July 22, 2014, 6:05 AM —
A few weeks back we looked at Normal custom earbuds. $200 gets you a set of earbuds custom fit to your ears, based on ear-hole selfies you take with a provided app.
Turns out Normal has some competition: OwnPhones. Like the Normals, OwnPhones are 3D printed for a custom fit. Instead of a photo, customers take a video of their ears, but basically it's the same general idea. You get the app, gather data and send it off to OwnPhones to print up your earbuds.
Here's the pitch video:
The major difference between the two products is that OwnPhones are wireless. As you might guess, that makes them more expensive. OwnPhones have a suggested retail price starting at $299, while Normals are $199. But there's a catch! Right now OwnPhones are running a Kickstarter campaign and there is a $149 pledge level that gets you a pair, though quantities are limited.
That deal is for the 'basic' OwnPhones, called OwnPhones Fit. There are a few OwnPhone models to choose from. OwnPhones Designer Fit adds the ability to pick a snazzy design for your OwnPhones. The Designer Fit model will be $349 at retail, $175 via Kickstarter if you act fast. Next is the OwnPhones Smart Fit. These add a SoundScaping feature that is supposed to block out sounds you don't want to hear, while letting in those you do. Price for these is $399 or $199 via Kickstarter. Last up is the OwnPhones Jewelry Collection which features earbuds that look like a brooch for your ears. Those are $349 or $299 via Kickstarter.
The Kickstarter pledge deal for the Jewelry Collection doesn't seem to have limited quanities, the other three do for the best prices, but even if those run out you can still save some money by pledging through Kickstarter. For instance the basic OwnPhones Fit are available via a limited quantity pledge for $149, via an unlimited quantity pledge for $199, and will be $299 at retail.
The Kickstarter campaign runs to August 25th, 2014. Their goal is $250,000 and they're making steady progress towards it. Expected delivery of product is March 2015 but any Kickstarter veteran will tell you that many projects get delivered later than expected.
Of course the usual caveats of a Kickstarter campaign apply. You're buying on faith, basically. And for all the talk about a custom fit and cool styling, we won't know how good the sound quality is until OwnPhones start...well I was going to say rolling off the production line, but I guess there is no production line. We won't know until OwnPhones start popping out of the 3D printers and into customers' ears!
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