Sony Xperia Ear personal assistant earphone concept rattles your brain pan

The Sony Xperia Ear Open-Style Concept is a hands-free personal assistant that uses bone conduction to transmit sounds to your ears.

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Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury

Imagine a virtual assistant that feeds you information on tap but doesn't require you to wear eyegear or block outside sounds. Sony has pulled the tarpaulin off its newest earphone, the Xperia Ear "Open-Style Concept," which is the company's latest stab at Google Assistant-fueled headgear.

Like the existing Xperia Ear, this concept is powered by the Sony Agent Technology personal assistant, which is operated through voice interaction and head gestures. The Concept is a mono wireless headset and uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Unlike the original Xperia Ear, though, this concept earpiece use bone conduction to transmit music and conversations to your inner ear. It does this with "two highly powerful spatial acoustic conductors and driver units." This keeps your lugholes free to hear the environment around you. Though it has an in-ear piece, this is for anchoring the headset, not transmitting sound. Sony says the final product would be more flexible than the solid plastic version on display.

The earpiece's new features include Anytime Talk, which lets you start a group conversation with a simple single button press or head movement.

Sony has yet to announce availability or price of this concept headphone, though the original Xperia Ear is available now for $199 and £179 (but not yet in Australia, where the US price converts to about AU$260).

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