In an effort to further expand the capabilities of its Alexa voice assistant, Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) is currently developing compatible smart glasses and home security cameras, according to a new report from the Financial Times.
Citing people familiar with Amazon’s plans, the Financial Times said that one or both of these products could be launched before the end of the year. The publication also noted that updates to existing Echo devices are likely coming within that same timeframe.
According to the Financial Times, Amazon intends the smart glasses to be an earbuds-free housing for its Alexa AI. The glasses will apparently feature a bone-conduction audio system that enables users to hear Alexa without being wired in.
The smart glasses would be Amazon’s first wearable tech product and could reveal more about the company’s plans for Alexa. Compared to other tech firms with AI assistants, such as Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) and Apple (AAPL - Free Report) , Amazon does not have a proprietary mobile device, so Alexa smart glasses could simply be a method of spreading the technology.
The Financial Times also reported that the smart glasses will sync with a user’s smartphone for connectivity and will be designed to look like a regular pair of spectacles. And if this device sounds eerily similar to the ill-fated Google Glass, it’s probably because Amazon hired Babak Parviz, the founder of that project, several years ago.
The Financial Times report said that Parviz has been working on Amazon’s smart glasses, and through analysis of LinkedIn profiles, the publication also pointed to several other former Google Glass project members who have moved to Amazon.
Of course, Google Glass may not be the best smart glasses foundation to work from. The idea was heralded as the next big wearable tech trend, but its final design was not popular and its $1,500 price tag was chastised. Google Glass became available to the public in May 2014, and by January 2015, the company said it would stop producing the prototype.
To avoid a similar fate, the Financial Times said that Amazon’s smart glasses will likely not include a camera or screen, which will also extend the device’s battery life.
On top of this, Amazon is reportedly developing the “Echo Protect” security camera. According to the same Financial Times sources, the Echo Protect is slated to be the next Echo-branded product and further underscores Amazon’s effort to bring its Alexa technology into the mainstream.
Amazon has not officially responded to the latest rumors, but an entrance into the wearable tech and home security spaces certainly seems like logical next step for the company’s Alexa platform. For more on Amazon’s latest moves, make sure to check back here!
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