Amazon’s next device: Alexa-powered smart glasses

September 21, 2017

Amazon’s next device: Alexa-powered smart glasses

Amazon is planning to release a pair of smart glasses with the Alexa voice assistant built in. This device will reportedly be the latest addition to its range of voice-controlled devices. Unlike previous smartglasses, such as Google Glass and Snapchat’s Spectacles, these will be a regular pair of glasses which won’t feature a screen or camera in any form.

They will rely on a bone-conduction technology, which will transmit sound into the user’s head by vibrating their skull instead of through headphones inserted in their ear.

This would be a relatively simple and easy way for users to have a digital assistant in their ear at all times. For instance, Apple does this with the AirPods, and the Google Assistant is present on almost every Android phone in the past year and a half. However, without its own handsets, Amazon needs to step up its game in order to stay relevant on mobile.

Apparently, along with the new smart glasses, Amazon will unveil a home security camera at a product launch event expected to be held soon. This camera will be integrated with Amazon’s other Echo devices so that users could watch the security camera’s feed on something like the Echo Show.

According to a research, the Amazon Echo today has a 76 %share of the smart speaker market, with 15m units in consumer’s houses. The Echo was launched in the USA in November 2014 and it was slowly introduced to the UK and Germany in the next two years. Furthermore, in 2016, Amazon released the Echo Look camera, smaller Echo Dot and the Echo Show with a screen. Amazon’s Echo Show already allows you to view the feed from other security cameras, the same feature as the company’s upcoming model.

Alexa was also introduced into Amazon’s Fire range of video streaming devices and tablets and is available as a plugin for third-party products like speakers, TVs, cars etc.

Anyway, it’s debatable whether the smart glasses will be a success. Google’s efforts to create a market for its Glass hardware continually faced problems of privacy and desirability. On the other hand, the simpler camera-enabled set of smart glasses, the Snap’s Spectacles, have managed to avoid the criticism which struck Glass but also failed to impress the world.

Amazon still hasn’t made a comment about any of this, so the glasses might be just an internal experiment that will never see the light of day. Only time will tell whether one or both these products will arrive this year. If they do, let’s hope they will live up to our expectations!