JBL Launches 2 Apple AirPods Earbuds Competitors with Siri Support and Alexa or Google Assistant a Premium Feature
JBL revealed its two new true wireless earbuds on Monday at CES. The JBL Live 300 and JBL Tune 220 are premium and low-cost versions respectively of similar earbuds, with different features and options.
Hear the JBL Earbuds
The JBL Live is designed to perform like Apple’s AirPods Pro in terms of the quality of sound. The hearables are managed through a mobile app and can be set for either Google Assistant or Alexa. The earbuds also come with touch controls that can adjust how well the wearer can hear sounds around them. The earbuds will cost $150 and come out at some point this spring.
JBL Tune earbuds only cost $100 but don’t have all of the same features as the Live, lacking the adjustable sound option among others and they look more like the first version of AirPods. In terms of the voice assistant options, the biggest difference is that the premium version has Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant integrated into them, while the less expensive option just connects to the native voice assistant on the wearer’s smartphone.
JBL’s new hearables are facing a crowded field. Apple’s AirPods are leaders in the earbuds market, and JBL may see Apple as its main competition, but the market is far from stable. Even the more expensive JBL earbuds are a little cheaper than the $159 AirPods, and well below the $249 AirPods Pro, which cost as much as Microsoft’s new Surface Earbuds.
Then there are Amazon’s new Echo Buds, priced right in the middle at $129 and include the noise canceling option as well. Google wants to jump in with its Pixel Buds earbuds, announced during the Made by Google event in the fall, but then had to delay them for months. The question is if the market can support many different companies with different kinds of earbuds, or if it will be just the makers of the mobile devices and maybe a few high-end options for those who are very keen on the best possible audio quality.