A year in, and I’m still positive that the best wireless earbud I’ve ever put in my ear is The Dash from Bragi. Really, it’s the company’s Dash Pro, released a few months ago, that take that crown, but the form factor and experience is essentially the same, except for the newer version corrected the Bluetooth issue that held back the introductory device.
Still, Bragi created a device that is incredibly smart, super powerful from a feature-set standpoint, and light-years ahead of any other hearable device on the market right now. And they’re about to take another crucial step forward with the latest Bragi OS update, slated to drop later this month.
I was a little disappointed when I didn’t see the company on the official roster for IFA 2017 earlier this month—it was at that event a year earlier where I met founder Nikolaj Hviid and got hands on with The Dash for the first time. But I happened about Hviid and his Dash Pro at the Amazon Alexa booth in the IFA NEXT area, and that right there should tell you everything you need to know about the major changes coming to Bragi OS.
The company plans to integrate Alexa into Bragi OS, giving users access to Alexa’s massive skills library. Dash wearers can already connect to Siri and Google Assistant depending on their smartphone of choice, but adding Alexa has its own added benefits, including the ability to shop through one’s earbuds—a bonus for the consumer and Amazon.
Similar to the way users interact with the other digital voice assistants on The Dash, there won’t be a specific wake word to fire Alexa up. It looks like it will require either a tap of the cheek or on one of the earbuds, or Alexa can be integrated into the virtual 4D menu.
Beyond the Alexa integration, speaking with Hviid at IFA I got the sense that there’s still a ton of potential with what The Dash can do. If you remember from our initial review, there are dozens of sensors built into these earbuds, which makes them easily the most powerful on the market.
Those sensors give users the ability to interact with The Dash in ways so unlike any other wireless earbuds, or headphones for that matter. The sensors can read taps on the cheek, they understand a nod or shake of the head, the virtual 4D menu is an augmented-reality-esque experience, and they can track things like heart rate, calories burned, steps, and more.
But according to Hviid, Bragi is only tapping into maybe 5 or 10 percent of the real potential of the sensors that live inside the earbuds. That means actions like the cheek-tap serve as just a preview for what The Dash might be able to do in the future.