VOW is an Android-powered headphone that streams music from services like Pandora. The startup behind it was founded no more than half a year ago by Chinese serial music entrepreneur Gary Chen. Mr. Chen’s goal is to beat Beats in audio quality and smartize the headphone with music streaming and other mobile apps.

Apart from the music streaming service — Dounban FM for Chinese users or Pandora in countries where it’s allowed, VOW headphone has integrated WeChat, currently the most popular messaging app in China, and StarChat,an in-house developed app for musicians to interact with their fans.

The current version of VOW as a headphone doesn’t look so good as Beats. The Android-powered smart part that is attached to one side of
the headphone isn’t that user-friendly either; for instance, it simply introduced the WeChat app for smartphone that words shown are too small on a screen the size of a headphone.

VOW Headphone
VOW Headphone

It is expected VOW will make improvements on future versions and other similar smart headphones will come out before long.

Beats headphones are made in China. Thanks to the smart gadget wave, the conventional Chinese manufacturers, who have been making consumer electronics shipped to the rest of the world, have become willing to work with software developers to smartize the traditional electronics products. According to Gary Chen, one of the most important for the smart headphone is design. A design house in China helped design VOW.

SugrSugr develops music playing gadgets. It’s based in Shenzhen, one of China’s manufacturing centers. The startup has developed Lullabox, a music player for soothing babies and Muno, a stereo box for Douban FM, one of the most popular music streaming services in China.

After it connects to WiFi, it’ll automatically play music based on Douban FM algorithms. You can stop it by tapping it. If you want to play last song you just need to tilt it left and vice versa.

The app for controlling Muno has very simple functions: setting time and music for sleeping and waking up.

Muno App
Muno App

In China there have been a handful of popular music streaming services. VOW headphone also introduced Douban FM, which is regarded by many, including VOW founder Gary Chen, the best in China in audio quality and recommendation performance.

The audio quality of songs on Douban FM is better than most others, for the company behind it only offers music streaming, not song download, which is charged by music companies lower prices for higher quality music files. Also the recommendation performance of the algorithms, based on users preferences, Douban FM developed seem to have been appealing to users.

Kugou has been in China’s digital music market for a very long time and one of the most popular music services. Recently it came up with a music streaming box that is crowdfunding on Demohour, Chinese Kickstarter.

There’s only one button on the gadget and users can control it through different gestures. A mobile app is also available to control music playing. You can also control the box by connecting it to your PC.

Chinese search giant Baidu has launched a similar gadget earlier this year.

KuGou Music Box
KuGou Music Box

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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