We are getting used to wearing health bands all day. They track our exercise regime by day and prompt us to take a break from the work desk. And at night they monitor our sleep patterns.
In 2018, we may well be tempted to do likewise — with new generation wireless earphones which we will wear all day long, and sleep with them too. This is being made possible by wireless charging technology, that will soon charge earphones continuously over the air, never needing us to take them off.
Did you notice how mobile phones are gradually ditching the 3 mm audio jack? It started with the iPhone; Google’s Pixel followed suite as did Samsung’s latest Galaxy range. This means, you are forced to use clumsy adapters — or go in for new generation earphones, preferably wireless ones that don’t need a jack of any kind. We’re guessing these new earphones you buy next year, will do more than pump in the music and interrupt it for your incoming phone calls. For starters, they will do what is called active noise cancelling. This is smart technology first invented by Bose that cancels out outside noise with an equal and opposite signal. The result: heavenly silence when you want it. And yes, if you wear your earphones in bed, they will cancel out the sound of barking dogs — or a snoring partner!
The most powerful reason to wear wireless earphones was showcased two months ago when Google debuted the Pixel 2 mobile phone. It also unveiled its new earphone, the Pixel Buds. They have a control on the right bud that you can tap to play or pause music or answer phone calls, swipe to change volume. They also come pre installed with the smart voice tool known as Google Assistant. You can speak your questions and the Artificial Intelligence-fueled assistant will respond, as does Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana. But the most dramatic advance of Pixel Buds is Real-time translations of conversations. This is how it works:
Just touch and hold the right ear bud and tell the Google Assistant what language you need translated.. The Pixel Buds hear you speak and your Pixel speaker plays the translation in another language. When the other person speaks, you hear the translation in your ear. It works with 40 different languages supported by Google Translate.
Imagine what a boon this would be for tourists in a foreign land. Google translate already supports Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu, besides English.
Pixel Buds are available in the US for $159 (Rs 10,300) and should reach India in 2018.