Is there anything Amazon won’t do? The $460-billion internet giant is now venturing into the wearable devices market if reports are to be believed. It may be making Alexa-powered smart glasses that can be operated by voice commands, FT reports. The device would tether wirelessly to a smartphone, and will look like a regular pair of glasses. However, “bone-conduction technology” would help users hear Alexa without earphones or conventional speakers.
Amazon is likely to give the camera and the screen a miss, thus making it different from the Google Glass — a product that many reckon sank without a trace. Incidentally, Google Glass founder Babak Parviz was roped in by Amazon in 2014 to work on smart devices. Several other researchers, engineers and designers from the Google Glass team have also moved to Amazon. Google Glass, of course, suffered from privacy concerns, and its price was prohibitive too. But almost all tech majors now, from Apple and Facebook to Microsoft and Snap, are working on headsets and AR-enabled glasses. Perhaps Amazon too would head there eventually. ALSO READ: Researchers develop Alexa-like system that help robots understand commands better
Reports also suggest that the Seattle-based giant could be working on a home security camera as well. That would be different from its Echo line of devices, and would enable Amazon customers see their orders as they are delivered at their doorstep. One or both of these products is expected to arrive by the end of this year. Updates to Amazon’s existing Echo devices is also due. Amazon claims that it has already sold “tens of millions” of Echo devices so far. ALSO READ: Google Assistant to take over Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung Bixby by 2021: Report
While hardware hasn’t been Amazon’s trump card yet, the success of Echo has inspired the company to make more inroads into the smart home market. It will be up against Google-parent Alphabet’s Nest and Netgear devices, as well as a host of startups that offer smart security cameras in the US. Meanwhile, last month, Amazon and Microsoft announced a collaboration that would now allow Cortana (virtual assistant) in Echo devices and Alexa in Microsoft devices. “The idea of the tie-up is to give each virtual assistant’s users access to the other assistant’s unique strengths, and to help each system spread beyond its current base,” the companies explained.