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Mobvoi

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[Update: C2 sales get started with 10% discount] Mobvoi announces TicWatch C2 at London event, plus TicPods Free earbuds are now on sale

Chinese AI company Mobvoi hosted an event in London today, in part to raise awareness for digital wellbeing, but mainly to make two announcements. The TicPods Free true wireless earbuds that we first heard about in April are now on general sale, but the main attraction is the brand new TicWatch C2.

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The best wearable devices you can buy right now (Winter 2018)

Smartwatches haven't been the smashing success that many manufacturers hoped they would be, but that doesn't mean all of them are bad or useless. Not everyone needs or wants a screen on their wrist, but for those of us who like tracking workouts and responding to notifications without reaching for a phone, they can be great tools.

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TicPods Free review: Capable true wireless earbuds that won't break the bank

True wireless earbuds have seen a huge rise in popularity over the last couple of years as the products have reached a price point and level of quality that make them viable purchases for mainstream consumers. The IFA 2018 show floor was packed with new models from various brands, and I’ve already reviewed two products in the category in the last couple of months.

The Earin M–2 ($249) and Master & Dynamic MW07 ($299) were both premium products with hefty price tags, but now it’s time to try something a little easier on the wallet. AI company Mobvoi is best known for its TicWatch smartwatches, but it has previous experience with audio, too.

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TicWatch Pro review: A good Wear watch at a bad time [Update: 28-day battery life]


Chinese firm Mobvoi — founded by ex-Googlers — has a history of making connected watches that stretches back to its original TicWatch and TicWatch 2 running the proprietary TicWear OS. Around this time last year, the TicWatch S and E were launched with Wear OS (then Android Wear) on board, and they were praised for their quality and excellent value proposition.

Now, Mobvoi is back with a premium Wear OS smartwatch, the TicWatch Pro. It offers better build quality and adds NFC, but the real star of the show is a transparent second display for more efficient always-on functionality with the promise of excellent battery life.

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TicWatch Pro now available - offers 5-30 days battery life, Wear OS, 'Layered Display' technology

It's been a while since there's been any excitement surrounding Wear OS, the artist formally known as Android Wear, with no notable recent hardware releases outside of expensive fashion products. The OS itself is feeling dated and has arguably never really been fit for purpose; the platform really needs some attention from Google if it's to escape a slow, boring death.

Peering through all the doom and gloom, however, Google-backed Mobvoi is launching a follow up to its well-received, affordable S and E smartwatches. Both the Sport and Express were sub-$200 models made from plastic and rubber, but the TicWatch Pro we first heard about in May is a different proposition.

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TicPods Free are affordable true wireless earbuds with touch controls from Mobvoi

Now that multiple Android OEMs have launched phones without headphone jacks, consumers have had to reluctantly concede that true wireless earbuds need to be a thing. And they are, with some compelling options out there from the likes of Jaybird, Bose, and Zolo (by Anker). They're still by no means cheap, however, so it's exactly the right time for the TicPods Free from Mobvoi to enter the fray.

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Mobvoi's Ticwatch S and E are available in the UK from today

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Google-backed Mobvoi launched the Ticwatch S and E in the US last year, following on from the impressive TicHome Mini Google Assistant speaker. The stylish Ticwatches now run Wear OS 2.9 out of the box (Android Wear 2.0 at time of initial release) and are making their way across the Atlantic to the UK. They're both available to purchase from today.

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TicHome Mini review: A worthy portable Google Home Mini alternative, as long as you don’t mind paying double

Google introduced the Assistant SDK back in April, making it possible for third parties to build the digital companion into their devices. Sure enough, at IFA 2017 in Berlin back in August, the first Google Assistant-enabled speakers were announced, due to hit the market this fall. There are now several different options from a range of manufacturers, and they cover various use cases and price points.

Other Google Home alternatives with better speakers have also been announced by the likes of Sony and Panasonic. For those on a tighter budget there’s also the Zolo Mojo from Anker. And before that has even gone on sale, Google itself launched the Google Home Mini.

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Mobvoi launches pre-sale for the TicHome Mini, its Google Assistant-powered portable speaker

Back in the summer, Google announced that we would be seeing Google Assistant-powered speakers this fall from a range of third-party manufacturers, including Sony, Panasonic, Anker, and Mobvoi. So far, only Sony's offering is available for purchase, but today Mobvoi is joining in by putting the TicHome Mini speaker up for pre-sale.

First announced at IFA 2017 in Berlin, the device is small and portable, with a handy carrying strap. It has all the functionality you would expect from an Assistant-powered device, essentially making it a Google Home that you can take with you as you move around your house.

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