Google and Bose are today officially announcing a new version of the headphone maker’s great noise cancelling headphones, the QC 35s. The big new addition is Google Assistant — or rather, a dedicated button on the headphones that triggers the Google Assistant.
The new branding is simply QC 35 II, and according to Google you set them up as usual via Bluetooth and then follow some instructions built into the Google Assistant app on either an Android phone (running Marshmallow or above) or an iPhone.
Once that’s done, you’ll hold down the new button that’s on the right ear cup to trigger the Google Assistant. Google says that it can do most things the Assistant can do on your phone — read messages, play music or news, and of course call people. But the Assistant has slightly different capabilities in every place it appears, so it may be that you can’t do everything with these headphones that you can do with, say, a Google Home.
The Google Assistant feature on the QC 35 II headphones relies heavily on the Android phone or iPhone for most of the processing and network connectivity. Local processing on the headphones is limited to functions like instant voice input (buffering audio in the DSP followed by fast transfers to the phone) and notifications, for example.
Bose says that the button can also be configured to do the same thing the Bose Connect app on your phone can do: switch between noise cancellation settings, letting you set it to high, low, or off.
We’ve been seeing these headphones crop up a lot ahead of the actual announcement, in rumors and even in Bose’s own newsletters. These new headphones also go some of the way towards explaining the headphone-related bits that have been uncovered inside the Google Assistant app on Android.
Now that they’re officially official, we can tell you that they’ll be released in the US, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, and the UK. They should be available today for $349.95.
Correction: clarified the noise cancellation feature.