Microsoft could be entering the wireless headphone market. The tech giant is reportedly developing'Surface Buds' in an effort to take on Apple's wildly successful AirPods, Thurrott reported, citing sources close to the situation. The device is being developed as part of a secret project, codenamed'Morrison,' and could be coming as soon as later this year. Microsoft could be entering the wireless headphone market. The tech giant is reportedly developing'Surface Buds' in an effort to take on Apple's wildly successful AirPods It's not year clear how Microsoft intends to differentiate its earbuds from others that are currently available from competitors.
Microsoft's personal audio efforts might not stop with the Surface Headphones. Thurrott sources said that the company is developing a pair of Surface-branded earbuds codenamed Morrison (the Headphones, for context, were nicknamed Joplin). It's not clear if they'd do anything differently than the existing over-ears or even whether or not there would be a cable, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect an all-wireless design that counters Apple's AirPods, Samsung's Galaxy Buds and similarly trendy choices. You might know the focus if Microsoft's existing hardware is anything to go by. You'd get integration for Cortana, noise cancellation (likely passive at this size) and, hopefully, good audio quality.
Truly wireless earbuds are a new thing and Apple's AirPods are some of the most popular out there. But are they any good? Amazon may be getting ready to spread its might yet again. According to a report from Bloomberg, the retail giant may have an alternative to Apple's popular wireless earbuds ready for the second half of the year. Amazon's buds are being developed by the company's Lab126, the group responsible for the Echo, Kindle, Fire TV and Fire tablet devices.
After delivering noise-cancelling Surface-branded headphones last year, Microsoft may be working on more audio devices. In 2017, Microsoft applied for a patent for smart earbuds, which the US Patent Office published last summer. Microsoft's patent was for an audio accessory with a speech interface that would provide hands-free, eye-free wearable capabilities. I think the voice input component (more than the audio device itself) is what Microsoft is focusing on here. The Surface earbuds may be codenamed "Morrison," as Thurrott's Brad Sams notes.
It's kind of obvious if you think about it. Apple as driven a lot of the conversation in the "smart" headphones space in the past couple of years thanks the AirPods. The untethered white earbuds are well on their way to becoming ubiquitous, leading everyone in the headphone space to go smaller, and "true" wireless to catch some of the ripples caused by Apple's big splash. But that leaves a gap -- at least in attention -- on the other side of the spectrum: large-size, over-the-ear headphones with more immersive sound. Certainly, that category hasn't exactly been dormant ever since Beats arrived on the scene almost a decade ago, but there is no go-to smart pair of cans that are anywhere near as iconic as AirPods.