Sony Demonstrates Concept Xperia Ear Headphones and Xperia Touch Android Projector at MWC
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As we move through our MWC meeting writeup backlog this week, one of the interesting developments we saw was from Sony. Apart from new smartphones, Sony showed two interesting devices at MWC 2017: the Xperia Ear Open-Style Concept as well as the Xperia Touch Android projector. Both devices use a number of Sony’s proprietary technologies, and Sony states that their usage models differ from what we expect to see from today’s devices. The open-style headphone is officially a concept device, with Sony wanting feedback, whereas the latter is a product that is about to ship.
The Xperia Ear Open-Style Concept: Headphones That Lets You Listen to Outside World
Sony showcased its wireless stereo headphones called the Xperia Ear Open-Style Concept on the show floor. The headphones enable users to listen to music and receive notifications from their apps, while also hearing sounds from the outside world. Sony stated that people wearing headphones may not be aware of what is happening in the periphery and may not know whether a car or something heavier is incoming and they cannot be warned because their ears are busy.
Sony does not go too deep explaining how the Xperia Ear Open-Style concept device works, but only says that it has two spatial acoustic conductors, and driver units transmitting sounds to the ear canal. Based on the look of two of Sony's prototypes (one was demonstrated at MWC, another was shown in images from Sony's labs), the driver units seem to be rather large and it is unclear whether the company can make them considerably smaller. Moreover, keep in mind that everything is wireless, which adds its complexities (e.g., power consumption and the stability of connection to the audio source, etc.).
Sony compares its Xperia Ear Open-Style to its Xperia Ear headset, so we are talking about a device that connects to an Android smartphone and supports Sony’s Agent assistant. Based on Sony’s and our own pictures, the Xperia Ear Open-Style is rather huge, which may indicate that it might have more compute in there than just for audio, perhaps teasing other functionality. If the concept goes into production, it will likely be a bit small
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