Mobvoi, the company behind the TicWatch and the TicHome has now announced its latest product, TicPods Free. These are headphones, more specifically, earbuds that focus on a true wireless listening experience. Although the freedom offered by the omitting of all wires is almost a secondary feature as the company is primarily positioning these are smart earbuds due to their use of artificial intelligence (AI). The first of the smarts come in the form of voice assistant compatibility, with the company confirming TicPods Free work with "any voice assistant" including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, as well as "across multiple devices." Another smart aspect is the use of gestures, with wearers able to control the experience by the way in which they interact with the side of the earbuds. This includes up and down swipes to control the volume, double-tapping to cycle through songs and/or answer/end calls, and long-pressing actions to launch the voice assistant. These are also earphones which come with in-ear detection which basically means the user will not have to physically play or pause the music when inserting or removing the earbuds as they will know whether they are in the ear or not, and respond accordingly. Additional features include a design to ensure better noise isolation, noise cancellation and an IPX5 certification for protection against light water encounters.
As for battery life, these earphones come with a carry case that doubles as a charger. Mobvoi states that on their own, the TicPods Free are capable of offering up to four hours of usage off the back of a single charge, with the case capable of providing an additional 14 hours of possible power – a total of 18 hours of power. When a charge is needed, Mobvoi states a full charge can be realized in around forty minutes and fast charging is also supported, resulting in up to 85 minutes of usable power after a quick fifteen-minute charge. For those looking for an extra element of customization, the earbuds will be available in three different color options: blue, red, and white. These headphones make use of Bluetooth 4.2 to establish a connection, with this equating to an ability to maintain a connection up to fifty meters away from a connected device when used in a line-of-sight fashion.
In terms of pricing and availability, the TicPods Free are due to arrive to the market with a $129 retail price attached. However, the TicPods Free are starting their life on Indiegogo and therefore early backers have the opportunity to save significantly compared to their expected retail cost. As Mobvoi has confirmed its new earbuds are available to order for as low as $59 during the funding stage. The company has also confirmed the initial wave of pre-orders will begin shipping to early backers starting from July of this year.