When it comes to packing in top-of-the-line features into audio solutions, Sony constantly improves its game. The company is known to deliver audio seamlessly across platforms and has managed to stay true to its core philosophy. Sony’s latest offering in India is LinkBuds, which has an open-ring design. We spoke to Gyanendra Singh, head of audio business at Sony India, about audio solutions as well as the new device. Here’s what he has to say.
How has the wireless device segment changed during the course of the pandemic?
The last couple of years — and I think we can go back to the pre-pandemic time — the movement of wearable devices and wireless devices had been taking place. It’s been on fire last couple of years. But the pandemic has only accelerated many of these things from a requirement point of view; a large number of people started using these devices. It’s one’s choice whether they want to have a wired device or something else. But there is always the convenience of moving around with a wireless device, which is just in your ear, and you don’t really have to worry much about it. It has been aided by the situation arising out of the pandemic — the work-from-home and learn-from-home crowds. Now several brands are going for the wireless segment; it has become fiercely competitive.
Are there any particular features people want from wireless audio solutions?
People are welcoming wireless products in large numbers with active noise cancellation and other technologies. What we’ve seen off late and it’s relatable in the work scenario… while you want to be immersed in your work, you want to listen to some music and do some gaming. At the same time, you don’t want to be entirely cut off, because you also need to interact with people. I think it’s a feature customers want. Sony is addressing the need with the launch of this product.
An integral part of the Sony audio experience involves ear tips, which are among the best. On the other hand, some rival brands are coming up with mediocre products, diluting the product experience. Do you think this affects how people look at something like ear tips?
The numbers are so huge and they operate at all ends of the spectrum; some of these things are likely to happen and price certainly has an effect. In order of priority, people look more for core features while things like ear tips come later. But once they have tried the product, people realise the importance of such things because everyone is unique, our ears are shaped differently. Sony continues to work towards making wireless earbuds fit all ear shapes and different types of ear tips, so the product is comfortable to wear and fits well.
Coming to Sony LinkBuds. In case somebody is updating after two-three years, what are the features one should look at?
I think this product is aimed more at the digital native who is immersed in work. They want a device which is virtually working all the time. And you don’t have to worry about taking it off even if you have to talk to someone. These earbuds become a part of you. There are a lot of features that help you become aware of the surroundings… that’s adaptive sound control. When you want to control something or you want to take a call or change tracks, you have to tap on the earbuds; not in these ones. There is something called wide-area tap. You actually need to tap close to the earbuds.
If you can share a bit about the Sony Headphones Connect app and how often do you upgrade?
I think the app is extremely important from two aspects. One is that it allows a host of customisation. Also it helps in way of usage and opens up many features on the device. Updates are pushed out as and when needed to enhance the overall experience of using Sony devices. And I think it also helps us understand trends and how people are using our devices.
Do you see your products being used more by Android users?
This may come across as a surprise, almost 40 per cent of our users are actually using our devices with iOS-driven products. So I think that talks a lot about the seamlessness with which our products work.
Gyanendra Singh, head of audio business at Sony India