Razer Debuts Anzu Smart Glasses
Gaming accessories developer Razer is launching a set of voice assistant-enabled smart glasses with built-in microphones and speakers. The $200 Anzu smart glasses are available for pre-order and will serve as a new rival in the burgeoning market to offerings from Amazon, Bose, and Huawei, among others.
Razer created a square and a round lens variant of Anzu, each coming in small and large sizes. The frames come with regular and sunglass lenses that can be swapped out as desired, and the company is working with Lensabl to provide 15% discounts on getting prescription lenses made for the device. The glasses connect by Bluetooth to a smartphone and can perform much like earbuds or other audio smart glasses. Touch controls on either side of the lenses can adjust music, answer phone calls and awaken the voice assistant of the connected smartphone to issue commands.
One aspect that does make Razer stand out from potential rivals is the true wireless audio design. The right and left speakers are independent of each other like Apple AirPods or other earbuds. Razer describes the choice as a way to make the glasses more comfortable to wear because the separated systems mean the frames can be more flexible.
“The Razer Anzu modernizes the wearable category in terms of convenience and blue light or UV protection,” Razer head of sales and marketing John Moore said. “With Anzu, Razer is entering the market at a time when there is a surge of people working from home – where eye protection, hands-free communication and smart features are now in high demand.”
The failure of Google Glass seems to have almost entirely faded as smart glasses are popping up all over. Audio-only smart glasses in particular are finding new life in the Bose Frames, Huawei’s Eyewear II, Vue Lite, and the Echo Frames. Smart glasses with holographic and other visual components are also beginning to slowly appear. Google is clearly going to make another attempt after acquiring North, the makers of Focals by North smart glasses, at the end of June. North’s portfolio included many patents acquired from Intel in 2018 for the canceled Vaunt smart glasses, which the company integrated into its own product, and which Google will doubtless find useful. Facebook is supposedly working with Ray-Ban on smart glasses with AR too, and details about Apple’s plans for smart glasses with displays in the lenses leaked earlier this year.
This is actually Razer’s second wearable for the face this year after debuting a smart mask called Project Hazel at CES in January. Project Hazel enhances an N95 medical mask with active ventilation from removable disc-shaped ventilator units. Also inside is a microphone and amplifier to make the wearer’s voice audible to those around them. When not in use, the mask can be charged in a box that also sterilizes with ultraviolet light. The images of Anzu released so far don’t have any of the models wearing Project Hazel as it might be redundant, but hopefully, the microphones can understand what someone wearing a mask is saying at least for the foreseeable future.