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Google and Amazon will launch Apple AirPods competitors next year, top analyst says

Key Points
  • TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Amazon and Google will launch AirPods competitors in the second half of 2019.
  • AirPods are Apple's most popular accessory ever, according to Kuo.
  • Google already tried to launch its own headphones, the Pixel Buds, but they they weren't received well. Amazon works with partners to add Alexa into existing products.
An attendee wears the Apple AirPod wireless headphones during an event in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has accurately predicted Apple's product launches, recently said he believes that Amazon and Google will launch products to compete with Apple's AirPods some time during the second half of 2019.

Earlier this month, Kuo said AirPods are Apple's most popular accessory ever.

"We believe that AirPods' success has drawn Google and Amazon's attention and these two companies will launch AirPod-alike products in 2H19. The combined shipments of two brands will likely reach 10-20mn units in 2H19," Kuo said in a research note published earlier this month. Kuo predicts Apple will ship up to 55 million AirPods next year, when the company will launch a new version with wireless charging.

Google's first response to Apple's AirPods were the Pixel Buds, which launched last year and promised real-time language translation. They were uncomfortable and didn't work as well as AirPods. Amazon doesn't sell its own headphones but has worked with third-party companies including Bose to make the Alexa voice assistant available to those users.

Kuo said he believes Amazon can stand out because it has the "best voice assistant service" while Google is the "most influential brand in the Android ecosystem." Apple AirPods work with Android products, however, though just not as well as they do with an iPhone.

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