On June 2, 1897, The New York Journal published a response to a query from its English correspondent to Samuel Clemens about the writer’s health. Clemens, over the signature of his pen name Mark Twain, replied in part, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” Widely paraphrased, Twain’s self-evident statement of opposition to then widely-circulated rumors of his demise demonstrates how easily unsubstantiated negative news can travel.
In a similar vein, reports of the death of Bragi are also overstated. A German firm that originally sold hearables such as the Dash and Dash Pro, Bragi recently transformed from a hearables hardware manufacturer to an AI-platform development firm. Bragi headphones and hearables are all listed as out of stock or sold-out, although you may still find them on reseller sites. Bragi may have exited the hearables hardware market as a manufacturer, but the company’s role in product design and machine-learning-based algorithms for hearable platforms is just starting.
Bragi’s transition hasn’t been entirely transparent, which contributes to some of the confustion. Following extensive coverage of its departure from hardware manufacturing, Bragi’s CEO reportedly confirmed to TechCrunch that it sold the product business to an unnamed party. On February 25, before the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Bragi announced its technology suite. The Bragi platform includes nanoOS, a hardware-agnostic operating system, and nanoAI, the machine-learning sensor technology. According to Bragi, nanoAI and nanoOS enable features such as context-aware audio instructions and guidance, fall detection and emergency alerts, contextual audio transparency, and group communications.
In addition to nanoAI and nanoOS, Bragi’s nanoAI website also lists nanoSystems, a customizable hardware platform enabling small and ultra-low power edge devices. It’s most likely that we’ll find nanoSystems-designs in hearables manufactured by other companies in the near future.
New entries to the hearables market face tremendous obstacles in competition from deep-pocket established names like Bose and Sony on the entertainment side and the entire hearing aid industry for hearing assistance devices. Bragi’s pivot from a hardware company to a software and design-licensing enterprise may provide a strong path forward to future success.