UPDATE: On September 25, Amazon announced the company’s attempt to break into the wireless earbud space with ‘Echo Buds’ truly wireless earbuds, featuring noise reduction technology from Bose. At a price set below rival Apple’s popular AirPods, Amazon hopes to take market share and increase adoption of its popular voice assistance, Alexa. Read more about the new Echo Buds here.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — According to several recent media reports, Amazon will be unveiling the company’s long-awaited rival to Apple’s AirPods this week. Reports claim that the new Alexa-powered earbuds will provide fitness and health tracking features, like distance run, calories burned, among others.
Unsurprisingly, it’s believed that the new wireless earbuds will be priced well below top competitors in the space, like Apple, with reports saying the new buds will be below $100/pair.
Apple is thought to hold at least 60% of the wireless earbud market today.
Increasing Adoption of Amazon Alexa
Analysts believe the move could help Alexa become more personalized, since earbuds are used by a single person, compared with smart speakers (like Amazon’s Echo) that may be used by multiple people in a household. This could expand a new range of opportunities for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
According to Dave Kemp of Oaktree Products and author of the blog, FuturEar, “moving Alexa into Amazon’s impending hearables will be a challenge for Amazon as it lacks an Amazon smartphone, mobile OS, and app ecosystem to tether the earbuds to, unlike Apple or Google. That said, Amazon’s hardware success around the Echo line of devices, in combination with the company’s determination to win the voice assistant war, will make a potent combo that will likely help shape the total hearables landscape, as it will put pressure on other hearables manufacturers to respond to any success Amazon has around its pricing and feature-set”
“It can’t be understated how important Amazon views Alexa being to the company’s future. In January of 2019, after Amazon’s biggest quarter to date as a company, Jeff Bezos issued a 142-word statement, which was entirely based around Alexa. No mention of AWS or Amazon.com, which were responsible for Amazon’s stellar quarter. That’s how highly regarded Amazon’s 10,000-person Alexa project is in Jeff’s eyes, so it should be well understood that Amazon wants to provide ubiquitous access to Alexa.”
While it’s unclear whether Amazon will in fact unveil their earbuds this week at the company’s annual hardware event on Wednesday, however, many speculate the new Alexa-powered buds will be revealed alongside a larger Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices.