Amazon just announced its first foray into the headphone space with the Echo Buds, a pair of truly wireless earbuds that also work with Alexa, featuring Bose technology for noise reduction.
The Echo Buds will work just like any other Alexa device — say the “Alexa” wake word, and you’ll be able to ask any questions, just like a regular Echo. The big difference here, of course, is that they’ll work outside of your house, too (relying on a tethered smartphone for an internet connection).
There’s also some Echo Bud specific Alexa integrations planned: starting later this year, you’ll be able to ask Alexa whether the Whole Foods store (which Amazon owns) you’re in has the item you want and even direct you to which specific aisle in that store to find it, which really shows off the scope of what Amazon eventually hopes to accomplish by putting Alexa everywhere.
On the hardware side, each earbud has three microphones (for Alexa), and two balanced armature drivers for sound, along with sensors that automatically pause playback when you take them out. There are also tap gestures: double tap to toggle the Bose noise reduction so you can better hear the outside world, and also tap and hold to access your phone’s regular voice assistant (Siri or Google Assistant). The earbuds are rated with IPX4 against splashes, sweat, or light rain.
Amazon promises that the new headphones will offer five hours of battery off a single charge, with up to 20 hours total including the case.
The Echo Buds will cost $129, with preorders starting today and an October 30th release date.
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