It was last year at MWC when Sony introduced us to their new Xperia Ear – a wireless Bluetooth v4.1 headset designed to fit in just one ear – although it was not available until November. Today, Sony has issued a new firmware update that brings more voice notifications for apps and incorporates new head gestures. The previous version allowed voice notifications for a few specific apps, but with the new build number of 1.1.0.A.2.1, you can now have Xperia Ear send you voice notifications and alerts for any apps you select. It also includes an email filter where you can setup rules so that only specific emails make it through for notification. Another significant improvement is additional head gestures – you can nod or shake your head to accept or decline a call, and shaking your head to the right or left will allow you to skip music tracks – which might be taken as a little strange from someone watching from outside your vehicle. This original app was available back in November, and the update is now available in the Google Play Store.
The Sony Xperia Ear XEA10 is more than just another Bluetooth headset to take calls, and Sony is even calling it a virtual personal assistant. It is much like having Alexa or Google Home in your ear as you can ask it to perform a task as it "listens, reacts, and delivers." the whole idea is to take you away from your smartphone so you can perform operations hands-free, especially when you are driving. Pricing is much more than a normal Bluetooth headset with a price tag of about $200. It is a small and sleek looking device designed to fit comfortably in your ear – measuring in at 29.3 x 15.2 x 25.2mm, weighs only 6.8 grams and is IPX2 water protected, so jogging in a spring shower will not interfere. It comes in a fancy case that doubles as its charger and can only be purchased in black.
The Sony Xperia Ear takes earbuds to a new height when it comes to functionality as it is not really designed for music listening. It is for someone that wants a personal assistant in their ear all day, feeding out notifications, answering phone calls, or waiting for specific emails. Like all Sony products, there is a price to be paid, but to some users, the Xperia Ear is well worth the money.