Amazon Set To Release Alexa-Enabled AirPods Competitor

Apple's AirPods could be getting some competition in the near future as Amazon is reportedly working to release a similar pair of wireless earbuds, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The Amazon buds will have Alexa built-in and are expected to be shipped as early as mid-2019. The buds are also expected to "look and act similar" to AirPods, which means there probably won't be any PowerBeats3 type hooks, but the buds will mirror Apple's AirPods' simple in-ear design. They'll also come with a charging case. Bloomberg sources note that the company is focused on creating devices with better audio quality. There might also be multiple color options available, unlike the AirPods.

The buds will support both iOS and Android devices, which could be a huge plus for some customers. Currently, AirPods do technically work with Android devices but users are not able to utilize key functions on non-Apple products.

Amazon's digital assistant, Alexa, will be triggered by saying "Alexa" and common commands should work seamlessly on the buds. There will also be gesture commands, for example, the option to tap the buds to answer a call, play/pause music, or switch between songs.

"The project is said to be one of the most important at Amazon's Lab126 hardware division, yet it has been saddled with delays," according to a report from Apple Insider. "One source indicated that Amazon has been searching for suppliers and manufacturers in recent months."

Apple recently updated its own wireless buds. The company released the AirPods 2, which come with a new H1 chip designed for faster Bluetooth pairing and better connectivity. The new AirPods also come with a new "Hey, Siri" feature, which allows users to trigger Apple's assistant without tapping the buds, like in the previous iteration. Additionally, there is the option of purchasing a new wireless charging case, which can be charged on any Qi-standard wireless charging pad.

The company also announced its PowerBeats Pro earbuds, which also feature Apple's H1 chip. The PowerBeats will be available in May and customers will be able to pick one of four colors, ivory, black, navy blue, and moss green.

It's also rumored that Apple is working on redesigning the AirPods and may offer other color options on its 2020 models, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. These predictions come from Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, who said the 2020 models are expected to feature more significant changes in specs and design. Kuo also predicts Apple might release its own wireless over-ear headphones later this year.