In the battle to become our smart assistant of choice, Amazon's Alexa is currently losing out in one key area: mobile. Apple's iPhones have Siri, and Android phones have the Google Assistant, but with the failure of the Fire phone, Alexa isn't the convenient choice on any smartphone. According to a report in the Financial Times, Amazon plans to address this issue by launching a pair of 'smart glasses' that can interact with Alexa.
The project is certainly reminiscent of Google Glass. In fact, Amazon hired Glass founder Babak Parviz 3 years ago, along with several others from the team that developed the Google wearable. They now work in Amazon's experimental Lab 126, whose remit has been to come up with future products in the smart assistant space. When accessible via a pair of smart glasses, Alexa could be as convenient as its competitors, if not more so.
Google's glasses failed as a consumer product before they were even fully released, largely due to a high price point and privacy concerns, although the device has since found success in enterprise. Amazon's glasses could differ in a few ways, most notably by not having a screen or camera. According to the FT, it's likely they will only have a microphone and a bone-conduction audio system.
The Alexa glasses will tether to the user's smartphone, negating the need for much built-in processing power. Less technology also means less bulk, so they should look a lot more like a normal pair of spectacles. Altogether, this should make for a more stylish, affordable device, which should ultimately lead to a better chance of mainstream success. Take a look at Vue on Kickstarter for a sense of what we might expect to see.
In the report, the FT also mentions that Amazon is planning to launch a home security camera system, similar to what Google offers with Nest, which will apparently hook up with existing Alexa-enabled devices. The upcoming Echo Show or a Fire tablet could be used to view the video feed from the internet connected camera.
With updates to existing Echo devices expected before the end of the year, we might also learn more about Amazon's first foray into wearables and home security at same time.
- Financial Times (Paywalled)