Sony will launch its Xperia Ear Duo wireless headphones in May for $ 279.99. Pre-orders for the "open ear" headset, which has been shown as a concept in the last two years, begin today at Amazon.
The Ear Duo is basically the polar opposite of Sony's estimated noise canceling headphones; These headphones aim to offer a "double listening" experience that combines their music with the environmental sounds that happen around them. Audio notifications related to your calendar, news headlines and other topics are also sent to the headset. The integration of Google Assistant and Siri is also built-in, depending on whether you have the Ear Duo paired with an Android or iOS device.
This is how Sony describes the listening experience:
The Spatial Acoustic Conductor, developed by the internal technology incubator of Sony Future Lab Program, allows the sound generated behind the ear by the controller of the unit to be transmitted directly to the ear. The specially designed ring support surrounds the ear canal so that your music mixes perfectly with the sounds of your surroundings.
At the January CES, our impression of this effect was that it makes things sound like the music was playing in a mall / mall. Everything sounds more environmental, allowing you to have conversations with co-workers or friends without the music distracting you too much.
But if you like to disconnect the world with your playlists and podcasts, the Xperia Duo is definitely not the product for you. Sony claims that the headphones are capable of "contextual detection and automatic recognition of activities". Presumably part of that functionality will require a dedicated application on your smartphone.
Xperia Ear Duo headphones support touch controls in addition to head gestures (such as nodding to answer an incoming call or shaking your head to reject it). You can also turn your head to the left or right to skip tracks or backspace. Sony says they last four hours with a charge, and the transport case provides up to three additional charges. The headphones will be available in black or gold when they are sent at the end of May.