You’re already talking to humans by way of your phone, so why not also use it to talk to artificially intelligent beings? Next year, you’ll be given the opportunity to take a step further into a cyborg future in which the “person” on the receiving end of your headset isn’t a person at all, but rather a smart home assistant — namely, Alexa.
OnVocal has debuted a new set of Bluetooth earphones called OV that will offer direct access to AI assistants like Alexa. But it’s actually not just Amazon’s helper that you’ll be able to reach through this new set of earphones — you’ll also have access to Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant. The addition of Alexa, however, is a novel one, and the OV will become the first headphones to allow users to chat with Alexa by way of a smartphone app. Using a button on the headphones, you’ll be able to command Alexa to search for information, play back media, or take advantage of the ever-growing number of third-party skills offered by the Amazon assistant.
And Alexa isn’t the only Amazon service being offered through the OV. Rather, Amazon Voice Services will also be included, which means users can access music from Amazon Music Unlimited as well as Prime Music, and check out audio books from Audible or Kindle — of course, you can start playing any one of these media streams by instructing Alexa to hit play.
Most importantly, you’ll be able to control much of your smart home by way of your earphones, rather than searching for the nearest Amazon Echo. Whether you want to dim the lights, turn on the TV, or set the thermostat, just speak into your headset, and let Alexa handle the rest.
So how much will all this functionality cost you? The OV can currently be pre-ordered on OnVocal’s website for $399, with a scheduled ship date of January 2017.