Amazon is trying to do what Google couldn’t: make a decent pair of consumer-friendly smart glasses.
Today during an event in Seattle, the company unveiled its new Echo Frames as a part of its new Day 1 Edition class of devices. The glasses are meant for enthusiasts to try before they go completely mainstream (hence they’re a part of the Day 1 program), but right off the bat, it’s pretty clear that these things have the potential to become somewhat of a trend.
Here’s the basics: they’re glasses with Alexa. That’s just about it. The Echo Frames provide a gender-neutral black frame with support for prescription lenses that have speakers attached to their arms, out of which you hear Alexa speak. You can talk to her, ask her questions, and do everything else you can do with something like an Echo speaker.
It’s Alexa on your face.
Amazon says to safeguard other’s privacy, it points the microphones directly at you so that Alexa will has a better chance of only hearing you speak, not other people. They’re designed for “all-day wear” which should also mean they’ll last all day on a single charge. We don’t have any specs or battery life numbers to run in this article, but I can assume as soon as somebody gets their hands on them, we’ll start getting spec breakdowns and battery life results.
That’s another thing. It’s gonna be tough to buy these things. As a part of the Day 1 program, Amazon will only be selling limited quantities of the glasses, and you’ll need an invitation to buy them. If you do get invited, they’ll run you $179.99, although it’s unclear how much a prescription will tack on to your bill.
Much like Snap’s Spectacles, I can definitely see Echo Frames becoming the new hip thing to wear. You can talk to them and you’ll look like a total nerd. What more do you need for your Instagram feed?