Sunday, December 25, 2016

Do you Really Need Smart Headphones?

Smart Headphones: Smart Move? 

In the early 1990s the world was taken by storm with the first smartphones making tech history. The idea behind smartphones, and other smart tech, is to connect to other devices or networks with wireless protocols like WiFi and 3G. Smartphones was just the start – now there are phablets, smart watches, and even smart key chains, smart cars and bikes.

In 2013 Jason Hardi started Muzik – a headphone company with the goal of ‘connecting the world’. Sound familiar? Yes, Hardi started creating smart headphones. He has been showing off his fancy hardware for years and even got a nominal investment from social media giant Twitter this year.

Smart, Smarter, Smartest

How can we measure the relative value of all of these devices? Phablets are great for those who are tired of carrying a phone and a tablet around. Although hybrid products are not always winners, there is usually a market for all-in-one devices. Think printer/copier/scanner combinations and hybrid cars. Smart watches are the most accessible wearable tech and are becoming increasingly popular – and functional. The ever-growing list of options for smart watches include mp3 players, GPS receivers, digital cameras, altimeters and barometers - to mention but a few options. In effect, most smart devices have more than one function, and are pretty useful. Most of them…

What’s So Smart About Smart Headphones?

Let’s go back to Jason Hardi and Muzik. After years of development, Muzik’s new-fangled smart headphone product was finally unveiled and is called Muzik One. Launched in partnership with Spotify, the One is a set of headphones that allow you to share whatever you are listening to on social media. While that is rather nifty, whether it is a big enough deal to warrant spending US$300 is not clear.

The One Is Quite Nice

Smart tech song-sharing functionality aside, the One headphones look and feel good. They're constructed with aircraft aluminium and soft leather, fold inwards and have passive noise isolation (although this is nowhere near as fun or functional as the active noise cancellation that Bose has). You can also choose between on-ear or over-ear cushions that are interchangeable with magnetic clips. 

Unfortunately, with all the incredible inventions doing the rounds in popular tech, ‘quite nice’ does not cut it. The One is more or less like all the other premium headphones, and the song-sharing will probably not warrant the hefty price tag. Maybe Jason Hardi should get Twitter to sponsor him to construct premium headphones with the same (useful) functionality that smart watches come out with, or even with built-in VR goggles or GoPro.