Microsoft yesterday announced a Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro X, and Surface Laptop, while also introducing the Surface Neo and Surface Duo folding devices. Oh yes, the company already had the time to announce its first wireless in-ear phones, the Surface Earbuds.
There is a lot to like about the Earbuds, and some things to be wary of, like price and design. However, one of the best features is that the Surface Earbuds works across a variety of voice assistants.
Specifically, this means the device will tap into whatever assistant is being used on the connected phone. For example, if you have an Android device and use Google Assistant the buds will leverage it. If you use an iPhone and have Siri running, the Surface Earbuds will use the assistant.
Likewise, if you’re using Microsoft’s own Cortana app on any of those platforms, she will be used by the Earbuds.
Microsoft explains this cross-assistant capability sets the Earbuds apart from rivals. It’s possible because the device does not carry an on-board assistant natively, so simply taps into the assistant running on the connected device.
This also means users should be able to switch assistants as they want, although this has not been confirmed.
Surface 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.
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.
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.
There is also a Surface Audio application that will launch alongside the buds later this year. Surface Earbuds will cost $249.