Kickstarter has helped breath life into several wireless earbud projects over the past year — the Earin, the Dash, and the controversial Dot projects all easily surpassed their funding goals on the popular crowd-funding platform. But despite a voracious public lining up to throw money at them, none of them have reached consumers. Earin and Dash supporters still don’t have anything to show for their funding and the Dot … well, that’s a complicated story.
Now yet another wireless earbud project — Pearbuds — is launching on Kickstarter, and we’re forced to wonder: Is this it, or are we looking at yet another overly ambitious team? We invited Eric Tsoi, CEO of Pear Designs, up to our Portland office to make his case — and he brought a pair of prototype Pearbuds with him. We’re happy to report that from what we’ve seen, Eric and his team seem to have cracked the code that’s stymieing competitors.
As Tsoi explained, it’s a matter of balance. The Earin’s creators are so focused on keeping the earbuds down to a certain size, they’ve made it difficult to fit all the necessary components inside. The Dash’s creators are simply trying to cram in too many features.
When he and his partner set out to develop the Pearbuds, they approached the design from the inside out, carefully choosing components and figuring out where they would go within the enclosure along the way. The Pearbuds use the best rechargeable battery on the market, an excellent (and tiny) digital amplifier, a compact but highly functional Bluetooth chip, and the best transducer (speaker) they could find. The team then went about orienting all the required components in the most compact manner possible, which led to the first Pearbud prototype.
The team at Pear Designs then sorted out how to reduce the Pearbuds’ overall size, and the prototype for the final version is currently being fabricated.
Tsoi has secured several provisional patents for the Pearbuds — this is his technology, not something pulled off a manufacturers shelf and re-branded — and has even ironed out his supply chain. In fact, after his Kickstarter campaign goes live on Tuesday, August 18, Tsoi and his engineering partner will travel to Asia, where they will personally oversee the tooling development and manufacturing of the Pearbuds, making absolutely certain no corners are cut anywhere in the process.
Be sure to check out our video interview (above) in which Tsoi sheds more light on how the Pearbuds came to be, and why he thinks he can succeed where others have failed. Convinced? Check out his project at Kickstarter on Tuesday if you want to front the cash for the most promising wireless earbuds we’ve seen yet.
Update 8/18/15 by Caleb Denison: Due to technical difficulties experienced this morning, Pear Designs missed its launch window for the day on Kickstarter. According to Eric Tsoi, the launch has been rescheduled for 7:00 AM Pacific tomorrow, 8/19/2015.