Last year, at CES 2012, Philips launched several outstanding headphones, and recently upped their game further with the Fidelio X1 (pictured), which is a headphone I really dig. At CES 2013, just a few weeks ago, they announced several other new, intriguing headphone models, in addition to many other cool audio products, including an innovative wireless surround sound bar, several very cool wireless speaker systems, and other portable audio gear. The Philips exhibit was easily one of my favorite stops at CES 2013.
The other day, it was announced that Funai is acquiring Philips' audio-visual consumer electronics business (also known as Philips' "Lifestyle Entertainment" business), with the stated aim of both companies to maintain the PHILIPS brand. There has been coverage in major media outlets about the acquisition (see the links at the bottom of this post for some examples); however, in my opinion, none of the stories have been entirely clear on what the acquisition means to the consumers, and what it means to existing product lines, for products recently announced, and for development of these types of products going forward.
After inquiring about the status of the current headphone (and audio) lines, as well as the new stuff I'd seen at CES, we were able to get a Q&A with Todd Richardson (Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for P&F) that helps clear things up:
Q: Once the agreement is in place, what will Philips role be with Funai?
Long story short, as I understand it, the consumers shouldn't notice anything's changed. There's a desire to keep the Philips team in place post-transition, and to keep making products under the Philips brand.
I think this is great news! Like I said in the Gift Guide, though we didn't talk much about Philips' headphones here in Head-Fi's first ten years, Philips really amped up their headphone game in the past year, and have more very cool headphone (and other audio) products coming down the pike.