “At some point we may not be a hardware company anymore. That was the plan from the beginning. That was not really a secret.”
We’ve reached out to Bragi for additional comment.