12 February 2016 — New York Post

New ‘smart’ headphones taking aim at Beats

It’s high time your headphones got smart.

That’s the pitch from Muzik — an upcoming line of sleek, high-end headphones whose software can be updated to assist an ever-widening array of functions, including music, gaming, virtual reality and even on-the-fly language translation.

Slated for launch this summer, Muzik’s new line also can identify your favorite songs with a Shazam-like utility and post playable links to them on Facebook and Twitter.

They can do this with simple, touch-and-swipe gestures on the sides that can be customized. The wireless cans also are equipped with on-board microphones that can take phone calls and take commands from voice-recognition software like Apple’s Siri algorithm.

“I truly wanted to change the DNA of this device,” Muzik founder Jason Hardi told The Post, holding aloft a pair of Muzik’s upcoming “Convertible” headphones, which come with both on-ear and over-the-ear modules that can be snapped on and off.

“Headphones are a device that nearly everybody in the world has, and yet they’ve seen the least amount of innovation.”

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Last month, Twitter raised eyebrows at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas when the company revealed it had participated in an $18 million funding round for Muzik.

Twitter, whose CEO Jack Dorsey has been scrambling for ways to attract new users, declined to comment on its bet. Some insiders took it as a wager that Muzik could pose a high-tech threat to Apple’s Beats by Dr. Dre line.

Sources said Twitter is particularly interested in the music-sharing prowess of Muzik headphones, which can create a customized experience across a range of streaming apps like Spotify and Pandora.

Later this year, sources said Muzik will announce a slew of partnerships to launch applications for business, education, social networking and gaming.

“We’ve got accelerometers built in there, we have proximity sensors, we have motion detectors,” said Hardi, a fast-talking, tattooed tech entrepreneur who previously has worked on music software with stars like rapper 50 Cent.

Muzik also plans this summer to launch an in-ear “Sport” model whose fitness-tracking functions will include monitoring heart rate, oxygen levels and running pace and distances.

Priced at $299, Muzik’s headphones are slated for distribution at major retailers.

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