The $199 Bose Frames are Audio Sunglasses
Bose’s audio AR glasses called Frames are now officially available for $199.95 in the U.S. Frames is a pair of sunglasses that houses speakers in its frame and a microphone near each temple, allowing users to play music and take calls. Users are also able to interact with Siri and Google Assistant using the sunglasses, after pairing the frames to a phone, however interactions are limited to asking an assistant to play music and handle music playback. Pairing the sunglasses with a phone gives the device a GPS location, and the device also has its own nine-axis motion sensor to tell what direction a user’s head is pointed in. Each pair of Bose Frames is Bose AR enabled, and new functionality with Bose AR will be available for users on the Bose Connect app via an upcoming software update. No official date for the update has been announced but it will allow the Frames to utilize contextual audio to deliver first-of-a-kind experiences, says Bose.
The sunglasses come in two styles and are being decently well reviewed. CNET’s David Carnoy gave the product a 7.9/10, saying the sound quality is good, they are surprisingly not heavy, the battery life is low, and overall the product is a “compelling wearable audio device that can take the place of headphones.” Bose says the battery provides around three and a half hours of music playback and 12 hours of standby. The Verge notes that privacy could be a big concern for Frames users, as it makes use of an open-ear design. Preorder availability for the Frames began in December 2018.
What is Bose’s Audio Based Augmented Reality Platform?
The Bose AR platform is unique in that rather than focusing on visual augmented reality, it is focused on audio augmented reality. Bose initially announced its new audio augmented-reality platform at SXSW in 2018 and displayed a prototype for Bose AR glasses then. The prototype also featured a nine-axis head motion sensor in the sunglasses, allowing Bose AR to deliver audio feedback based on a user’s GPS location and which way a user’s head is facing. For example, the prototype was able to recommend restaurants to users, give details about nearby landmarks, and even help users practice learning a foreign language. At last year’s SXSW, Bose stated
Unlike other augmented reality products and platforms, Bose AR doesn’t change what you see, but knows what you’re looking at — without an integrated lens or phone camera. And rather than superimposing visual objects on the real world, Bose AR adds an audible layer of information and experiences, making every day better, easier, more meaningful, and more productive.
Bose will give an update on the Bose AR platform at SXSW 2019, perhaps that is also when Frames users will receive the software update.