Earlier this week, respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed just how well Apple’s AirPods are doing. Not only are the on course to sell 100 million units in 2021, he wrote but they’re the most popular Apple accessory of all time.
No surprise then that both Amazon and Google are reportedly eyeing a slice of that market share for themselves.
Interestingly, this rumour comes from exactly the same place. 9to5Mac reports that Kuo has namechecked both companies as plotting their own AirPod alternatives for the second half of 2019, with Goertek and Unitech being the sole providers.
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“We believe that AirPods’ success has drawn Google and Amazon’s attention and these two companies will launch AirPod-alike products in 2H19,” the note says. “The combined shipments of two brands will likely reach 10–20mn units in 2H19. Goertek (assembly) and Unitech (Rigid-flex PCB) are sole suppliers for Google and Amazon.
There’s certainly some logic there, but there are perhaps reasons to be a little cautious for both companies. Google, after all, has already tried its own AirPod-like headphones: the Pixel Buds. Aside from the clever party trick of running Google Translate in real time, they failed to set the world alight, earning a lowly two-star score from us in our review.
For Amazon, it’s entirely the opposite reason: the company has never made headphones of any kind, although with its steps into the world of audio with the Echo smart speakers, it’s certainly not an inconceivable jump. Expect heavy Alexa integration if the company does try and do for headphones what it did for e-books.
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