2021 promises to be a year of significant technological advancements. We can’t wait for 5G to become ubiquitous and folding screens to be a constant feature in our day to day lives. Advances in fields like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will place us in a new frontier.
Needless to say, all these developments will necessitate better sound technology. To this end, the earbuds will become more popular as they enable people to perceive sound in a convenient and flexible way. With that in mind, you can expect developers and manufacturers to step up their game in 2021 as we anticipate the following earbud trends.
Here are some of the biggest earbuds trends of 2021 that you ought to take a look at:
1. Noise Cancellation Technology
An active noise reduction will be much better than it was in previous years. Companies like Apple with their speech acceleration sensors for their Airpods and Sony with their noise canceling processor for the WH-1000MX3 headpiece will drastically tune down the noise for their users. If you are listening to some music in a noisy environment like, say, on a motorcycle, this feature couldn’t come any sooner. In this case, the Bose Quietcomfort 20 and Shure SE215-CL are some good examples of earbuds with excellent at noise canceling, which is one of the reasons they’re ranked among the best motorcycle headphones according to Ironhorsetrading.net.
- How noise cancellation works: Noise cancellation works based on one simple principle. It works based on the fact that sound is a waveform and two waveforms that are an exact mirror image of each other tend to cancel each other out. In essence, noise-canceling headphones or earbuds come with a tiny microphone on the earpiece, which received background noise and converts it into a signal with the help of a battery-powered circuit designed for this purpose. It is this signal that cancels out the noise or unwanted sound from the external environment.
Other developments like noise detection algorithm and acoustic sensors will enable manufacturers to attenuate noise and selectively amplify desirable sound waves.
2. Power Conservation and Quick Charging
Nothing bugs earbud users than having to constantly charge their accessories, especially while on the go. Although we currently have earbuds lasting as many as 24 hours on a single charge, there is still room to do better. Considering the fact that battery technology has historically developed slower than the manufacturers would love to admit, inventors and developers have always turned to alternative solutions. For instance, we will soon have various alternatives to the conventional Lithium-ion batteries. Researchers are busy developing batteries that could charge in seconds and store power for months. According to renowned tech writers, Max Langridge, and Luke Edwards, some of the awesome alternatives that the future holds include Grabat graphene, solid-state Li-ion, gold nanowire, and foam batteries, just to name a few.
In a nutshell, earbud makers are increasingly turning to power conservation alternatives. We expect better battery saving measures and quick charging to give users more time on their gadgets from 2021 going forward.
3. AI Real-Time Language Translation
Leading the charge here is Google. They have developed a proprietary translation service that will use Artificial Intelligence to translate speech in real-time. This feature is available for all Google Assistant compatible earbuds. As a matter of fact, Google released its first earbuds of this kind some time back in 2017(called the pixel buds) and demonstrated how they were able to translate speech into 40 different languages.
Other manufacturers will have taken note and have started their own in-built translator solutions. Companies like Airoha and BES are already working on chips geared towards AI translation capabilities. A good example is the 2018-launched Waverly Labs’ Pilot buds which are equipped with technology to translate live conversations into your language of choice. This 2021, we expect a couple of other similar products from the competitor companies or even improvements of the already existing buds with this technology.
4. Standalone Smart Earbuds
Intelligent wearable devices are expected to be massive in 2021. Companies like Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Huawei are getting themselves involved in developing Bluetooth-based solutions to enable earbuds to interface seamlessly with mobile apps. This will allow users to interact with their smartphone apps using speech. Therefore, we can anticipate that earbuds will soon be intelligent, standalone devices. Simply put, you will be able to speak to your earbuds whenever searching for something on the internet or executing certain commands on your smartphone. This tech is obviously available as we speak, but it is usually executed through the cellphone’s mouthpiece receiver.
5. AI Assistant Voice UI Interactions
With every tick of the clock, we are getting more and more accustomed to having virtual assistants running the uninteresting parts of our lives. You’ve probably used, tried, or are considering trying one of these tools yourself. Given how much we rely on Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, Siri and other virtual assistant tools to make life easier for us, we could do with Earbuds that connect directly to these Ai Assistants… Don’t you think so?
In 2021, we shall probably be enabled to collect health data via our earbuds and receive voice updates on news, weather, traffic, and maps without having to use a screen. Some of these developments might not come to life within the blink of an eye, but be sure to watch out for voice UI developments and their integration into smart earbuds this 2021 going forward. Nonetheless, the above are just a few examples of what is already cooking in the research and development labs.
Five years ago, it was inconceivable that new phones would be ditching the headphone jack. Now, earbuds and wireless headphones have taken the industry by storm. Everyone is appreciating the flexibility and convenience brought about by earbuds. In the coming years, we can expect developers to push the boundaries even further. Big companies are pouring resources into the next groundbreaking earbud tech and it feels like they are only getting started.