For years now, I'we carried a small case with a pair of Ultimate Ears in-ear earbuds in my pocket. Every now and then when I commute or walk, I take them out, plug them into my phone and listen to music.
When Apple said they would remove the headphone jack on the iPhone I was not impressed. Apple has been a forerunner when it comes to rid tech of legacy - such as the disk drive - and in hindsight they have been right so I accepted the death of the headphone jack.
I have been using Bluetooth since the very first Ericsson and Nokia phones where launched with Bluetooth support. And throughout the years I have cursed at the cumbersome and poorly functional pairing process.
Apple's AirPods is so far the only truly wireless headphones that works without problems. They are Bluetooth headphones but Apple added hardware and software support for a better pairing experience that is not part of the Bluetooth standard. Apple also managed to build proper antennas and hardware that supports a reliable Bluetooth connection. While the AirPods will work with Android devices, the seamless pairing process will not.
Why hasn't anyone else managed to do this yet? For every alternative earbuds I find - JBL, Sony, Jabra, B&O, Google - I find numerous reviews saying the pairing process is complicated and the Bluetooth connection unreliable with frequent connection drops.
It seems Bluetooth 5 will bring power and transfer speed improvement that will make it easier to build truly wireless earbuds with a solid and reliable connection. So far I have seen no such products on the market but I did find two about to enter the market: Zolo Liberty+ and Touch Wireless Earbuds.
While waiting for those, I spent €20 and bought a pair of QCY Q29 truly wireless earbuds from Aliexpress. They actually work pretty well and sounds surprisingly good. But yeah; the pairing process was complicated and the Bluetooth connection keeps failing every now and then and causing dropouts while listening to music.