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Why Sonos voice assistant might succeed in the market dominated by Google & Amazon Alexa

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Sonos makes some of the best smart speakers out there. Sonos products are known for their ease of use and audio quality. A new report from The Verge claims that Sonos might soon add a new feature to its existing speakers to improve on the usability part. The report suggests that Sonos is soon going to introduce its own voice assistant service, called Sonos Voice, which would allow users to play and control music on their Sonos products and could debut as soon as June 1, 2022.

The Verge reports that Sonos Voice will be available on all the audio products that run the company’s own “S2” software. It will be available for the United States customers first. The company will roll out its voice assistant via a software update next month, and will be made available in other international markets at a later stage. “Sonos Voice will serve as an alternative to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant,” says the report.

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The news of Sonos launching its own voice assistant is nothing new. The company has been publically posting jobs for the voice assistant for quite some time, and now, it’s only a matter of time before it is officially unveiled. The report claims that customers will be able to do basic things, such as control music playback, adjust volume, and other things with the Sonos Voice. Support for controlling smart home devices will not be available at launch.

The voice assistant service will only work with Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, Deezer, and the Sonos’ own “Radio” music streaming service at launch — YouTube Music and Spotify won’t be supported at launch, according to the report. Similar to other voice assistants, users will be able to invoke Sonos Voice using the “Hey, Sonos” voice command. The report then adds that Sonos Voice is allegedly quicker than competing assistant services at core music tasks.

Two Reasons why Sonos Voice could succeed in the crowded market of voice assistants

Voice Concurrency

Sonos Voice Concurrency Source: Reddit

One of the quirks of the smart speakers from other companies is that they don’t allow you to use more than one voice assistant together. For e.g., on HomePod mini, you can only use Siri to control your smart home products, play/pause music, and do other voice assistant things. Similarly, on Xiaomi’s Mi Smart Speaker, you can only use Google Assistant.

One of the reasons why we believe Sonos’ voice assistant service will succeed is because the company will allow you to use other voice assistants (Amazon Alexa only, Google Assistant won’t be supported) along with Sonos Voice. You will be able to use both “Alexa” and “Hey, Sonos” voice commands to control your smart speaker. This means that you won’t have to re-configure all of your smart home products to work with Sonos Voice. Instead, you can opt to continue to control and use all of your smart home devices with Amazon Alexa, while leaving the music playback control for Sonos Voice.

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With Sonos Voice, it seems that the company isn’t trying to replace Alexa or Google Assistant. Rather the company is providing more options to the user. The user can choose to use Sonos Voice, but if they’re not comfortable with more than one voice assistant breathing down their neck, they can opt to use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa — whatever they like.

Offline processing

Amazon Alexa Google Assistant Source: Trusted Reviews

Consumers nowadays remain wary of voice assistants continuously monitoring what they speak, especially when Big Tech companies claim that they can use voice interactions for advertising purposes. While Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa both require cloud computing to process voice commands, Sonos Voice will reportedly process all the commands offline and keep them private. This might be due to the fact that Sonos will only process playback control (and similar audio playback-related things only), but it might just be one of the features that convince the user to switch to Sonos Voice.


Along with Sonos Voice, the company is also rumored to be working on a new budget soundbar called Sonos Ray. The Verge reports that Sonos Ray could be priced at around $250, and the budget soundbar will serve as an entry-level option for those looking to add Sonos to their home audio setup. However, to reach the low price, the Sonos Ray will skip many features, such as built-in mics, Dolby Atmos, and even HDMI connectivity. Sonos is expected to officially unveil the Ray soundbar soon.

What are your thoughts on Sonos Voice? Do you think the smart speaker industry needs a new voice assistant? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Zebronics Zeb-Yoga 3 Wireless Neckband Earphones With 17 Hours Playback Time Launched in India

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Zeb-Yoga 3 wireless neckband earphones have been launched by Zebronics in India. Zebronics says that these wireless neckband earphones offer an ergonomic and flexible design. The Zeb-Yoga 3 come with metallic magnetic earpieces and is designed for durability with superior build quality, according to the company. Moreover, Zebronics claims that these wireless neckband earphones also offer up to 17 hours of playback time and come with controls for media, and volume, and voice assistant support for Android and iOS devices.

Zebronics Zeb-Yoga 3 price, availability details

The Zebronics Zeb-Yoga 3 wireless neckband earphones will be available to purchase at an introductory price of Rs. 699 on the Reliance Digital online store. The earphones are listed on the Zebronics website with a price tag of Rs.1,899.

