Amazon Upgrades Echo Frames Software and Color Choices
Amazon has updated the Echo Frames smart glasses with new features and colors. The Alexa-enabled smart glasses now offer gray or blue variations and new interaction options and commands for Alexa. The Echo Frames are otherwise the wearable Alexa device that Amazon released after graduating from the Day 1 pilot program.
The Echo Frames software updates will be in the new products as well as pushed to existing customers. The most significant addition is the new Top Contact feature for speeding up calls to a favorite contact. Wearers pick a saved number for their top contact and can then call it with a long press on the smartglasses’ touchpad. And Alexa can now respond to either Alexa or Echo depending on what the mobile app sets the wake word. Wearers should soon hear all audio interactions through the Echo Frames better with the dynamic Auto Volume that Amazon upgraded to rise and fall based on changing noise around the wearer. To save on battery life, the Echo Frames are taking a page from the world of earbuds, automatically entering sleep mode when turned upside down and awakening when placed on the owner’s face. Amazon is also extending the existing hands-free text messaging feature for Android to iOS devices, so iPhone owners won’t have to use their phones to start dictating messages.
“It’s been nearly a year since Echo Frames became available to everyone, and we’re just getting started. We’re excited about the potential for smart glasses, and we are always working to improve the experience and act on customer feedback,” Echo Frames director Jean Wang explained in a blog post.” We’re excited to announce new colors and features that make Echo Frames more adaptive and stylish, and make it easier than ever for you to stay connected and engaged.”
That expanded color palette for the Echo Frames now counts what Amazon calls ‘Quartz Grey’ and ‘Pacific Blue’ for the standard, prescription, sunglass, and blue light-filter lenses. The filtered lenses are designed to cut the blue light from digital screens long linked to headaches and insomnia. The ‘Modern Tortoise’ design previously restricted to the standard lenses is also now available for sunglass or blue-light-filtering lenses. All of the new options become available on Nov. 10. The Echo Frames sunglasses and blue light filters cost $270, while the prescription-ready version runs $250 before the prescription is calculated.
“We know style is important when it comes to eyewear, so we’re adding even more color and lens combinations for customers,” Wang wrote. “The newest additions give customers a total of 13 different color and lens combinations to choose from within the Echo Frames family.”
The focus on the look of the smart glasses is reminiscent of Anker’s new Soundcore Frames and its 10 swappable frame varieties. The list of options for audio-based smart glasses is rapidly lengthening, as options like Razer’s Anzu smart glasses, Huawei’s Eyewear II, and the new Ray-Ban Stories built with Facebook appear. With choices mushrooming, color and style may be the edge elements that help Amazon or its competitors stand out.