Virtual Reality

Amazon apparently building Alexa-connected smart glasses

EPA / CHRISTOPH DERNBACH

Consumer electronics fans may soon be able to purchase a discrete tethered device with a connection to virtual assistant Alexa, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed people close to Amazon.com Inc. The sources revealed the online retail giant is developing smart glasses which enable listening to audio material with bone conduction, to make headphones obsolete.

The product has regular appearance and it is connected to the user’s phone, the article said. The smart device may be released by the end of the year together with tweaks for the Echo portfolio and a camera-based home security product integrated with the system, according to the leak. The sound- but also fashion-focused breach into augmented reality (AR) comes on the back of Amazon’s struggles to implement its artificial intelligence solutions into mobile hardware.

The word is, the device in the pipeline is unlikely to integrate cameras or a screen as such big bites have hurt competitors before. Babak Parviz, who started the failed Google Glass, has joined the company three years ago. Bone conduct, a technology dating back at least five centuries, was one of the features. Earlier in the year, Apple was said to be developing tethered AR gear, including specs, with the ambition to eventually create standalone hardware. Amazon has also been burnt in mobile electronics projects, like with its Fire Phone.

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