Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Nothing brings AI to ears with ChatGPT-connected Ear, Ear (a)

Not sure how earphones can improve further? Nothing’s transparent design is getting improved noise cancellation and AI.

As technology journalists and reviewers, we’re often trying to work out where parts of the market will go next. It’s part and parcel of how analysis works, and when you see as much gear as we do, guessing the next steps becomes normal.

For instance, we’ve long expected that better sounding earphones would drop to more wallet-friendly pricing, citing that as trends in the past. That has indeed happened, and it continues to do so, but it’s not the only development in the audio world.

More AI in more devices was another trend we expected this year, and it seems to be happening shortly, too.

This week, Nothing has revealed its latest take on earphones, taking its transparency-focused earbuds and applying not just a dose of noise cancellation, but also some artificial intelligence courtesy of ChatGPT.

Two new models are on the way from Nothing, as it refines the Ear (2) we saw previously, rolling out the Ear and Ear (a), two similar yet also slightly different models geared at slightly different price points.

In the “Ear”, we’ll see a reinvention of Nothing’s first-gen earphones and indeed its second-gen, boasting a custom 11mm driver and a ceramic diaphragm, as well as support for audiophile-focused LDAC sound, supporting as high as 24-bit/192kHz audio using the new Low latency High-Definition audio codec known as LHDC 5.0, while LDAC sees 24/96.

Noise cancellation will improve, too, with an algorithm called “Smart ANC” that checks for leakage in the earbuds and boosts the active noise cancellation accordingly, while Nothing’s Adaptive ANC automatically sets the cancellation levels for you.

Nothing says the battery life has all improved, boasting as much as 40 hours all up including recharges in the case, while the earphones cover as much as eight of that. Granted, that’s without noise cancellation, so expect a little less from each with ANC switched on.

They’ll also feature support for ChatGPT, connecting to the OpenAI app on phones to let people ask questions to the AI system directly from the earphones themselves. There’s support for audio profiles, dual connection, and clear voice technology using the app, as well.

Priced at $249, the Nothing Ear will arrive in late April, and they won’t be the only pair in the group.

There’s also a pair of $169 Nothing ANC earbuds calls the Ear (a), a different take that uses the same Smart ANC noise cancelling tech of the more expensive model, but a different material for the driver, while also ditching the LDHC 192kbit audiophile sound quality found in the more expensive Ear model.

They will include that ChatGPT functionality, however, and may be one of the first pairs of earphones to do so. You can definitely find Siri in Apple AirPods Pro and Google’s Assistant in Pixel Buds Pro, but ChatGPT access is a new one for us.

As to whether these earphones will join Nothing’s releases in JB HiFi in Australia, that seems possible, but Nothing has yet to confirm. Until that happens, the Ear and Ear (a) earbuds will be available directly from Nothing’s online store.

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