BERLIN — It may have looked to people nearby like I was talking to myself, but no, I was chatting with Alexa with some wireless earbuds.
In October, owners of those earbuds will be able to download Bragi OS 3.1 and connect their Amazon accounts in the Bragi app. Alexa will work in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. You’ll need a Bluetooth connection to your phone and an Internet connection in order for Alexa to work.
Users can activate Alexa with one of three triggers: a long hold on the right earbud, a touch under their ear (what Bragi calls a “cheek tap,”) or using the 4D menu. Unlike Amazon’s Echo speaker, the Dash Pro earbuds aren’t always listening.
I had the chance to try an early build, and, generally, it worked as advertised. My personal preference was the long tap, and I got to ask Alexa to play music, read news headlines and play some soothing white noise. Even after tapping, I had to speak commands starting with “Alexa,” but that’s more of a limitation on Amazon’s side rather than on Bragi’s.
There was a bit of lag in the demo when invoking Alexa, but I was promised that will be gone before the final launch in October. In a few instances, I had trouble getting Alexa to cooperate, though I chalk part of that up to the loud, busy area I was in with hundreds, if not thousands of people using Wi-Fi. A rep from Bragi promised many of those issues would be ironed out, too.
Bragi already works with Siri and Google Assistant, but Alexa will provide even more skills, including calling Uber cars, making orders at Starbucks, and, of course, buying goods on Amazon.