Amazon Making First Alexa Earbuds

Amazon will unleash its first Alexa-enabled earbuds in the second half of 2019, according to a report from Bloomberg. The headphones will rival Apple’s AirPods and are expected to be priced lower, as Amazon typically undercuts competitors. Like the AirPods, the Alexa earbuds will sit in users’ ears without a need for any clips or cords, according to people who had “knowledge of the plans,” in conversation with Bloomberg. The earbuds are one of the biggest projects at Lab126, Amazon’s hardware division.

In addition to letting users listen to music, Amazon’s earbuds will also let users order products and get information on the go via an integration with Amazon Alexa. The earbuds will use the same wake word as the Echo, “Alexa,” and will involve physical controls like tapping to pick up calls, hang up calls, and switch songs, according to the anonymous sources. Like the AirPods, the Alexa earbuds will be stored in a case that is also a charger and will be plugged in via a USB cable. Currently, the AirPods own 60% of the wearable market, according to Counterpoint Research.

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AirPods will be the Alexa earbuds’ biggest competitor

Previously, Amazon has seen great success with its smart speakers, with the Amazon Echo holding 61% of the U.S market share. This is down from 72% in the beginning of 2018, as Google’s market share has increased from 18.4% to almost 24%. In general, smart speaker ownership has risen, with a 40% increase in the year 2018 alone, according to a report from Voicebot and Voicify. There are now about 133 million smart speakers in the U.S, as more casual users begin to invest.

Privacy-wise, users trust Amazon more than Google, according to a recent study from ExpessVPN. The majority of consumers surveyed said that they would purchase smart home devices from Amazon over Google, Facebook, and other tech companies. However, many people reported concerns over their privacy. 66% of the respondents said that they were worried that smart speakers and personal assistants are “susceptible to hackers or companies looking to profit off of personal data”. It remains to be seen if Amazon’s smart speaker popularity will carry into its headphones, or if privacy issues will hurt sales.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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