Ahead of this month’s IFA show in Berlin, LG has announced a pair of neckbud products that come with Google Assistant support. Like LG’s G7 phone, the Tone Platinum SE earbuds have a dedicated button that can be used to invoke the Assistant without the “Okay Google” voice command. The Tone Ultra SE is the same thing, but with a mono speaker as well as the earbuds so you can listen to audio without blocking out your surroundings.
LG thinks the Assistant button will be particularly useful when using features such as Google Translate, and it’s true that having to say “Hey Google” all the time would be even weirder in the middle of a conversation in a language that you don’t speak. But this idea wasn’t particularly natural when Google tried its own spin on it with the Pixel Buds, and it’s hard to imagine it not being more comfortable for everyone involved if you’d just use your phone instead.
Still, if we’re ever going to get to the babel fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, awkward neckbuds are probably a necessary step along the way. No pricing or release date info for these LG Tone products yet, but presumably that’ll come at IFA.