Buyers will get an option to choose the earphones in Black, Blue, Green and Orange colour options.

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Zebronics Zeb-Yoga 3 specifications, features

The Zeb-Yoga 3 wireless neckband earphones feature 14mm drivers. As mentioned, the neckband earphones come with an ergonomic, flexible, and lightweight design. The earphones weigh just 27g and feature in-ear style earbuds.

Moreover, Zebronics says that the Zeb-Yoga 3 neckband earphones offer up to 17 hours of playback time with a rapid charging feature. A quick 10-minute charge will enable up to 8 hours of usage. For connectivity, they come with Bluetooth 5.0 for connecting your phone or other devices. In terms of dimensions, the Zeb-Yoga 3 measure 111.2×28.2×182.7mm.

Speaking on the launch, Pradeep Doshi, Director, Zebronics India, said, “We’re always working on upgrading our product portfolio and working in line with our mission of bringing premium to the masses. Zeb-Yoga 3 is the new introduction with peppy colours, so it’s not only about the performance, but it’s also about the style, an identity that you believe in.”


Looking to buy headphones? Listen to the experts on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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The new Sony LinkBuds S is not what we expected

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Sony LinkBuds S official Source: Sony

Sony finally unveiled the successor of the XM4 wireless headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM5. Before the announcement, a few leaks suggested that Sony would unveil the XM5 headphones alongside the new Sony LinkBuds S, but it looks like the company needed a week to take the spotlight off of its new flagship headphones. The new LinkBuds S is finally here.

The Sony LinkBuds S has ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) and Ambient mode to help you hear your surroundings and cancel out noise in noisy and loud environments. The new wireless earbuds cost $200, and each earbud weighs only 4.8 g. The earbuds support Sony’s high-quality LDAC Bluetooth codec for a better sounding experience, but the earbuds themselves are more of a traditional earbud, as opposed to the previously announced Sony LinkBuds open ear earbuds.

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Sony says that the “Link” part in the name stands for can link your outside and digital life with impressive features that make the transition seamless (via TheVerge). While it features the ambient mode that can be found on the original LinkBuds earbuds, it’s a completely different set of earbuds.

Sony LinkBuds S colors
Sony LinkBuds S in Black, Desert Sand and White colors
Source: Pocketnow

The earbuds feature a 5mm audio driver, and the sound quality is said to be improved a lot compared to other high-end and premium Sony wireless earbuds. When it comes to battery life, Sony says that it can last for up to six hours with ANC on, and nine hours with ANC turned off. The case can provide an additional 20 hours of playback. The charging case takes up to three hours to be fully charged via a USB-C port on the back. There’s no wireless charging.

The new LinkBuds S is also IPX4 rated, which means that it can survive some splashes of water, rain, and sweat, making it ideal for gym users who want to take advantage of ANC and the ambient mode features. The earbuds are available in three colors, Black, Desert Sand (Cream), and White. The earbuds start at $200, and are already available at Amazon and BestBuy. The Desert Sand color appears to be exclusively available at BestBuy.

Sony LinkBuds S

Sony LinkBuds S

The new Sony LinkBuds S comes with an up to 6 hours of battery life, and 20 hours with the charging case. It features ANC and Ambient Sound features, and it has a noticeable improvement in sound quality compared to other competitive wireless earbuds.

Premium price doesn’t mean premium features

It might seem silly, but at $200 the Sony LinkBuds S isn’t just a standard cheap pair of wireless earbuds. The higher price tag means that it packs more features, and while the sound quality is said to be improved, and the ANC, Ambient Mode and microphone are all praised by early reviews, we must highlight the fact that wireless earbuds must have wireless charging capabilities at this price tag.

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Sony LinkBuds S in White Source: Sony

Wireless charging is a deal-breaker for me, and I could look past that feature for the traditional LinkBuds that cost slightly less, but it’s hard to overlook it for the LinkBuds S. I only ever charge my wireless audio gear with a cable when I’m in a hurry and they’re out of juice. Cable is faster and more efficient, but wireless charging allows me to throw them on the charging pad during the day and forget about it until I use them, usually at night or late evenings.

If the original LinkBuds and the LinkBuds S were both about $30 cheaper, it could easily be said that it’s to save on costs, but at $200, it’s an entirely different story. Let’s hope that the next generation of these two earbuds will get wireless charging.

I was excited to try these out for their seemingly superior Ambient mode, and while I’m still going to try and take it for a spin, I highly doubt they’ll become my new go-to wireless earbuds, unless the sound quality and overall set of features amaze me to the point that I no longer care about the deal-breaking wireless charging feature.

