No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. The Mobvoi Ticpods Free, currently in crowdfunding on Indiegogo, look remarkably similar to Apple’s fully wireless earbuds, the AirPods.
Like the AirPods, the Ticpods boast a neat auto-pause feature which activates any time you remove one of the earphones from its assigned ear. That’s not all, though — the Ticpods Free are cheaper ($79 at early bird pricing, compared to $159 for AirPods), Android-compatible, and come in several colors.
The Ticpods feature a number of touch-based controls. You can swipe up and down along the length of the earphone to adjust volume, double-tap to skip a song, long-press to ignore phone calls, and more. As mentioned, they have in-ear detection (thanks to accelerometers inside), and Mobvoi claims the Ticpods are optimized to reduce lag when watching videos on a connected device.
While taking phone calls, the Ticpods will activate ambient noise cancellation, and a two-second press will turn on voice recognition, which currently works with both Siri and Google Assistant. The earphones themselves should last for four hours on a single charge, plus an extra 18 hours if you have the charge case with you. They are IPX5 rated for sweatproofing, which means you can wear them to work out without worry, and they’re available in red, white, and navy blue.
Mobvoi is based out of Shangai, with satellite offices in San Francisco (the team that developed the Ticpods) and Seattle, with staffers that previously worked for tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. The Ticpods will be the company’s first set of headphones, apart from a smart speaker, the rest of Mobvoi’s offerings are smartwatches.
We also wonder whether the design of the Ticpods will infringe upon trademarks filed by Apple for the AirPods. the white ones look almost identical to AirPods, considering the form factor and the way they hang from the ear. Plus, at $79, they could be a steal, but at the MSRP of $130, you might be better off buying AirPods (at least, if you’re an iPhone user).
As always, we encourage you to stay vigilant when considering products on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, as there is no guarantee that you will ever see the item.
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