It was said of the now-defunct state of Prussia that it was not a country with an army, but an army with a country. The Aivvy Q headphones are a bit like that. They’re smart wireless cans with a Pandora-like streaming-music service all to themselves.
The headphones tap into the Aivvy Cloud, as the dedicated streaming service is called, to deliver a personalized stream of CD- or higher-quality tunes (a minimum bit rate of 320Kbps stretches the definition of CD quality to the breaking point, but the stated range exceeds 1411Kbps). Personalization occurs in the background as the wearer uses the ear-cup-mounted controls to bookmark the music recommendations they like and skip the ones they don’t. According to the company, the recommendation engine also makes note of where and when a song is favorited.
Why this matters: Making a dent in the increasingly crowded streaming music market is not easy. New entrants must scream above the din just to be heard. And as the relaunch of Tidal shows, offering higher-quality tracks might not be enough. You need to stand out in other words, and that’s precisely what Aivvy Inc. is trying to do with this pair of Internet of Things (IoT) headphones.
We suspect the Aivvy Q headphones to be a stalking-horse for the company’s wider streaming-music ambitions, which were laid bare when a Kickstarter user prodded the company about the streaming service’s compatibility with non-Aivvy devices on Kickstarter: “The subscription is currently only usable on the Aivvy Q though, until we expand into other products at least.”
Aivvy describes the Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled Aivvy Q headphones as an “independent music player,” as they are not dependent on an external device such as a smartphone or tablet; just put them on and they’ll instantly start belting out your favorite tunes. They will, nevertheless, be accompanied by a mobile app, so that users can input Wi-Fi network details, see what’s playing, and create music “channels” (kinda like Pandora stations).
Your favorite music remains available even when you’re disconnected from the Internet, thanks to 32GB of built-in storage for offline caching of bookmarked and recommended songs. (The caching occurs automatically while they are being charged.) You can also load your own tracks via USB. Finally, they can be used like any other ordinary pair of headphones when connected to an external device via the included audio cable (Bluetooth support not ruled out).
To raise funds for the Aivvy Q’s initial production run, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign on March 24 with a somewhat modest funding goal of $125,000. As of press time, it has raised more than $165,000 from over 400 backers, with $249 being the minimum pledge for a Aivvy Q unit and a free one-year subscription to the Aivvy Cloud streaming service.