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HARMAN International Partners with Google for 'Ara' & 'Soli'

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HARMAN International Industries, Inc. announced that it has extended its partnership with Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google to provide its audio technology. The deal was made public at the recent Google I/O 2016 developer conference.

Specifically, HARMAN will now be providing its audio modules for Google’s upcoming modular smartphone, Ara. The new device is designed to be customizable as it comes with swappable parts (like camera, e-ink display, speaker, microphone etc.). Ara is scheduled to hit the markets in early 2017.

Apart from Ara, HARMAN and Google are also collaborating for another project ­– Soli – of the Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects Group (ATAP), which also designed Ara. Soli is a radar-based hand gesture tracker, which allows a person to control a wearable device through hand gestures without touching it. HARMAN is working with ATAP for developing speakers that come with a built in Soli radar. This will enable the user to control the device from a distance as well.

Harman holds a leading position in the audio and infotainment equipments space. In addition, the company has strong manufacturing capacities, a growing product pipeline, solid patent portfolio, new awards and product launches, which are positives.

The aforementioned partnership with Google will allow the company to further entrench its position in the market, especially for its lifestyle offerings. As the company puts it “Consumers now understand they don’t have to sacrifice sound for portability, and Ara will give them premium audio and the functionalities they want on the go. We look forward to collaborating with Google on other innovations incorporating smart audio in the future.”

Following this news, HARMAN’s stock gained approximately 4.81% in Friday’s trading session to close at $75.15.

However, currently HARMAN is a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) stock. Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector are Facebook Inc. ,  and PetMed Express, Inc. (PETS - Free Report) . Both these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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