Add Microsoft to the list of companies trying to come up with their own answer to the truly wireless AirPods. The Redmond company is said to be developing a pair of surface-branded wireless earbuds, according to Thurrott.
It will likely include Cortana integration, and possibly even noise cancellation. That's something the AirPods doesn't have, although it does support Siri voice commands. It's also possible for the device to come out by the end of the year, but there's no guarantee.
Surface Wireless Earbuds
The device is being developed under the codename Morrison, the report adds. Microsoft is looking to capitalize the development of its audio technology by expanding its portfolio by fulfilling two major categories of headphones: over-ear and in-ear.
This isn't Microsoft's first venture into the world of audio gear, as the company previously sold earbuds with Zune, its music player that failed to rival Apple's iPod line at the time. With earbuds being a rapidly growing segment of the consumer tech market where Apple reigns and Amazon is expected to soon join, Microsoft is entering a saturated market. But as Thurrott notes, that hasn't stopped the Windows company in the past.
Surface Wireless Earbuds Features
As for the name of the rumored device, "Surface Earbuds" is being thrown around, but it's not certain if that'll be the official retail name once it comes to market.
There's no telling what it might look like, too, but it might at least resemble the Surface Headphones' color scheme.
In terms of features, things are blurry at the moment. It's not clear how Microsoft plans to differentiate this hardware from others. But word has it that apart from noise cancellation and Cortana voice commands, Microsoft will offer a way to improve interactions between a phone and the earbuds to make reading content easier.
Thus far, Apple is the only company to have nailed the perfect balance between size, price, sound quality, and intuitiveness. Jabra and Bose have made compelling options to rival the AirPods, but nothing that's been quite as user-friendly as Apple's device. That's Apple's advantage — though the AirPods' sound is hotly contested, it's a no-frills, easy-to-understand product.
Again, the previously mentioned 2019 release date isn't a guarantee, but acting fast makes sense on Microsoft's part. The wireless earbuds market is now one of the fastest-rising segments, due in part to most companies getting rid of the headphone jack. As customers deal with that shift, they're going to need a no-hassle, fairly priced, and intuitive solution.