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  • Paul Lamkin

Amazon Alexa Smart Glasses Could Launch This Year

Amazon is set to bring Alexa to wearable tech, with a pair of smart glasses launching in 2017 a real possibility.

That’s according to a report in the Financial Times, which states that Babak Parviz, one of the creators of Google Glass, has been closely involved with an Alexa spectacles project.

It’s reported that these connected specs won’t have augmented reality skills (as per Google Glass and Apple’s rumoured smart glasses) but instead relay audio feedback from Amazon’s digital assistant to wearers using bone conducting technology. The glasses, according to the report “could be worn comfortably and unobtrusively.”

“Amazon’s secretive Lab 126 product development team has been given the task of studying the smart-home market to see what other devices might make sense for the company to build,” reads the FT report – which cites people familiar with the company’s plans. “Launching a pair of smart glasses, however, is an unexpected and riskier move, given the category is almost entirely unproven among consumers.”

That risk is partly due to the smart glasses genre being somewhat damaged by the limitations and cost of Google’s aforementioned Glass project. However, Glass was just that – a project. Google never intended Glass to be a consumer facing product, its lifespan was purely a research project to see what potential glasses have as a wearable technology form factor.

And while Amazon’s rumoured smart glasses won’t include the HUD of Google Glass, it’s not unthinkable that the next revolution of wearable tech will be based in and around the face rather than the wrist. The hearables market, i.e. digital assistants directly in people’s ears (think the movie Her) is set to be worth $23.24 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 9.98% between 2017 and 2023.

And while it has been widely touted that Amazon would launch a pair of digital earbuds – along the same lines as Sony’s Xperia Ear – to get Alexa talking to people on the go, a pair of smart glasses makes sense as well.

Before the end of the year, the FT reports states, Amazon will announce either the smart glasses, or a new home security camera system. I’m hoping for the former.

Paul Lamkin is the editor-in-chief of WAREABLE - the authority on wearable technology.

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