Sony Electronics Introduces LinkBuds, a New Frontier for Headphones
-- Sony's unique ring design with audio transparency links online and offline worlds for a "Never Off" wearing experience --
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Electronics Inc. today announced a new way to enjoy favorite music, content, and experiences – all at once – with the innovative truly wireless LinkBuds1 headphones. Stay connected and aware at all times with the help of an open ring design with audio transparency, ultra-small super fit, and crystal-clear sound and call quality. By leveraging LinkBuds' unique design, sensors, and spatial sound technologies, Sony will create new sound experiences with our partners, with a focus on AR gaming, sound AR navigation, new work-from-home experiences, and quick access to music.
All worlds, always connected
LinkBuds have been created with a unique open ring design that lets users tune into the outside world whenever they want, without compromising the listening experience. The newly-developed ring driver unit features an open central diaphragm for audio transparency, so chatting with friends and connecting to surroundings is easy. The new design makes LinkBuds the perfect companion for a range of use cases, including working from home, gaming, listening to music, and more.
At approximately four grams, these earbuds are small and lightweight, so users can wear them for extended periods of time. Unlike conventional earbuds, the protective surface covering the speaker diaphragm is integrated within the housing, saving space. The overall shape has also been crafted using extensive ear shape data, collated since Sony introduced the world's first in-ear headphones in 1982. Users will barely notice they're wearing them, making them the perfect companion all day, every day.
LinkBuds include precise voice pickup technology that performs advanced voice signal processing. Sony's noise reduction algorithm was developed with AI machine learning, using more than 500 million voice samples to suppress ambient noise and extract voice clearly. Even when they're used in noisy environments, LinkBuds offer a quiet space for clear calls.
Despite their small size and open-air design, they still deliver impressive high-quality sound. Thanks to DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine), soundtracks are restored to high-quality audio. Sony's Integrated Processor V1 reproduces all the important details of favorite music with minimal distortion, for a stunningly authentic listening experience. Plus, a specially designed 12mm ring driver provides rich, well-balanced sound.
Using the Sony | Headphone Connect app, users can unlock a range of features. For example, Adaptive Volume Control2 automatically optimizes volume based on users' locations, letting music seamlessly blend with the environment. This allows customers to enjoy a comfortable volume in a variety of environments to enhance the open-air listening experience.
Made to make life easier
LinkBuds are super easy to use thanks to advanced smart features. With Wide Area Tap3, users can double or triple tap in front of either of their ears to adjust playback – there's no need to touch the LinkBuds themselves.
Hands full? LinkBuds are there to help. With Speak-to-Chat4, users can automatically pause their music as soon as they speak to someone. Once the conversation is over, music starts playing automatically – there's no need to touch any controls. LinkBuds also come with hands-free voice services to quickly get information, connect with friends, set reminders, and more5. Just say "OK Google" or "Alexa."
Easy Bluetooth® pairing with Fast Pair & Swift Pair
LinkBuds support Google's helpful new Fast Pair feature, allowing effortless pairing with Android devices and the ability to easily locate the LinkBuds with a smartphone. Swift Pair makes it quick and easy to pair LinkBuds to a Windows 11 or Windows 10 laptop, desktop PC, or tablet.
Quick access to favorite music
With Quick access, listeners can configure LinkBuds to resume Spotify playback with just a couple of taps without using their smartphone.6
Explore with Microsoft Soundscape
LinkBuds provide enhanced capabilities integrated with Microsoft Soundscape7. LinkBuds' open-ear shape enables users to hear audio beacons and callouts of buildings or intersections with the natural sound of surroundings. Compass/gyro sensors inside the headphones can detect the direction of a user's head and allow them to hear the sound from a destination, without holding a smartphone.8
Sustainability matters to Sony
Sony has not only designed the LinkBuds to be stylish but also with the environment in mind. These unique earbuds and their charging case are made using some recycled plastic materials and plastic-free packaging9. LinkBuds are Sony's first headphones made with recycled materials.
Earbuds for every day of the week
LinkBuds are perfect for everyday use. Thanks to IPX4 water resistance10, splashes and sweat won't disrupt a workout or outdoor adventure. Users can also enjoy up to 5.5 hours11 of charge from the earbuds and up to 12 hours12 more from the sleek and compact case. Not enough time to charge up? Just a 10-minute quick charge gives up to 90 minutes of play time.
Sound from all around
LinkBuds also come with 360 Reality Audio13, letting users experience their favorite entertainment in a whole new way. With 360 Reality Audio, music becomes an immersive audio experience and evokes feelings of being in a music studio or live concert venue.
