Hardware is quickly becoming a key component of Amazon's strategy, with the company managing to dominate the smart speaker market with its Echo devices. The tech giant is expected to hold its annual hardware event tomorrow, and the rumor pipe is bursting with hints on what to expect.
According to a report from CNBC, Amazon has been working on an AirPods competitor that will offer access to its Alexa digital assistant. This isn't the first time we've heard about the company experimenting with this product category -- back in April, there were similar rumblings about wireless earbuds that offer premium sound quality, but CNBC now says these will double as a fitness tracking device.
Dubbed "Puget," the new earbuds would integrate an accelerometer for counting steps, measuring your pace, and approximating the number of calories you burn through your daily activity and workouts. This would be Amazon's first foray into the health and fitness industry and a strategic move to get Alexa outside the house and car -- in other words, a more portable digital assistant that can follow wherever you go.
Perhaps more intriguing is the price, as Amazon's AirPods alternative is said to be positioned below the $100 bracket. The earbuds would rely on an iPhone or Android device for cellular connectivity, which is a small compromise and to be expected.
Alongside the wireless earbuds, Amazon is expected to unveil a higher-end Echo device to rival Apple's HomePod and Google's Home Max. The details are scarce, but the new model is said to be "bulkier," so it's possible the device will feature a built-in woofer. In any case, this would tie in perfectly with the company's recently announced lossless audio streaming service.