Sony today at Mobile World Congress revealed an upgraded version of its Xperia Ear earphones, called the Xperia Ear Duo. Sony previously showed the earphones in prototype form during last year's MWC, but the company has now officially announced a price point of $280 and release date of May 2018 for its latest smart assistant earphones (via The Verge).
The main new addition to Sony's earphones is the "Spatial Acoustic Conductor," which Sony describes as a way to allow the sound generated behind the user's ear by the unit's driver "to be transmitted directly into the ear." This way users will be able to hear their music while not being totally out of tune with noises coming in from their environment, which the company refers to as "Dual Listening." As such, there is no toggle to turn off the feature and block out ambient sounds.
The Xperia Ear Duo doesn’t block the ear canal, so you can hear your music and the environment around you simultaneously. Even better, the volume automatically adjusts depending on your surroundings for an optimised audio experience.
The Spatial Acoustic Conductor, developed by our in-house technology incubator Future Lab Program™, allows the sound generated behind the ear by the unit´s driver to be transmitted directly into the ear. The specially designed ring supporter surrounds the ear canal so your music can blend seamlessly with sounds from your environment.
Similar to Apple's AirPods, the Xperia Ear Duo earphones have multiple gesture controls that let users control music playback with taps. Additionally, Sony's earphones recognize head movement and support head nods and shakes to accept or decline incoming calls.
The Xperia Ear Duo will support iOS and Android smartphone connections, and subsequently have Google Assistant and Siri integration for both types of users, with a single tap bringing up each voice assistant for traditional commands like starting music or reading texts. The assistants will also be able to read missed alerts from calendar, email, and other applications.
Additionally, Sony said the earphones last for about four hours on one charge, and will come with a carrying case that adds an additional three charges. When they go on sale in May, the Xperia Ear Duo will be available in black and gold color options. For more information on the earphones, check out Sony's website.