pinebuds

Could Pine64 emerge as the open source analog to companies like Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaom9? With the quiet introduction of their latest piece of hardware, it seems so!

A pair of high-end in-ear wireless headphones called PineBuds are on the horizon. These includes features most would expect in 2022, like ambient and environment noise cancellation, and a lengthy battery life. The earbuds will also be end-user flashable, opening up a world of possible uses.

But first things first: as with other products produced by Pine64 the story starts with developers.

a photograph of the PienSound developer board
Image credit: Pine64

“The approach we’ll be taking is […] similar to how we handled the PineTime and the Pinecil. This means that the success will largely depend on whether a community grows around the platform. As we did with PineTime, we will allow the development community to help set the course of the PineSound project,” they explain in their April update.

Tech tinkerers looking to get involved will be able to hack on the new PineSound development board. The board features the Bestechnic BES2300 Bluetooth 5.0 audio chip; 2x coaxial & optical input and output; 3.5mm audio jack; 4.4mm and 2.5mm balanced jacks; SMA connector, USB-C; and ports for touch and LCD. 

Various Potential Uses

The PineBuds are built around the technologies developers can toy with on the PineSound board. Interesting the cradle designed to house the PineBuds offers built-in UART for firmware flashing (this is automatically enabled when connected via USB to a PC).

“There will be a wide variety of things developers and (eventually) end-users will be able to do with the earbuds – flash custom sound signatures, determine touch controls, adjust resonance to fit the user’s ear canal resonance,” Pine64 say.

But could they be more?

Pine64 notes that the audio chip inside the PineBuds is being evaluated by some regulatory bodies for use in over-the-counter hearing aids, opening up a potentially interesting use-case for the tech.

For now ambitions are smaller: getting hardware out there so that folks can explore what possible, hack on what’s working, and engineer the software and firmware that may be needed.

More news on the PineBuds is expected in May, so we’ll be keeping our ear to the ground in the meantime!

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