Microsoft has launched its Surface Earbuds to take on Apple’s AirPods during the company’s big product event in New York.
After several months of rumors, Microsoft finally gave people a first look at its wireless earbuds during the annual Surface press event. The earbuds, which had a strange shape that could be mistaken for gauges or edgy ear piercings, are receptive to touch, enabling users to swipe up and down to increase or decrease the volume or swipe to return to a song or skip ahead.
With support for 60 different languages, the earbuds are said to be capable of translating as a user talks. While it aims to rival the AirPods, it is actually $90 more expensive than the starting price of the Apple earbuds. This could make it difficult for the Earbuds to compete in an already saturated market due to cheaper alternatives from companies like Amazon and Samsung.
Microsoft’s corporate vice-president Robin Seiler said: “[Microsoft] Surface enters any market or category where we believe we can make a differentiated value proposition. If you think about it, when we first launched Surface [tablets] … you could say the PC ecosystem then was also crowded.”
Following the launch, some users on Twitter joked about the earbuds’ shape and design but this was a similar response to the AirPods when it first came out.
Mika Kitagawa, senior research principal analyst at Gartner, pointed out: “The [Earbuds] design is a bit strange to me, like big white buttons in your ears. But AirPods are funny-looking in my opinion — big toothpicks sticking out from your ears.”
The Surface Earbuds will be available in a single size but earbud sleeves will have small, medium and large sizes for people of different ear sizes. They also boast of up to 8 hours of listening time compared to the 5 hours of AirPods.