Amazon is working on two new devices: a wearable device that will power Alexa, its voice assistant, and a home security camera that could be linked to Echo devices, that will expand their capabilities.
These new projects have been revealed by the Financial Times, in a report citing people familiar with the company owned by Jeff Bezos.
According to the british newspaper, at least one of these products could be launched before the end of the year, alongside “natural” updates to Echo devices already available.
The wearable device should be a pair of smart glasses, intended to house Alexa AI, with an audio system that would enable to hear Alexa without wiring in.
With this move, Amazon keeps trying fight against Apple and Google, but with a disadvantage. The other two companies already have a strong presence in the smartphone market, which means that they can push their assistants easier than Amazon. This is the reason why Bezos’ company is working on many different devices that will let people ear Alexa voice. The idea behind the glasses is to change the situation where users can use it just with in-home speakers.
According to the Financial Times report, the glasses should tether to users’ smartphone for connectivity, and they should be designed to look like regular glasses.
This project explains also why Amazon hired Babak Parviz in 2014. Parviz is now Vice President at Amazon, and the creator of Google Glass. The FT also notes (analysing LinkedIn profiles) that several other Glass researchers, designers and engineers moved to Amazon’s labs.
The newspaper also points to a consideration about glasses design. Google Glass failed partly because to its awkward appearance, including the inclusion of an “external” camera and a screen in the eyeline, while Amazon is trying to eschew both, avoiding, in this way, the same concerns. These glasses will contain an always listening microphone, although it is not clear if this is just a first stage.
With this glasses Amazon will compete also against Apple. In effect, Apple is working on augmented reality, that will initially come as an iPhone feature, but then will make its way onto people’s faces with a smart glasses project. However, the company leaded by Tim Cook is working on a project that should be much more complex than Amazon once, thus it means that they will not surely present anything like this in the next months.
Amazon Echo Devices and a Security Camera
The ecommerce firm has been improving its devices portfolio since November 2014, when it revealed the original Echo smart speaker. At that time, probably anyone could think how that speaker would become important in the smart devices market. However, it became clear how the idea of smart speakers was good when rivals also started working on their own projects. Google realized Google Home, while Apple is working on its HomePod.
As we anticipated, the other project branded by Amazon is a security camera, that will compete with many products already available on the market. But home security is a mainstram concern and a popular sector in these days. This Internet-connected Echo camera would be able to tie into Amazon’s existing Echo products: for example, it should allow users to view the video feed on the Echo Show’s screen.
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