Amazon is taking on Apple with its own version of AirPods.
Bloomberg reported Thursday that Amazon is developing earbuds that will come with Alexa built-in and be available as early as the second half of 2019. The earbuds will feature similar functionality to AirPods but Amazon is aiming to improve the audio quality, Bloomberg noted. The headphones will let users buy products, play music, and access information with their voice via Alexa, Amazon’s voice service.
The hardware is being developed by Lab126, Amazon’s hardware R&D unit that is also reportedly building a home robot. Amazon’s other hardware products include the Echo speaker, Fire tablets, and Kindle e-readers
Amazon will be happy to sell these at low/no margin to increase Alexa adoption. Will the same apply for Apple re: Siri?
— Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) April 4, 2019
Some are skeptical of Amazon, due to questions about accessing smartphone apps and services.
I'll wait to see the implementation. But I'm incredibly skeptical. AirPods work precisely because of how intimately they are interwoven with system level iOS.
— Matthew Panzarino (@panzer) April 4, 2019
Google launched its own version of wireless earbuds called Pixel Buds last year. Samsung just rolled out its Galaxy Buds. Other competitors include Sony and Jabra.
We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment and will update this story if we hear back.