SAN FRANCISCO: Amazon’s hardware efforts have been buoyed following the success of the Echo smart-speaker, leading Jeff Bezos’ company to begin work on a pair of “smart glasses” according to reports.
According to sources familiar with the matter, who spoke to the Financial Times, the glasses will allow the company’s virtual assistant, Alexa to be summoned anytime and anywhere.
The paper reports that the device would be designed to looks like a regular pair of glasses that can work unobtrusively, and would tether wirelessly to a user’s smartphone. Bone-conduction audio will let the user hear Alexa without the use of earphones.
The FT’s sources added that a further Alexa-enabled product was also in the pipeline with both potentially launching by the end of the year. The second product is said to be a home security camera system that will bulk up Amazon’s “smart home” presence.
Designed to tie up with the Echo range, the camera system would allow a user to see the video feed from the Echo Show’s screen; it could also have the capability to alert customers when Amazon orders have been delivered.
While the home security system has a reasonably obvious set of use cases, any attempts at spectacles-based wearables should recall Google’s Glass. An initial consumer failure, the company has recently reprised its wearable moon-shot for enterprise uses.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s forays into phones ended in failure also, when the Fire phone bet too heavily on the company’s own internal app store, leaving users frustrated that they could not use many of their favourite apps.
However, with the commercial success of the Echo and the consumer data that has followed, Amazon has become braver, more audacious in its product development.
That consumer data has become incredibly attractive to advertisers, which has spurred the creation of a number of dedicated Amazon practices for search marketing purposes.
"If Google can be said to understand consumer intent, then Amazon understands actions," Jeremy Pounder, futures director at Mindshare told WARC. Though there is not yet a way to advertise through Alexa, the deep relationship that Amazon is creating with consumers through the assistant will be hugely significant.
Data sourced from Financial Times, Wired, Cnet, WARC; additional content by WARC staff