Sony LinkBuds S alternatives

Depending on your needs, you might be disappointed about the lack of wireless charging, but you might also not understand what this person is complaining about, after all, it’s not something that you might be using and relying on a day-to-day basis, as I do. That’s a fair point, but here are a few alternatives that cost roughly about the same price and come with the feature, making the Linkbuds S a hard to recommend, unless the Sony audio quality, great microphone, and excellent ANC/Ambient features are what you’re after.

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Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds product box image

Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds have one of the best noise-canceling features on the market today, and it has excellent audio drivers that deliver crisp and clear sound.

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro offers Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode to hear the world around you, and Adaptive EQ to fine-tune audio to your ears. The earbuds are sweat and water-resistant and last up to 6-hours on a single charge.

Sony LinkBuds WF-L900 black

Sony LinkBuds

The new TWS Sony LinkBuds come with a unique ring-like open-ear design that lets you listen to your favorite music, and hear your surround sound. It doesn’t have wireless charging, unlike other earbuds on this list.

Nothing Ear 1

Nothing Ear (1)

Excellent pair of wireless earbuds in a unique transparent design and great battery life. Nothing Ear (1) is also compatible with both Android and iOS, and packs all of the features that you’re looking for in wireless earbuds at this price point.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 SM-R177-21

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Galaxy Buds 2 are the latest TWS product from Samsung, which promises a great listening experience with ANC in a new lightweight design. At $149.99, it is hard to ignore them, especially if you already own a smartphone from Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Black

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro has impressive ANC and Ambient Mode features, supports wireless charging, and comes with overall OK battery life. They pair well with Samsung smartphones, as well as other Android devices and even iPhones.

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Vivo TWS 2 ANC, TWS 2e Earphones With Up to 30 Hours of Battery Life Launched in India

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Vivo TWS 2 ANC and Vivo TWS 2e true wireless stereo (TWS) earphones were launched in India on Wednesday. The design of both the Vivo earphones is quite similar, both are equipped with 12.2mm drivers, and they are claimed to offer around 30 hours of battery life. The major difference between the two is the presence of active noise cancellation (ANC) on the Vivo TWS 2 ANC earphones. These earphones were launched alongside the Vivo X80 Pro and the Vivo X80 smartphones.

Vivo TWS 2 ANC and Vivo TWS 2e price, availability

The Vivo TWS 2 ANC price in India is set at Rs. 5,999, and the Vivo TWS 2e price in India is Rs. 3,299. Both the Vivo earphones are available for pre-booking in India, and will be available in Moonlight White as well as Starry Blue colour options from May 25.

It is to be noted that both Vivo TWS 2 ANC and Vivo TWS 2e were launched in China. The Vivo TWS 2 ANC made their debut under the Vivo TWS 2 moniker.

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Vivo TWS 2 ANC, and Vivo TWS 2e specifications

Both Vivo TWS 2 ANC and Vivo TWS 2e are equipped with 12.2mm drivers to deliver strong bass, and come with DeepX 2.0 stereo sound for clear voice. They both offer Bluetooth v5.2 connectivity and support Google Assistant.

The Vivo TWS 2 ANC earphones support aptX Adaptive/ AAC/ SBC codecs, and come with three microphones. They offer a low latency of 88ms facilitated by dual-channel transmission 2.0, and AI Dynamic Low Latency. They also come with a wear detection feature. In comparison, the Vivo TWS 2e earphones get dual microphones and support for AAC/SBC codecs. They offer a low latency of 117ms.

The earphones also come with active noise cancellation (up to 40dB) with three options: high, normal, and low. There is also support for an intelligent algorithm that is claimed to sense changes in ambient noise as well as how you wear your earbuds to automatically adjust the degree of noise cancellation. The Vivo TWS 2 ANC earbuds also come with a Transparency Mode that allows the wearer to listen to the ambient sound.

Both Vivo TWS 2 ANC and Vivo TWS 2e come with the same battery capacity in terms of the earbuds and case. However, there is a minute difference in terms of output. The Vivo TWS 2 ANC earphones are claimed to get 7.3 hours of runtime from buds only. This drops down to 4.3 hours in case of ANC on. The total time delivered by earphones is said to be up to 29 hours with the provided case.

Vivo TWS 2e are claimed to offer 7.6 hours of playtime, and up to 30 hours of total playtime on a single charge with the case. Both the earphones can be fully charged in 110 minutes via a USB Type-C port.


How is Alexa faring in India? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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