Would You Wear Smart Headphones All Day Long?

Doppler Labs' Here One earbuds gives you control over how you perceive the world. Credit: Doppler Labs

In "Why wearables will replace your smartphone", Mike Elgan of Computerworld suggests:

With the rise of virtual assistants and bots, we'll increasingly talk to our smartphones through wearables instead of poking at their screens. Notifications and updates will be spoken to us through our wireless earbuds. Haptics will nudge and inform us with increasingly sophisticated vibrations. The electronics now used in smartglasses will vanish inside ordinary looking glasses and sunglasses, and we'll use them to take photos and videos with a tap or swipe to see high-resolution mixed- and augmented-reality images.

I've written such things too—it is coming. But the thing that's started to grind on me since I've started thinking about it is: Would I wear such a thing all the time? I mean, if you're really going to keep the thing in your pocket or purse...if you're really going to have it track your steps and pulse rate...if you're really not going to have the damned phone in your hands all the time, well, you're going to have to wear the smart headphones all day long every day. I don't know if I could...or even want to do that. I'm curious, what about you?

Would You Wear Smart Headphones All Day Long?
I'm not the Bionic Man you're looking for. No way.
58% (26 votes)
Under some circumstances, sure. But not all the time.
29% (13 votes)
I'm curious; it would be fun. Maybe I'd get sucked in. Not sure.
9% (4 votes)
Heck yeah, connected 24/7, no need to pull my phone out of my pocket. In!
4% (2 votes)
Total votes: 45

Three Toes of Fury's picture

This is an interesting topic as we are in the midst of a time where technological advancements has provided examples of both. The tablet is a perfect example of a "win", when the first ipad was rolled out i remember laughing at "who would pay alot of money for basically the same thing as their phone but with a big screen". Turns out alot of folks..tablets are common everywhere. However when it comes to wearable tech, i'd say we have more misteps than concrete must-haves. Oh sure loads of folks (myself included) have thrown down some money on a fitness bracelet. And a small subset on an iWatch cuz..well..its an "i" product. But outside of that there's no real wins yet. Google glasses failed. And, as Tyll points out, wearing anything all day, that isnt normal (ie: earbuds) wont feel good or likely fly.

On a disconnected topic...i was pleased to see the photo...it reminds me of those Kanoa adds we've seen everywhere. I've preordered them...a substantial gamble since we have no idea how they'll sound...and look forward to reviews on this site when they, and similar isolated bluetooth earbuds, start appearing.

Peace .n. Living in Stereo


Impulse's picture

No matter how comfortable something like that is it'll never be "all day" comfortable IMO... Plus why would I wear it while trying to watch TV, listen to speakers, or even have a conversation.

Further more, we're still a long LONG way from having true conversation style interactions with our phone/bot/assistant without having to learn a bunch of commands.

Just admit it, Siri/Alexa/Now etc require one's concentration to operate and they're often slower than typing out a search. The machine learning and speech processing is a ways off.

Just one recognized command is a lot of wasted time, and having to learn just a handful of key words is already a huge limitation. I'm not against wearables, been using an Android watch for a year now...

I just think passive notifications and contextual assistance is gonna be a lot more useful over the next 5-10 years than me talking with an AI all day long like in Her (the movie). Futurists seldom get it completely right.

Shoot, we're barely making progress on a phone assistant being able to distinguish between background noise and a conversation you're engaged in, let alone recognizing that and not interrupting it.

Impulse's picture

" Just one recognized command is a lot of wasted time, "

Meant one 'mis-recognized' command obviously...

As an aside, there's also the fact that A LOT of this depends on remote processing (cloud etc); and a lot of people either simply don't have a reliable enough connection all the time or simply can't and never will due to working conditions, landscape, etc.

Again, if a voice search fails because the phone can't process the audio and you're left there repeating yourself like an idiot (potentially in public which already carries a stigma) then it's gonna face a healthy dose of rejection.

When you grab a phone and type a search out but you see you have a low cell signal or it's just taking a while then the failure mode isn't as frustrating, you know what's going on and you can react accordingly.

wink's picture

Nope, never, not ever, nix, nein, nyet, who'd be that engrossed in being manipulated by spurious technology....?

OK, so call me a neo-luddite.

barun432's picture

Very few people will be willing to stick to this device 24*7, even people who are always talking or taking calls for work will not be wearing this all the time even at the work place.

But, my interpretation of this is that the possibility of people losing it increases quite a bit as these things are just tiny and are two separate devices all together.

On a separate note, Tyll, are you going to write an article about the Nura Headphones & its technology, as it is something which might become a big thing or big fail in the headphone technology space in the coming months.


Bruch's picture

Maybe I wouldn't wear those Hear One's all day long but lots of people wear hearing aids all day long, so why not an intelligent hearing aid?

Jim Tavegia's picture

I think when out these days It might be better to be fully aware of your surroundings.

Johan B's picture

Look at the fast evolution of mobile phones. Augmented reality need sound bites