Amazon will put Alexa into a new pair of smart glasses, allowing users to summon and interact with the virtual assistant at any time, according to a report overnight by the Financial Times, citing anonymous people familiar with the company’s plans.
The device is designed to look like regular glasses, connecting wirelessly to a smartphone and delivering audio via bone induction to eliminate the need for earbuds or headphones, the report says. Amazon could launch the product by the end of the year, according to the newspaper.
With the new smart glasses, Amazon could be learning lessons from Google Glass, the search giant’s ill-fated foray into smart glasses. Babak Parviz, founder of Google Glass and affiliate professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, has worked at Amazon as a vice president for the past three years.
The smart glasses would the latest expansion of Alexa beyond its Echo smart speakers. Amazon’s virtual assistant doesn’t have the advantage of its own first-party smartphone, after the Fire Phone flop, but the company has been extending Alexa into its own Fire tablets and into third-party devices such as GE’s new Sol lamp.
Amazon has shown interest in smart glasses in the past, filing a patent application several years ago for an augmented reality glasses system. The Financial Times notes that the new smart glasses “also could provide a platform for Amazon to move into the emerging market for ‘augmented reality’ goggles.”
According to the report, the company is also working on a new home security camera system connected to its Echo lineup. Earlier reports indicated that the touch-screen Echo Show was originally designed to be part of a home security system, and it already works with third-party home security cameras.
We’ve contacted Amazon for comment on the report.