Daily Authority: 🎧 Headphones smarten up

😎 Good morning and welcome to Tuesday’s Daily Authority. I’m feeling accomplished this week after managing to snag a bed, mattress, fridge, and sofa for my new apartment without breaking a sweat. Ok, that last bit was a complete lie.

“Dumb” headphones get smart with an OS in your ear

Assorted headphones

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Though the best Bluetooth headphones and wireless earbuds are packed with features nowadays, they’re still comparatively “dumb” compared to our smartwatches and smartphones. As our Robert Triggs writes, “They’re bound by the manufacturer’s pre-installed features and the limited customization options contained in proprietary apps.” But what if headphones were smarter? Sonical’s CosmOS could make that a reality.

What’s the plan?

CosmOS is a slimline operating system for headphones, earbuds, and other hearing wearables.

  • The idea is that users will be able to install new features and even bring favorite features from an old pair of headphones to their new ones.
  • But how does that work without a screen? Right now, unlike smartphones or smartwatches, there’s no unified platform or OS for headphones, so features vary across and even within manufacturers, which can be frustrating when swapping to a new pair.
  • CosmOS will “free consumers from the shackles of manufacturer dictation.”
  • As well as the more general audio features, Sonical envisions applications for gaming, fitness and wellbeing, heading augmentation, and more.
  • On this note, Sonical recently announced a partnership with Segotia to bring neuro-sensing consumer and medical applications to the platform.
  • Other uses could include measuring temperatures and in-ear heart rates, as well as sound augmentation for those with tinnitus or the hard of hearing.

The challenges ahead

This is a big challenge: headphones aren’t built to run a traditional app and are generally reliant on a tethered smartphone for most “smart” tasks, such as using voice assistants. The tiny, power-efficient processors aren’t capable of machine learning-based computing.

  • Sonical’s designed its own chipset that’s built specifically to run CosmOS, hearable apps, essential DSP tasks, and advanced machine learning.
  • However, it won’t run on anything and everything and will need partners onboard for both software and silicone.
  • Sonical Solutions Architects Gary Spittle and Jonny McClintock have an impressive long-term vision: a totally untethered experience where headphones are a standalone experience. “A wireless earbud charging case serves as the connectivity hub, enabling content streaming over Wi-Fi or 5G and passing a Bluetooth or ultra-wideband connection to the earbuds and any other connected device. In this scenario, the headphones are a standalone product, taking their apps and features with them regardless of whether you’re listening on the go, connected to a laptop for a video call, or sitting down for a gaming session.”

Sounds pretty great, right?

📚 One of my favorite books gets a sequel: Randall Murphy’s What If? 2 gives serious answers to hypothetical questions like “What does a star smell like?” and “What if you tried to swallow a whole cloud?” — and here’s an exclusive excerpt from the upcoming book (Wired).

Tuesday thing

trung phan jeff bezos refund

Live footage of Jeff Bezos trying to get back the $1B he spent on The Lord of the Rings remake.

According to Amazon, the show raked in 25 million global viewers when it premiered, but has come under fire for, among other things, being unfaithful to the original works (particularly in its depiction of certain characters, with the show featuring a diverse cast), and some fans saying the time period the show is set in isn’t as compelling as that of the original trilogy. Others believe Peter Jackson had a better vision for the source material.

But whether you’re loving The Rings of Power or not, you can’t help but find this funny.

Paula Beaton, Copy Editor.

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