Web-enabled glasses haven’t really taken off yet. First, Google Glass tried to put some internet services, like email and news reports, in your field of view. For on-the-go photo and video recording, Snapchat released the Specs product. Neither made much headway with consumers.
Now comes Amazon’s foray into smart eyeglasses, called Echo Frames. The device gives consumers the chance to take Alexa with them everywhere they go.
According to a report on tech website The Verge, the product looks like your basic pair of eyelasses with thicker temples to house speakers, microphones and other electronic components. It will eventually be available with prescription and sunglass lenses through optical shops and eyecare providers, according to Amazon.
The glasses can be paired with Android phones and can read notifications and other information aloud, make phone calls and play audio. For privacy, users can disable the microphone, and the device doesn’t come with a camera.
Amazon’s ambitions are limited to Alexa connectivity—unlike Google Glass, there’s no augmented reality component to the product. Echo Frames are capable of pretty much anything your typical Alexa device can do, according to the report. But there’s a catch. The devices don’t support iOS yet, so iPhone users are out of luck for now.
Echo Frames are currently available “by invitation only,” as quantities are limited and the company is seeking feedback from hand-picked early adopters. The price is $179.99. Additional details can be found on the product page here.
Seifert D, Welch C. The Verge. Amazon Echo Frames preview: trying on the Alexa smart glasses. www.theverge.com/2019/9/25/20883917/amazon-echo-frames-smart-glasses-preview-hands-on-photos-alexa. September 25, 2019. Accessed September 26, 2019.