As a general rule, the weird and wonderful gadgets that always seem to come out in Japan never actually make it to Australian shores. But Sony has surprised us by announcing that they're planning on releasing the PFR-V1 headphones (although technically they're not headphones, it's just easier to write headphones as opposed to "Personal Field Speakers" every time) we saw back in February.They still look incredibly awkward, and considering the $599 price tag, you have to wonder exactly what the market is for these things. You couldn't wear them in public - not only would you be ridiculed for the retainer-like appearance, but they're speakers, so everyone will unwillingly hear your obsession with Phil Collins as you take the train home.
So this means that they're for home use only. Which wouldn't be so bad a thing - the sound quality is actually really, really impressive. But most people have dedicated home theatres and stereos these days, so there's no need for a pair of quality on-ear speakers.
I could see them useful if they offered wireless connectivity, but Sony have said that the audiophile community (who is obviously their target for this product) cringe at any thought of compression from wireless audio, so it's not something they're looking at introducing. Which is a shame - wireless is probably the only way I'd ever consider buying a pair.
They'll be hitting shelves in September.