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Amazon said to be working on its first wearable device, Alexa powered smartglasses

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Amazon said to be working on its first wearable device, Alexa powered smartglasses
We've often called 2017 the year of Alexa, as Amazon's virtual personal assistant has riden the sharp growth in smart speakers this year to become a major player in tech. Originally found on the Amazon Echo, Alexa is now offered on smartphones like the HTC U11 and the U.S. version of the Huawei Mate 9. With the number of its "skills" on the rise, Alexa is trying to overtake Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana.

According to the Financial Times, who was tipped by someone in the know, Amazon is working on its first wearable device. This would be an Alexa powered pair of smartglasses that would allow wearers to call on Alexa anytime the spectacles are being worn. The glasses will need to pair with a smartphone, and a bone-conduction system, similar to what was used on the Xiaomi Mi MIX and is being used on the Mi MIX 2, will allow users of the device to hear audio without wearing headphones.

Unlike Google Glass, the first version of the Amazon smartglasses will not sport a camera. This might prevent those wearing the product from suffering the same fate as Google Glass wearers. The latter were banned from certain bars and restaurants as owners of those places worried that Glass owners would secretly record patrons on video. Movie theaters removed Google Glass wearers as theater owners feared that users would secretly record first run movies and show them on YouTube.

Several former Google Glass researchers, engineers and designers are now working for Amazon, including Babak Parviz, the creator of Google Glass. Parviz was signed by Amazon in 2014. Apple is also rumored to be working on its own pair of smartglasses. Earlier this year, former analyst Gene Munster said that the Apple Glasses would become bigger than the iPhone after a 2019 launch.

source: FinancialTimes (subscription reqd) via NYPost

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