Amazon will enter the wearable device market this year with a pair of Alexa-enabled smartglasses, according to multiple reports on Wednesday.
The glasses, which are designed to look like a regular pair of spectacles, will tether to your smartphone for connectivity and allow you to communicate with an Alexa device via a bone-conduction audio system.
The reports suggest the glasses will be launched without a screen or camera. It’s likely that this decision was made to avoid privacy and battery concerns. The Google Glass received a number of privacy complaints upon its release, with fears that non-users could be recorded without their consent or that their personal information could be unintentionally captured by the spectacles’ camera.
Amazon will be hoping its entry into the market can revive a relatively stagnant sector of the wearables market. Despite some suggestions that the technology would eventually replace the smartphone, smart glasses have failed to achieve mainstream adoption.
A recent report on the Global Smart Glasses Market gave a favourable forecast for future growth. The analysts expect the market to grow at a CAGR of 141% by 2020. They say the high growth potential of AR smart glasses has compelled vendors across the supply chain to acquire AR technology providers and AR hardware manufacturers to gain competitive edge in the market.
For example, Amazon hired Babak Parviz, founder of Google Glass, in 2014 to run their Alexa spectacles project. The glasses could also provide an opportunity for Amazon to move into the growing augmented reality market. Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook are already active in this market and working on HMDs to bring to market.
Amazon is also expanding its smart home portfolio with a new home security camera system. The internet-connected camera would connect to its hugely popular Echo products, allowing users to view the video feed on the Echo’s screen.
The global smart voice assistant speaker market is another industry poised for growth, with analysts forecasting a CAGR of 43.68% and 30.45% in terms of unit shipment and revenue, respectively during 2016-2022. These speakers, like the Alexa, use artificial intelligence (AI) to play music, find information, and control other connected devices in the house
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