First Amazon Alexa-Enabled Digital Glasses to Debut at CES
The first augmented-reality glasses with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant will be shown this week at CES in Las Vegas and are manufactured by a 75-employee company rather than the e-commerce giant’s growing devices division, according to Bloomberg.
Vuzix will show off a pair of smart glasses that can talk to Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant and display information to the wearer’s field of view, Vuzix CEO Paul Travers said in an interview. Vuzix’s Alexa integration is part of an Amazon program that allows third-party hardware manufacturers to put the digital assistant into their products. In October, Sonos unveiled a smart speaker with Alexa’s system for controlling music playback. The strategy is designed to put Amazon’s service, which generates revenue for the company, in as many places as possible to sell more products.
Amazon confirmed that Vuzix’s device will be the first smart glasses with Alexa. The company is “excited about the potential of the glasses and the ability to bring Alexa to customers in a new way,” a company spokeswoman said.
Voice assistants and augmented-reality products will be highlighted at this week’s CES consumer electronics show. Executives from Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant will be seeking new partners and other big technology companies, including Apple and Facebook’s Oculus division, will be at the show behind the scenes as they ramp up their virtual-reality and augmented-reality products.
Vuzix will release its AR glasses by the second quarter at a cost of about $1,000, Travers said. While it’s a “high price point,” he said, “the ultimate goal is to have it under $500, and we’ll be able to do that” by 2019. Wearers, who must be Amazon customers or become Amazon customers to enable Alexa’s capabilities, could for example ask the digital assistant to pull up a map or display sports scores on the glasses.