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Sonos plans headphones in move outside the home

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Sonos Play:3, speaker system that can be used with an Android, iPhone or iPad device, or with a dedicated Sonos wireless controller. Speaker maker Sonos Inc is planning to expand beyond the home with high-end headphones, according to people familiar with the plans.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Speaker maker Sonos Inc is planning to expand beyond the home with high-end headphones, according to people familiar with the plans.

The wireless, over-the-ear headphones are still in the early development stages and could be launched by next year, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private plans. High-end pairs often cost US$300 or more, and Sonos is expected to target a similar price range, the people added.

Sonos is focusing on audio quality and the ability to work with multiple music services and digital assistants, like its latest internet-connected speakers. The Santa Barbara, California-based company has begun approaching overseas manufacturers about producing the headphones, one of the people said. Sonos spokeswoman Laura Morarity said the company doesn't comment on future product plans.

The headphones represent a potential new growth area for Sonos. The company went public in August and the stock has lost about a quarter of its value since then.

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In its most recent letter to shareholders, Sonos said half of music listening occurs outside the home and suggested it will tackle this part of the market. "We plan to push our boundaries by investing resources to make the experience of Sonos outside the home a reality," the company wrote.

Sonos will be competing in a growing but crowded headphone market that includes Bose Corp, Sennheiser, Apple Inc unit Beats, and Skullcandy Inc Apple is planning its own over-ear headphones for as early as the second half of this year, people familiar with the plans told Bloomberg in June.

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