SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — Confirming rumors, Amazon has announced today its first set of truly wireless earbuds: Echo Buds. The new buds will feature Bose noise reduction technology and work with the company’s popular Alexa voice assistant.
The Echo Buds will cost $129 for a pair, with preorders beginning today. Amazon says that the new headphones will provide five hours of battery off a single charge, and with up to 20 hours including the case.
“Echo Buds represent the most significant hearables’ development since the launch of Apple AirPods in December, 2016. Amazon introducing a lower-cost competitor to AirPods with always-available Alexa, active-noise cancellation, and a different type of form factor will undoubtedly challenge AirPods’ ear-share dominance,” said Dave Kemp of Oaktree Products and author of the blog, FuturEar.
“Amazon now has a product of its own specifically designed for Alexa-on-the-go. As Alexa becomes more capable and compelling for on-the-go applications, it’s likely that its competitors (namely Apple) will feel pressure to keep up to protect its 50% share of the hearables market. The beauty for the hearing healthcare market, is that hearing aids serve as a home to voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google too. So, hearing aids are basically going to reap free innovation from the, “voice assistant war,” between the giant tech companies.”
Echo Buds Features
Among the features announced found within the new Echo Buds, there are said to be two balanced armature drivers. The new buds will feature tap gestures: double tap to adjust the Bose noise reduction so you can better hear the outside world, and a tap and hold to access your phone’s voice assistant (like Siri or Google Assistant).
The earbuds will be rated with IPX4 against splashes, sweat, or light rain.
“With the release of Echo Buds, intelligent hearables have truly moved into the mainstream. Kudos to Amazon for including premium features that users want at an affordable price: Hands-free voice wake, noise cancellation, and dual balanced armatures for premium sound.”
–Andrew Bellavia, Director of Market Development at Knowles Corp.
According to the company, the Echo Buds will begin offering specific Alexa integrations later this year. For example, when wearing your buds and visiting a Whole Foods store (which was acquired by Amazon in 2017) the Alexa voice assistant will be able to help direct you to the aisle with the item you are looking for.
Amazon has yet to provide an exact release date, but says they will become available in time to ship for the holidays.
Source: Verge, Amazon