Amazon has just announced its first set of headphones – a pair of true wireless earphones called the Echo Buds.
As rumoured in reports prior to the event, the company is moving to challenge Apple AirPods and other incumbents with the Alexa-powered Echo Buds. The $129.99/£119.99 Buds, which appear to fit snugly in the ears based on the images shown, are available to pre-order today with shipping around the holiday period.
The Echo Buds are cheaper than AirPods and have a major leg up given the presence of Bose’s noise cancellation technology. A double tap on the buds will turn the Bose Active Noise Reduction feature on and off. Apple’s $159/£159 AirPods do not offer nose reduction and few true wireless buds do.
While being powered largely by Alexa, and using the hands-free Alexa wake word, the Echo Buds will also enable wearers to leverage the Siri or Google Assistant platforms on their companion smartphone by tapping and holding a button.
In terms of battery life, there’ll be five hours from a single charge and up to 20 hours of juice when using the charging case.
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Interestingly, Amazon says it has worked with the Whole Foods team (the company bought the health food giant a couple of years back) to boost the grocery shopping experience. Using the on-the-go Echo Buds, users will be able to ask the assistant where they can find tinned tomatoes, for example.
Here’s what Amazon has to say: “Meet Echo Buds, the first Echo wearable to offer customers hands-free access to Alexa, on-the-go. When we set out to build Echo Buds, we looked at what customers would want from earbuds. Excellent sound. To do that, each earbud has two premium, balanced armature drivers, inspired by those used by professional musicians. These deliver crisp, clear vocals, and dynamic bass.”