Editor's take: It's not often that a patent has much of an impression on me – I can mostly take them or leave them. However, Sony's recent patent for a controller that doubles as a charger and storage for its upcoming wireless earbuds has me rooting for it to make it over the finish line.
Sony recently unveiled the PlayStation Portal streaming handheld, an upgraded set of Pulse 3D (now called Pulse Elite) over-ear headphones, and the all-new Pulse Explorer earbuds. The audio accessory is perfect for those who prefer buds over cans and features dual mics, lossless audio, AI noise filtering, and a charging case.
Last week, Sony filed a patent for a new controller that would pair perfectly (pun intended) with its upcoming Pulse Explorer earbuds. According to diagrams, the controller would have ports on the rear where users could slot their buds for charging and storage. The compartments would also facilitate pairing.
The design would allow Sony to sell Pulse Explorer without the charging case, since the controller would replace the need for storage and charging. It could also streamline the pairing process as the buds would partner with the controller without user interaction other than placing them in the compartments. Sony's patent claims that pairing the listening devices to the controller rather than the console will create a better audio connection.
"The earbuds can use the high-speed communication
connection established between the controller and the computing device (console) for communicating with the computing device, thereby providing a low-latency communication between the earbuds and the computing device."
It's hard to say what the final design could look like. A modified DualSense would make practical sense, but something with a completely new look is equally possible. Regardless of design aesthetics, the patent documentation guarantees it would still have all the functionality of the DualSense, including the touchpad, haptics, and pressure sensitive triggers. Sony provided four different potential versions.
They are all the same except for how the earbuds would be oriented when placed in the device. Three of the designs show the compartments on the center top of the rear. The fourth option is ports to the sides closer to the controller grips.
In my opinion, Sony should have gone with this idea right from the start and introduced it alongside the Pulse Explorers, even if it caused a delay for the earbuds. As it is only a patent, there is no guarantee that this controller will even make it to market, but I like the idea and hope it does.