Amazon’s rumored Alexa-powered, wireless earbuds could land at the company’s annual hardware event this Wednesday. They are expected to come with fitness-tracking smarts baked in, marking the company’s entry into the health monitoring space.
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The info comes from CNBC who spoke to a source close to the project. Apparently the buds will come with an accelerometer for measuring motion but no heart rate monitor or GPS. The fitness tracking info will therefore be fairly basic and include metrics such as steps, calories burned, distance run and pace of running.
The look of the earbuds will resemble AirPods according to the source. Of course Alexa voice assistant functionality will comprise an important part of the functionality. The buds would be a way for the Amazon to offer a more portable Alexa experience.
We don’t yet know what the product will be called but the internal codename for the project is “Puget.” The buds sync to Apple and Android phones via Bluetooth, and do not have cellular connectivity built in. Presumably there will also be some sort of a fitness tracking smartphone app for collating the data and viewing trends.
CNBC says Amazon’s answer to the likes of Apple’s AirPods and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds will be priced under $100 undercutting the big brand names. This should help with sales.
The Seattle event will also see the launch of other Alexa-powered products such as a better Echo speaker and possibly an Alexa home robot. At last year’s event the company introduced a total of 15 new Alexa-enabled devices.
The retail giant has had its eye on the lucrative healthcare market for a while now. The fitness-tracking buds would mark their arrival in this space.
In our view this is a better move than coming out with a fitness band or smartwatch as this segment of the market is very saturated. A new player would find it difficult to carve out a significant share of the market unless they came up with something entirely new.
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