Amazon’s vision of how people will continue to use its voice assistant Alexa includes Echo Frames, a smart glasses product that is moving from invite-only to general availability.
Echo Frames were part of a program at the tech giant called Day 1 Editions, which introduces products to a select group of users in order to generate feedback and continue development. The glasses were first introduced in September 2019 at the company’s annual devices event in Seattle.
The key feature of the smart glasses is Alexa connectivity, via smartphone Bluetooth, right at a user’s temples. The frames deliver open-ear audio directed toward the ears to allow users to make a phone call, listen to music, hear notifications and more, without inserting anything in the ear. Nothing is projected onto the lenses of the glasses.
Whether “the little voice in your head” is something you’d want to constantly hear was the subject of a Washington Post test of the glasses earlier this year. “You have to really love Alexa to want to wear it on your face,” tech columnist Geoffrey Fowler wrote.
Feedback during the past year, highlighted in an Amazon blog post, has resulted in improvements such as auto volume, in which the frames adjust volume depending on the noise in the surrounding environment; improved battery life; auto off, in which the frames turn off when placed upside down for three seconds; and more colors.
Available now for $249.99 and shipping on Dec. 10, Echo Frames come with non-corrective lenses and are compatible with most prescription lenses, according to Amazon.
Amazon also announced Thursday that another Day 1 Editions product would not be moving past the trial phase. Production and sales will be ending on Echo Loop, a $129 smart ring with a speaker and microphone.