Amazon is planning to introduce two new products: an even bigger Echo speaker with a subwoofer and wireless earbuds with fitness tracking capabilities, according to a report by CNBC.
The earbuds are codenamed “Puget.” They’ll be able to track steps with an accelerometer as well as keep track of running, calories and pace.
The new Echo is meant to have better sound than older smart speaker models. There’s no release date for the new items but Amazon does have an event coming up on Wednesday (Sept. 25) in Seattle, purportedly to show off new products, so they might make an appearance there.
Amazon’s strategy is to continue getting Alexa in as many places as possible, so adding the voice assistant to earbuds makes sense. The earbuds will only work with an Apple or Android phone, and they won’t have phone connectivity built in. They’ll cost in the neighborhood of $100, which would make them cheaper than other wireless models.
The lower price for its products is a deliberate move by Amazon, a company that likes to say that it has more affordable products in general.
Amazon, like Apple, has been wanting to move more into the healthcare space, although Apple has a head start. Amazon has been hiring a team dedicated only to health and wellness, and it’s hired some healthcare experts as well.
If the earbuds can be personalized to a user, it opens up a number of potential revenue streams in terms of advertising or product recommendations. Amazon has steadily been adding more and more Alexa integration to products, like a microwave, fridge and oven.
Amazon also is the market leader when it comes to smart speaker sales, with about 70 percent of the market, although Google is expected to catch up by 2022.
As for earbuds, Apple has 60 percent of the market, with brands like Samsung and Bose trailing behind.