Smart Bluetooth headsets like the Moto Hint have always had a reputation of being half-baked, and apps that read your notifications over a regular Bluetooth earpiece normally lack some key functionality or another. Sony's Xperia Ear looks to solve these issues, and it will soon get the chance to prove itself in Europe. Sony's foray into the "more than a headset, less than a phone" market is currently up for preorder throughout all of Europe, with most Europeans being asked for £179.00 to get their hands on one, while those in the UK can expect to shell out £199.00. Units are expected to begin shipping in these markets some time in mid-November.
For those who may not know what the Xperia Ear is all about, it has all the functionality of a normal Bluetooth headset, but with a number of added touches. The headset can take voice commands and read your notifications, of course, but then any headset could do these things with the right app. What makes the Xperia Ear special is its advanced speech recognition technology, personalized information feed, and motion and gesture controls. Those who instinctively nod when their Bluetooth headset asks them if it's deciphered their command correctly, for example, will be glad to know that this gesture will confirm their command with the Xperia Ear. It can also tell when it's in-ear, sitting idle, or in its Zippo-like charging case.
For the wealth of times when speaking to your phone or pulling it out may be inappropriate, a discrete head gesture can send the Xperia Ear into action with a number of predefined commands. While Sony doesn't advertise it, pairing this functionality with an app like Tasker or IFTTT could allow a user to do just about anything they want on their device without uttering a word. Naturally, the Xperia Ear's companion app makes it easy to choose what apps you get notifications from and how to respond to them, set up commands, schedule the headset to feed you certain info at certain times of day, and much more. The Xperia Ear has been subject to rave reviews among those who have been able to get their hands on one early, and once preorders ship, it will be interesting to see how well such a concept resonates with the general public.