New sound experiences with our partners
Sony's innovative LinkBuds uniquely link online and offline worlds, and we will continue to provide new sound experiences and various services alongside our partners:
"Microsoft Soundscape is an innovative audio-based technology that exemplifies our mission to empower every person to achieve more," said Peter Lee, CVP of Microsoft Research & Incubations. "In our collaboration with Sony to integrate Soundscape with LinkBuds, we found that the headphones' thoughtful design enhances the experience of Soundscape to enable people to build a richer awareness of their surroundings and become more empowered to get around, all while enjoying a true heads-up and hands-free experience. This is just the beginning and we're excited about our ongoing relationship with Sony and how our complementary technologies add value to our personal and professional lives."
"Our products — Ingress, Pokémon GO and Pikmin Bloom — use augmented reality and real-world gameplay to inspire fun and wonder for our community," said Archit Bhargava, Director of Product Marketing at Niantic, Inc. "Sound is an important part of any entertainment experience, especially ones where users are out exploring. That's why we're so excited to partner with Sony on the launch of LinkBuds to deliver immersive real-world audio experiences to our community."
"At Spotify, we're always working to create the best and most seamless listening experience for every moment," said Sten Garmark, VP of Consumer Experience at Spotify. "Together with Sony, we're excited by the arrival of Spotify Tap on the new LinkBuds, allowing listeners to instantly jump into the music or get served something new - all with simple taps."
To watch the LinkBuds online announcement video, please visit https://youtu.be/SaUuj6RTQig.
Pricing and Availability
LinkBuds have a suggested retail price of $179.99 and are available to order today in gray and white at Sony Electronics, Amazon, Best Buy, and other authorized dealers. For a full list of specs and information or to buy from Sony Electronics directly, please visit https://electronics.sony.com/linkbuds.
About Sony Electronics Inc.
Sony Electronics is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America and an affiliate of Sony Group Corporation, one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world, with a portfolio that encompasses electronics, music, motion pictures, mobile, gaming, robotics and financial services. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Sony Electronics is a leader in electronics for the consumer and professional markets. Operations include research and development, engineering, sales, marketing, distribution and customer service. Sony Electronics creates products that innovate and inspire generations, such as the award-winning Alpha Interchangeable Lens Cameras and revolutionary high-resolution audio products. Sony is also a leading manufacturer of end-to-end solutions from 4K professional broadcast and A/V equipment to industry leading 4K and 8K Ultra HD TVs. Visit http://www.sony.com/news for more information.
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1 LinkBuds is a trademark of Sony Corporation.
2 Set the function to "ON" from the Sony | Headphones Connect app.
3 To adjust the operation of your LinkBuds, tap between the beginning of the ear (fovea) and earlobe, and from the top of the ear (auricle) to below the earlobe. Coughing or attaching/detaching accessories around the ears may impact operation and may require turning off the feature and controlling by the Sony | Headphones Connect app.
4 Set the function to "ON" from the Sony | Headphones Connect app. In rare cases, Speak-to-Chat may unintentionally start up in response to vibrations caused by devices such as electric toothbrushes, electric shavers, and activities such as coughing or humming. To deactivate Speak-to-Chat and return to your music immediately, tap either the left or right touch panel. Music will resume playing by default 15 seconds after your conversation ends in Speak-to-Chat mode. This timeframe can be customized using the Sony | Headphones Connect app.
5 Google Assistant for headphones is only available for Android devices. The feature to activate Google Assistant by saying "OK Google" on headphones is only available for Android devices. Google, Google Assistant and Android are trademarks of Google LLC. The Google Assistant and Alexa are not available in all languages and countries/regions. Install the Google Assistant app and set up with Sony | Headphones Connect app. For Amazon Alexa, install the Amazon Alexa app and set up with Sony | Headphones Connect app.
6 Install Spotify app and set up Sony | Headphones Connect app. Please download the latest Spotify app then login to use Spotify Tap™. When forcing Spotify app shutdown, it's required to either reopen the app or store headphones in its case and cycle the power for the use of Spotify Tap™.
7 Please go to the following URL link to view the LinkBuds and Soundscape concept video and experience. https://www.sony.com/en/SonyInfo/accessibility/initiatives/#LinkBuds.
8 Requires having the app installed on your iOS device. Please see details on https://apps.apple.com/app/id1240320677. Microsoft and Soundscape are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies.
9 Coating and adhesive materials excluded.
10 Protection assured against water splashing from any angle, excluding the ring driver unit. The charging case is not water-resistant.
11 Up to 5.5 hours for continuous music playback and up to 2.5 hours for continuous communication time (when using Bluetooth® connection).
12 Up to 5.5 hours (earbuds) + up to 12 hours (charging case), total up to 17.5 hours when using Bluetooth® connection. Fully charge LinkBuds for 1.5 hours and the case for 3 hours.
13 360 Reality Audio requires subscription to compatible online music service and third party terms, conditions, account and fees may apply.
SOURCE Sony Electronics, Inc.
For further information: Sony Contacts: Emily Ewing, Television and Video & Sound, email@example.com