In the flurry of Surface hardware announced yesterday, Microsoft revealed an expansion of its audio range. Building off the surprise launch of the Surface Headphones a year ago, the company unveiled the Surface Earbuds. Furthermore, the company announced the Surface Audio app, which is an accompaniment to the Earbuds.
Microsoft’s earbuds are a direct competitor to other buds such as those from Samsung and Apple’s AirPods. Like those devices, they are touch, gesture, and voice controlled.
While users can control all aspects of the Surface Earbuds on the device itself, the Surface Audio app will offer accompanying customizations. For example, users can adjust audio levels, move the equalizer, and set up touch gestures.
Furthermore, the app is essential because it is needed to download and install firmware updates for the Surface Earbuds.
Microsoft says the Surface Audio app will launch on the Microsoft Store on Windows 10. It will also be available on iOS and Android. However, the company has not offered a release date for the app yet.
It seems obvious that the app will launch around the same time as the Surface Earbuds. Microsoft says they will arrive later in the year and will cost a whopping $249.
As mentioned, the Earbuds function with using touch, voice, and gesture controls. Microsoft says these input methods take the buds further than rival devices. Furthermore, the company promises 24-hour battery life.
Specs include 2 directional microphones on each bud, so voice commands can be heard more clearly. Android users will be able to double tap the buds to open Spotify directly.
Interestingly, Microsoft says the Earbuds integrate directly with Office applications through Azure Cognitive Services. The buds will pick up user’s speech and push it into an Office document. Fancy gimmick or workable feature remains to be seen.