● Users can send and receive LINE messages with just a nod and their voice – no smartphone interaction required
TOKYO – April 11, 2018 – LINE Corporation (“LINE”) announced today that its AI assistant Clova will be implemented in Xperia Ear Duo, a wireless open-ear stereo headset by Sony Mobile Communications Inc. (“Sony Mobile”) slated to go on sale April 21 in Japan.
When LINE initially announced the concept behind its AI assistant Clova in March 2017 at Mobile World Congress 2017 – the world’s largest mobile telecommunications trade fair – the company also announced that it was engaged in a joint development project with Sony Mobile.
Sony Mobile announced today that its wireless open-ear stereo headset Xperia Ear Duo will go on sale on April 21 in Japan.*1 The Xperia Ear Duo provides users with a new “dual listening” experience, allowing them to hear both their surroundings as well as music and other sounds coming from their device. It also includes an assistant feature that allows users to carry out various operations using just their voice or head gestures.
*1: The press release from Sony Mobile Communications Inc. can be found at the following URL: http://www.sonymobile.co.jp/company/press/entry/2018/0411_1_smartproducts.html (Japanese only)
Thanks to its implementation of LINE’s AI assistant Clova,*2 the headset allows users to send and receive LINE messages hands-free even when they’re on the go. The integration allows users wearing the Xperia Ear Duo to enjoy hands-free communication, such as entering and sending messages over LINE, by carrying out operations with just their voice and head gestures, all without having to touch their smartphones. This was all made possible through voice recognition and head movement sensing technologies.
*2: Only available on Android.
Furthermore, in addition to sending and receiving LINE messages, this Clova implementation also opens up possibilities for users to use various other LINE services. Whether at home or out and about, users will be able to utilize various features including LINE Music, LINE NEWS, and translation features,*3 giving users the ability to listen to their favorite tracks from a library of over 43 million songs, get news briefs, and more.
*3: Though these are a part of Clova’s normal skill set, not all skills are supported.
Not only is the Xperia Ear Duo the first product created by an external partner in Japan to implement Clova, it is also the first to expand Clova’s use cases into the mobile scene. By seamlessly connecting Sony Mobile’s top-tier product development capabilities with LINE’s 73 million users,*4 the companies believe they will be able to provide a superior user experience and plan to continue to add even more Clova functionality through software updates going forward.
*4: Monthly active users; current as of time of publication
LINE believes that there are many possibilities available for Clova to grow beyond smart speakers and out into the world – whether it be around the home, in the car, or elsewhere on the go – to make users’ lives all the more fulfilling through its audio experiences. The company will continue to actively consider partnerships with external partners and build on the conveniences offered to users by the Clova-enabled voice operation functionality.
About Xperia Ear Duo
On sale: April 21, 2018 in Japan
Price: No MSRP
Where to buy: Sony Store, electronics retailers, and more
How to send LINE messages with the Xperia Ear Duo
Users can send LINE messages by calling the “Assistant for Xperia” (Sony Mobile’s independently developed voice assistant) and saying “Send a LINE.” The assistant will automatically switch over to Clova, allowing them to send a LINE message. *5
*5: LINE messages can be sent and received by linking with the personal LINE account that has been connected with Clova.
About smart speakers with the AI assistant Clova
Clova has been included in both the first-edition smart speaker, Clova WAVE (released October 2017), and second-edition smart speaker themed after LINE’s popular characters Brown and Sally, Clova Friends (released December 2017).