Amazon's Next Alexa Device Is... a Pair of Smart Glasses?

Image: Amazon
Image: Amazon

When it comes to smart speakers, Amazon’s Alexa is already out to a big lead. But with refreshed Home speakers coming from Google not to mention Apple, Sonos, and others soon to be joining the fray with their own sound systems featuring built-in digital assistants, Amazon has no time to rest on its laurels. To help bring the power of Alexa to places where a regular Echo might not be able to go, Amazon is reportedly getting ready to make an Alexa-powered pair of smart glasses.

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But don’t get any visions of these smart glasses looking like an updated take on the awkward Google Glass from back in 2013 . According to a new report from the Financial Times, Amazon’s upcoming smartglasses will instead rely on a tethered wireless connection to your phone and a bone-conducting audio systems to project sound into your noggin without the need for headphones.

While this might sound a bit ridiculous, it would be a relatively simple and unobtrusive way for people to have a digital assistant in their ear at all times. Apple does it with the AirPods, and the Google Assistant is on basically every Android phone made in the last year and a half. But without its own handsets, Amazon needs to find a different way stay relevant on mobile.

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Additionally, Bluetooth radios and batteries have gotten pretty small, and with Amazon’s growing clothing and fashion portfolio, the company could offer the new smartglasses in a range of styles. Then again, it’s not like there aren’t Alexa-powered headphones already on the market, and those didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

Along with the new smartglasses, the Financial Times also reported that a new Amazon home security camera is on the way. The internet-connected camera will be integrated in with Amazon’s other Echo devices so that users could watch the security cam’s feed on something like the Echo Show. It’s not super exciting and it seems like a logical addition to growing family of devices, which means it will probably happen.

But if Amazon’s real master plan is to have a microphone connected to Alexa anywhere you go, home or away, the rumored smart glasses could be what Amazon needs to bring Alexa out the living room and into the world—especially after the Echo Tap failed to live up to expectations.

[Financial Times]

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Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

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DISCUSSION

kayjiersen
TheUnfollowed

This is what I do with glasses:

  • Smudge them within seconds of cleaning.
  • Find little mysterious scratches all over the lenses.
  • Take them off when I don’t need them, then forget where they are.
  • Fumble with the prescription sunglasses/glasses swap at doorways on bright days.
  • Get frustrated when it’s rainy/foggy/snowy outside, rendering them nearly useless.
  • Curse them when they quickly bend out of shape and start causing headaches and pain on one side of my head.
  • Oh, and I also NEED THEM TO SEE at a distance.

I’m not sure how those qualities would improve by adding Bluetooth and speakers. That said, if they can put together smartglasses that have my prescription and also change from sunshine to indoors without looking like ‘70s porn eyewear, resist smudges and scratches, weigh very little, and cost as much as my Warby Parkers, I’ll be first in line to buy a pair. Bonus points if they can become 3D glasses without putting another layer of plastic over my face. Don’t we have the technology for this yet?