Amazon AirPods rival to track fitness and undercut Apple – report
Amazon is planning on launching a pair of Alexa-powered, fitness tracking earbuds and an all-new version of the Amazon Echo, according to a CNBC report on Monday.
According to sources ‘directly involved in the project’, the buds codenamed ‘Puget’ will track distance, calories and pace. The potential Apple AirPods rivals will rely on a companion iPhone or Android handset for cellular connectivity and the use of the Alexa personal assistant, the report says.
The true wireless earbuds will be a lot more affordable than AirPods too, according to the sources, who say they’ll be available for less than $100, compared with the £159 Apple asks for its Siri-powered audio accessory.
Whether they will arrive at Amazon’s planned event for later this week remains to be seen. Today’s report just says they are in development without posing a potential release date.
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The fitness slant is interesting given the company has recently shown much more interest in the wellness space, building an entire team dedicated to health within the Alexa ecosystem.
Today’s news follows previous reporting from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in April, claiming the buds were planned for the second half of this year. That would suggest the company will have them ready.
The second unreleased product referenced in today’s report is one we’re exceptionally likely to see at the event on September 25. The report calls it a “bulkier” Amazon Echo speaker, which will have a woofer and offer higher-quality audio.
According to the sources, it is designed to be the central speaker in the range. That could finally see Amazon launch a speaker with audio quality akin to Apple’s HomePod.
The event on Wednesday comes less than a month after the company unveiled a deluge of Fire TV themed products at the IFA 2019 tech show in Berlin. That included a Fire TV Cube, a host of televisions running the Fire TV UI and an Anker soundbar with Alexa and Fire TV.