At last week's Computex 2018 in Taipei, ECS introduced the first-ever headphones to feature standalone support for Amazon's Alexa assistant. Unlike previous technologies to take advantage of Alexa however, the Liva Aston smart headphones don't require a smartphone or Echo device to run. Instead, the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled headphones can access and interact with Alexa directly. That means that once the dedicated application is used to connect Liva Aston to Wi-Fi, the headphones effectively work as a head-worn smart speaker. In terms of specs and hardware, the ECS-made headphones feature Bluetooth 4.2, 40mm drivers for decent sound quality, soft touch ear pads, and a 5-hour expected battery life from its 1,100mAh battery. As of this writing, there's been no information provided regarding pricing or availability but there will be both a premium and standard version made available when they do go on sale.
In the meantime, the headphones are built on the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit announced by Amazon early this year. That means they'll be able to do pretty much anything that an Amazon Alexa Dot or Echo can but while being worn just like a traditional pair of high-end headphones. They'll even function as a normal set of headphones thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, allowing users to just get in some straightforward music listening or movie watching whenever they like. Of course, that music doesn't have to stream from a smartphone since Alexa allows plenty of those types of services to be streamed directly from the Internet without an intermediary device. What's more, a user can just ask for the music to change or volume adjustments instead of fiddling with the headphones' built-in buttons – which are actually designed specifically for that task.
Having said that, it will be interesting to see how the headphones function when it comes to accomplishing other tasks, such as controlling home automation solutions or placing a phone call. Presumably, these will perform better than most Bluetooth headphones at the later task since Alexa devices tend to utilize multidirectional microphones. But it isn't clear whether or not that would be required or even considered with regard to a pair of headphones. That might be considered overkill, even for an ambitious mobile accessory like ECS's Liva Aston smart headphones.