A report coming out of Bloomberg today says Amazon is working on its own competitor to Apple’s ubiquitous AirPods. Naturally, it’ll be powered by Alexa. I’m surprised it’s taken this long.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon is aiming to release the earbuds as early as the second half of this year. “The headphones will look and act similar to AirPods,” – the report indicates they won’t use ear hooks like some other true-wireless headphones – but Amazon is “striving for better audio quality.”
Bloomberg‘s sources are calling it one of the most important projects within Amazon’s hardware team. Alexa would let you order stuff from Amazon (of course), play music, ask for the weather, and do a variety of other Alexa-y things. The earbuds will also support tap gestures for controlling music and calls. They’ll also come with a charging case as seen on practically every other pair true-wireless headphones, and might come in black and/or grey colors.
The earbuds are likely Amazon’s tool to get into more people’s pockets. While Alexa has dominated AI in the home, Amazon has struggled to have the same impact in your pocket. After all, Google and Apple own the smartphone market. Last time Amazon tried to make a phone, well, it didn’t go so well.
The company isn’t too likely to make much of a dent on iPhones, where you can’t replace Siri as the default voice assistant and the Apple loyalty remains supreme. But on Android devices, Alexa works almost as well as the Google Assistant, and there isn’t really a flagship voice-powered headphone to compete againt. Most people didn’t like Google’s Pixel Buds as much as I did, so Amazon has a chance yet.
Amazon usually strives for lower prices than the competition, and you can bet these will be cheaper than a pair of AirPods ($159, or $199 with the wireless charging case). Decent true-wireless headphones still cost a fair bit of money, so if Amazon can undercut Apple significantly, it might have a shot at this market after all.
TNW Conference 2019 is coming! Check out our glorious new location, inspiring line-up of speakers and activities, and how to be a part of this annual tech bonanza by clicking here.
This post includes affiliate links to products that you can buy online. If you purchase them through our links, we get a small cut of the revenue.
Published April 5, 2019 — 21:30 UTC
Jessica spends 12 hours a day on the internet managing security for web assets and loves her macha tea