Bose discontinues its niche Sport Open Earbuds

Bose’s Sport Open wireless earbuds hit the market in early 2021, and less than two years later, the company has decided to phase them out of its lineup. The earbuds are marked with a status of “final sale” and are being steeply discounted on Bose’s online store, and Bose spokesperson Joanne Berthiaume confirmed to The Verge that this is the end of the line for the product.

The $199.99 earbuds — now available for $119.99 while supplies last — were marketed as “a truly different kind of sport headphone” upon their release. They don’t actually go into your ear canals or even block them in any way. But rather, the unique open-style design lets them rest above your ears and allows for total situational awareness while listening to music.

Unlike bone conduction earbuds like those from Shokz, which fill a similar niche, Bose’s buds featured more traditional drivers and were designed to direct audio toward your ears and minimize noise bleed to others around you. Bose went so far as to create this webpage that spells out the differences between this approach and bone conduction.

But between its lineup of audio sunglasses, including the Frames Tempo and the closed-style Sport Earbuds, it appears Bose doesn’t see much reason to keep the Sport Open Earbuds around any longer. The Frames glasses address the same market of people who want an open-ear gadget for personal audio. Our mini-review of the Sport Open Earbuds also pointed to some issues with fit stability and difficulties for people who wear glasses.

So you can add the Sport Open Earbuds to the list of innovative Bose products that had a relatively short run on retail shelves — right next to the SoundWear Companion neck speaker. I still find myself using the latter around the house sometimes when on calls. The concept was much the same: it freed up your ears and still let you enjoy music. If that product had arrived a couple years later when everyone was working from home so frequently, maybe it would’ve found greater success. But the Sport Open Earbuds just ended up being the odd one out, pitted against Shokz and Bose’s own alternatives.