Amazon launches its first pair of smart glasses

Amazon's Echo Frames smart glasses. Picture: Glenn Chapman / AFP

Without using your hands or smartphone, you can make phone calls, set reminders and listen to music.

Following in the footsteps of Google, Snap Inc., and North, Amazon announced on Wednesday the launch of an Alexa-equipped set of smart glasses: The Echo Frames.

Among the slew of Echo product reveals and updates announced at Amazon’s hardware event in Seattle, the company introduced the world to its first set of intelligent glasses launching with a surprisingly wallet-friendly price tag of $180 (R2,720).

The Echo Frames were designed for all-day use; they’re lightweight and can be fitted with prescription lenses like North’s Focals. Snap’s Spectacles, on the other hand, have tinted lenses like sunglasses, rendering them almost unusable indoors.

Without using your hands or smartphone, you can make phone calls, add to your to-do lists, set reminders, listen to music or podcasts, and control your smart home thanks to an Amazon Alexa integration.

A filter called VIP Filter lets the wearer customise which notifications are displayed on the lenses. Additionally, targeted sound keeps others from hearing what you’re listening to.

Unlike Spectacles by Snap Inc. and Google’s Glass smart specs, there is no visible camera on the frames, and they resemble a typical pair of glasses similarly to Focals. However, Amazon’s version are less than half the price of Focals, which start at $599 (R9,030).

The Echo Frames are available now on Amazon for $179 (R2,700).

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