Amazon Echo Frames Adds Sunglasses and Blue Light Filter Options
Amazon is rolling out new styles for the Alexa-enabled Echo Frames for people going outside this summer or spending a lot of time staring at a screen. Two kinds of sunglasses and lenses that filter out the blue light are now available as part of the smart audio glasses, arriving about six months after the Echo Frames graduated from the Day 1 pilot program in their current form.
Alexa in the Sun
Two of the new Echo Frames are sunglasses, coming with standard polarized lenses as seen above, or with blue mirror lenses. The other addition looks like the standard clear lenses but will filter out blue light from digital screens, which is associated with causing insomnia and headaches in some people. All of the new glasses cost $270, and the blue mirror sunglasses have begun shipping, while the other two are available for pre-order and will ship on June 9. Customer feedback helped shape the decisions on what the new glasses should look like, according to Amazon.
“Feedback from you—our customers—has been central to the design and development of Echo Frames since the very beginning,” director of Echo Frames Jean Wang explained in a blog post. “Since becoming generally available in December, you’ve asked for more options with Echo Frames. So today, we’re excited to make Echo Frames available as polarized smart audio sunglasses and blue-light-filtering smart audio glasses. These new options make it easy to benefit from the convenience of smart audio glasses by enabling hands-free access to Alexa, even if you don’t need prescription glasses.”
Besides the lenses, the new Echo Frames operate like their predecessor, embedding Alexa into a set of glasses to make it easy to communicate with the voice assistant. Small microphones and speakers in the frames facilitate the conversation, which a wearer can begin with a wake word or by pressing on the side of the glasses. The user communicates via Bluetooth to the Alexa app on their smartphone. Should the wearer prefer, the glasses can also interact with the default voice assistant on the device, whether Siri on iOS or Google Assistant on Android. Wearers can also opt for more privacy by double-tapping on the side of the frames. The only limitation in the new versions is that they only come in black, without the blue and tortoiseshell color choices of the standard Echo Frames right now. Otherwise, the glasses can do anything an Echo smart speaker might, from dropping in on other people’s Alexa devices to playing voice games or pulling up directions. And Amazon hinted they are still looking for feedback to further upgrade and expand the range of the smart glasses.
“That’s the magic of Echo Frames as smart audio glasses—Alexa is available to help you make a call, set a reminder, listen to podcasts, read your important notifications, control your smart home, and more, all while allowing you to stay connected to the world around you,” Wang wrote. “We’re excited to make Echo Frames available for even more customers—and we look forward to hearing from you.”