Ikea's smart speaker prototype doubles as a shelf

 In case you missed the news late last year, Ikea is teaming up with Sonos to create a new series of smart speakers that goes by the name SYMFONISK. 

Today, prototypes of the speakers were shown off at Ikea's Democratic Design Day event in Sweden and they're … well, interesting.

There will be a number of speakers in the range - which Ikea says will be more affordably priced than regular Sonos speakers - with the one pictured up above doubling as a shelf or hang beneath a kitchen cabinet without seeming out of place.

Ikea hasn’t nailed down a specific release date for the line-up (other than a vague “sometime after summer 2019” that it mentions in a blog post on its website) but claims that the first of these prototypes is within earshot.  

The motivation behind SYMFONISK is to create a series of speakers that “save space, get rid of cords, make clutter invisible, and bring sound and music into the home in a more beautiful way” according to  Björn Block, Business Leader for Ikea Home Smart.

It's worth noting that, because these are prototypes, the final design might change before they release sometime next year - which is good considering there's one that looks like it could be the unwanted sequel to Nintendo's Virtual Boy console...

SYMFONISK's debut follows yesterday's announcement of the Sonos Beam, a slim smart soundbar that conveniently fits underneath your TV that's developed exclusively by Sonos that comes out on July 17.

A speaker for every room

While it's still early days for the SYMFONISK, Ikea certainly has a creative idea driving the innovation. That idea, partnered with the design company's penchant for fitting furniture together in a utilitarian way, bodes well for the final product.

Beyond the addition of Sonos system compatibility, Ikea says that the SYMFONISK will also support its line of Trådfris smart home line of lights and switches.  

The SYMFONISK is the second speaker collaboration for the Swedish furniture maker after its first project, the Eneby series of speakers, hit stores earlier this year.

Via The Verge

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.