Amazon launches its first pair of smart glasses
Amazon has stepped into the world of connected eyewear with its first ever pair of smart glasses. Not quite as ambitious as some designs to have come and gone before them, the company’s Echo Frames keep things relatively simple in hopes of making its Alexa voice assistant a key part of a user’s everyday life.
It might seem a little unexpected for a huge tech company to launch a pair of smart glasses in 2019 that feature neither a display nor any type of camera, but it appears Amazon is looking to not bite off more than it chew.
Its Echo Frames are designed for everyday use, with owners able to take them to their optometrist to have their required lenses installed, and Amazon claiming they will accommodate most prescriptions.
Built into the frames is a set of four tiny speakers along with a pair of two beam-forming microphones. This setup allows wearers to engage with Alexa when they’re out and about, whether that be asking for some news or directions, turning on a smart light with their voice, setting reminders, or scheduling appointments in their calendar.
The glasses will also pull notifications from a connected phone, which users can listen into by swiping a touchpad built into the right arm of the frames. A feature Amazon calls VIP filter allows users to decide which messaging apps it wants to receive notifications on the glasses for and which ones it doesn’t.
Amazon introduced the Echo Frames at a product launch event today, where it rolled out a few other Alexa-oriented items of note, including Samuel L. Jackson as its very first celebrity voice. Its new set of wireless Echo Buds are kitted out with Bose noise cancellation tech, rated for five hours of battery life and 20 hours with the charging case. These are up for pre-order now and priced at US$130.
Another interesting product to break cover today is the Echo Loop, which is Amazon’s take on a smart ring. The connected jewelry is priced at $130 and equipped with two microphones, allowing wearer’s to tap into Alexa on the go by issuing voice commands at their finger.
Both the Echo Loop and Echo Frames, priced at $180, are initially available only by invitation as part of Amazon’s Day 1 Editions program. An Amazon rep tells us that once this invite-only period ends, the Echo Loop will be priced at $179.99 and the Echo Frames will be listed at $249.99.