Vuzix, makers of various smartglasses and Bloomberg broke the news ahead of CES, but I got to wear the glasses in Las Vegas. Smartglasses, in general, were all over the crowded convention halls. Gadget makers .-like head wearables for years, are now making smart eyewear compatible with Amazon's Alexa.
It won't be last wearable to connect with Alexa. Amazon has justfor watches, headphones and more to work with Alexa. It's possible that the Vuzix Blade is an example of what's to come.
The Vuzix Blade is a pair of sorta-sunglass-like glasses that project heads-up information on its lenses. The glasses also have a built-in camera, microphone and side-mounted touchpad. They pair with iPhones or Android phones in order to take calls and to funnel info to your eyes. The Blade will work with prescription lenses, too.
Alexa wasn't working when I tried Vuzix Blade (the place I demoed had bad Wi-Fi connectivity, according to Vuzix). Unfortunately, I don't know how good Alexa on smartglasses could be yet. But the glasses are pretty compact and comfortable.
The thick arms contain extra hardware and a side touchpad for navigation. But the Blade only has a display in one eye, just like Google Glass. It's a decently sized heads-up display, but don't confuse with AR tech that blends 3D images into the real world.
I pulled up a web browser, and played a little game in another app. Taking photos with it reminds me of Google Glass. In fact, a lot of the Blade reminds me of Google Glass (and Glass had a voice assistant, too). The biggest problem with wearing Glass, among other things, was getting used to having an odd headset on all day long that made me feel uncomfortable. Vuzix Blade looks more like normal glasses, but what are the odds that I'd prefer wearing them to a simple pair of earbuds?
Alexa could end up being a versatile partner for heads-up displays, and for those that need assistive wearable tech, it could be great news. But, at $1,000 a pair (roughly converting to £725 in the UK and AU$1,260 in Australia), these are hardly something you'll buy casually. Maybe in another few years. Maybe.
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