Amazon might be developing its own Alexa-enabled alternative to Apple’s AirPods. That’s according to a new report out of Bloomberg who quotes people familiar with the retailer’s plans. According to the report, the headphones will look similar to AirPods but put a stronger emphasis on sound. Of course, they’ll also use Amazon’s Alexa for voice-related queries over Apple’s Siri.
Bloomberg says the earbuds will come in a protective case that will supply a charge. They’ll use USB to soak up juice, but it’s unclear if Amazon intends to use USB-C or microUSB. I say this because Amazon still ships its Fire tablets with microUSB ports. It wouldn’t exactly be surprising to see the company do it with its headphoens as well, despite how unlikely it seems.
Color wise, the headphones will come in black and gray, according to the report.
Of course, the most important aspect of the headphones is the tech inside, and that’s where Amazon might run into problems. According to Bloomberg, the earbuds won’t include built-in LTE connectivity. This will cause the buds to have to use your phone’s wireless connection, which means getting Alexa to work through your phone. That should be a simple enough process by requiring you to install the Alexa app, but companies like Google and especially Apple can set up snags that won’t let the functionality work. Android users will probably be safe, but it’s unclear if those on iOS will be as fortunate.
Bloomberg says with Alexa in your ears, you’ll be able to do all the normal Alexa stuff like order things, control your music, ask about the weather, and ask general questions. They’ll include both “Alexa” voice recognition and physical gesture controls.
It’s unclear when Amazon will unveil its AirPods competitors, but the company does have a tendency to launch new hardware in September. We also don’t know how much they’ll cost, but considering Amazon probably wants to beat Apple’s $159 earbuds, the headphones will likely be priced lower than $150.
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