Published: Mon, April 08, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Amazon working on Alexa-enabled AirPod rival

Amazon working on Alexa-enabled AirPod rival

Amazon is building earbuds with Alexa built right in, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Moreover, the Alexabuds will integrate Amazon Shopping and Music functionality to allow people to order goods or play music using voice commands. The earbuds will have "physical gesture controls" too, which will support audio controls and allow you to answer or decline calls.

The Amazon earbuds will need to be paired with a phone and not have built-in cellular connectivity.

The earbuds will come in a storage case that doubles as a charger, which will have to be plugged in via USB; by comparison, the AirPods case can be recharged wirelessly.

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The earbuds will reportedly work similar to Amazon's Echo speakers, and respond to the "Alexa" wake word to access the company's smart assistant. Engineers at Amazon are testing the earbuds in Black and Grey colour combinations.

It's not yet clear what the product will be priced at, but Apple's AirPods cost $159 for the original version, while AirPods 2 cost $199.

According to Apple, to get an ideal fit for most people, the company tested more than 20 configurations to arrive at an "ergonomically angled housing" created to nest "comfortably in the concha bowl of the ear with an off-axis nozzle". But on Android devices, Alexa works nearly as well as the Google Assistant, and there isn't really a flagship voice-powered headphone to compete againt. It's also worth noting that the company took the wraps off a couple of its hardware products in September in the previous year, which means it could unveil the Alexa-powered wireless earbuds in September 2019. It is supposed to be sweat and water resistant.

Beats claims the new PowerBeats Pro will last up to nine hours on a single charge, and you can obviously charge it using the provided charging case for the earbuds. Most people didn't like Google's Pixel Buds as much as I did, so Amazon has a chance yet. Definitely check them out before you spend more than five times as much on AirPods. They were criticized for having a flimsy charging case.

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