(Image credit: Honeywell and Xupermask)
There are badly timed product launches. And then there are really badly timed product launches for products so stupid you can’t believe they exist.
Will.i.am, founder of the Black Eyed Peas, is launching a $299 mask — complete with noise cancellation headphones — with help from N95 manufacturer Honeywell.
You may remember Will from the insufferable Yes We Can, Obama song. You may remember Honeywell from your thermostat.
Mask prices have been falling sharply with even N95s available for under a dollar a mask. During the worst of the pandemic, they were impossible to obtain and government personnel were seizing supplies of the masks. Except that now masks are widely available.
The boom is dying down, so it’s time to launch a $300 luxury mask to cash in on the market of people who want to look like robots?
Will.i.am tells Axios he’s been thinking about this type of hyped-up mask since the onset of the pandemic. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff helped broker the Honeywell connection after seeing earlier prototypes of the mask. (He’s known Benioff for 15 years.)
Benioff is one of the more obnoxious lefty Silicon Valley types.
The “Xupermask” (pronounced super mask) comes with Honeywell’s HEPA ventilation filters — designed for consumer, not medical, use. It has bluetooth connectivity and comes with an earbud docking system.
Not only does it have an incredibly stupid name, but it’s a mask with bluetooth. Why does a mask need bluetooth? And who’s stupid enough to spring for a mask with noise-cancelling headphones as opposed to just wearing your own headphones?
And who really wants to walk around looking like the inhabitant of some post-apocalyptic dystopia? This might be too much even for Fauci.
Will.i.am says he hasn’t had yet had conversations with any retailers to sell the mask, though it’s a possibility “as we gear up towards the holidays.”
I’m sure a $300 stormtrooper mask with bluetooth will be a big hit in December.
“We created Xupermask to change the game of our new normal. In this new age of style and security, Xupermask is an uncompromising face mask design with high-tech performance for the modern lifestyle,” said William “will.i.am” Adams in the press release.
Is this the new modern lifestyle?