Amazon taking on Apple’s AirPods with new headphones touting better sound quality, Alexa capability

Amazon is readying earbuds with built-in Alexa access for as early as the second half of this year, according to people with knowledge of the plans.Johannes Eisele/AFP

Amazon.com Inc. is trying a new way to take its Alexa digital assistant mobile: wireless earbuds that mirror Apple Inc.’s popular AirPods.

The Seattle-based e-commerce giant is readying earbuds with built-in Alexa access for as early as the second half of this year, according to people with knowledge of the plans. The headphones will look and act similar to AirPods, but people working on the product inside Amazon are striving for better audio quality, the people said. Like the AirPods, the Amazon earbuds are designed to sit inside users’ ears without clips around the ear.

The product is one of the most important projects at Amazon’s Lab126 hardware division, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private work. The company has also been working on a home robot for consumers with Alexa, code-named Vesta, Bloomberg reported last year.

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