Microsoft has bad news to offer those expecting its AirPods rivals this year

Microsoft has bad news to offer those expecting its AirPods rivals this year
While the potentially game-changing Surface Duo and Surface Neo dual-screen devices that Microsoft previewed early last month were never supposed to go on sale this holiday season, the Redmond-based tech giant did also take the wraps off a bunch of new products eyeing a commercial debut before Christmas 2019.

With the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro X up for grabs for a little while now, the company's hardcore fans were left waiting for an update on a Surface Earbuds release timeline that felt ominously vague from the get-go. Unfortunately, Microsoft has ultimately made the regrettable but somewhat predictable decision to pull its first-ever true wireless earbuds from the 2019 release schedule, taking a little extra time than originally planned to ensure customers are delivered the "best possible experience", according to Panos Panay's Twitter feed.

The charismatic Chief Product Officer "blamed" the delay on his company's "relentless pursuit to get all the details right", which sounds all poetic and sweet but doesn't explain why Microsoft didn't approach the project with this level of caution and attention to detail straight off the bat. Let's hope the setback is not actually caused by any quality issues, as the fledgling (and fast-growing) "hearables" market needs all the competition it can get.


At a starting price of $249, which is unlikely to budge when the Surface Earbuds finally become available sometime in "Spring 2020", these bad boys have to be pretty great to challenge the AirPods Pro and Beats Powerbeats Pro, as well as cheaper options like Apple's second-gen non-Pro AirPods, the very respectable Samsung Galaxy Buds, or Amazon's Echo Buds, which recently went on sale without a hitch.

For what it's worth, Google scheduled the all-new $179 Pixel Buds for a spring 2020 rollout right from the start, which... still doesn't make Microsoft look any better in the eyes of its fans, as well as regular people interested in giving this fresh industry trend a whirl.

With a decidedly distinctive and fairly divisive design, as well as "immersive Omnisonic" sound and up to 24 hours of battery life (juice from charging case included), the Surface Earbuds are likely to face an uphill battle achieving mainstream adoption in a market pretty much totally dominated by Apple right now.

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