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Amazon shocks with Echo Frames smart glasses and Echo Loop ring

Amazon has revealed Echo Frames; a pair of smart glasses powered by the Alexa assistant that can be worn with or without a prescription.

The Echo Frames, announced as a limited run product under the new Day One scheme, are designed to give wearers on-the-go access to Alexa while going about their normal business.

They don’t have a camera or display, so don’t fall into the realm of augmented reality, but sound ideal for checking the calendar, managing the to-do list, keeping tabs on the weather, traffic and everything we’ve come to enjoy about using Alexa in the home or office setting.

Related: Amazon Alexa September 2019 event

The Frames can read out smartphone notifications aloud, be used to make phone calls and even play music and podcasts. There’s no mention of the battery life on board, but Amazon did say they’d be good for “all day.”

Related: Amazon Echo Buds

Amazon says there are discreet directional speakers that are designed to deliver the audio responses to you personally, rather than beaming it to all and sundry. Wearers will also be able to choose which notifications are read out loud using swipe gestures. For example, Alexa may say: “Message from Ethan, swipe for more.”

Because Frames are designed to be worn on the go, Amazon says some unique Alexa skills come into play. For example, if you’re wearing while dining you can say “Add *insert eatery* to our favourite restaurant list,” or ask to set a reminder for when you get to a certain place.

You can see a demonstration in the video Amazon has posted on Twitter following its launch event:

They weigh just 31 grams and look almost indiscernible from a pair of regular eyeglasses, which overcomes a major pain point for smart glasses.

Right now, the Echo Frames are invite-only and will be available for a special price of $179.99 when shipping later this year. Currently, they’re aimed at “enthusiasts” and it’s not clear when they’ll be widely available to consumers.

Alexa on Loop

Amazon also revealed another Day One product on Wednesday, called Echo Loop. A smart ring with two microphones and the smallest speaker ever on an Echo device.

Users can discreetly press a button to interact with Alexa and Amazon says it can be used to control smart home gadgets, request information, calculate a tip, or anything between, without the user having to pick up their phone. A subtle haptic vibration will notify wearers when there is a notification, such as an incoming call.

Amazon Echo Loop

Amazon says “a ton of technology packed into this small form factor.” It too is invite-only right now and will cost $99.99 when it ships in the US later this year.

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