An upgraded model of its Echo Frames smart glasses has been announced by US-based tech giant Amazon, featuring improved sound quality, longer battery life and new colors.
Along with the upgrade announcement, Amazon informed the discontinuation of its smart ring – the Echo Loop Ring. Both Echo Frames and Echo Loop Ring were launched at the company’s hardware event last year and are part of Amazon’s new program called ‘Day 1 Editions.’ This is an initiative designed to introduce products for testing and seek customer feedback.
But now, the company is shifting the Alexa-equipped glasses to a full-fledged product and the updated Echo Frames will now be available for anyone to purchase.
It will cost $249.99 to own the second-generation Echo Frames, which is a $70 price increase over the original models, which sold for $179.99. However, existing owners of Day 1 edition Echo Frames will be able to upgrade their pair for $70 to the latest model.
The new Echo Frames are designed, like the original model, to offer a simple, discreet way to use Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant during your daily outings. The new versions look very similar to the old pair with a design that looks more or less like a normal pair of thick-framed glasses, except with thicker-than-usual stems on the sides, since that’s where all the hardware is.
The latest model introduces two new colors, with blue and tortoiseshell options, along with the regular black. Amazon is now working with optical companies to make it even easier to get lenses on smart glasses for customers who use prescription lenses.
The glasses themselves function somewhere between a smart accessory and a pair of Bluetooth headphones. You’re able to pair them to an iOS or Android phone using the microphone and speaker to connect to the Alexa app and take advantage of Amazon’s smart assistant features, similar to the Echo Buds. But you’ll also be able to use them for standard Bluetooth “headphone” tasks, like listening to music and using your device’s own assistant (like Siri or Google Assistant).
The latest Echo Frames are now available for preorder on Amazon, ahead of its release on December 10th.
Although the company will stop the Echo Loop ring’s production and sales, it promises that it will continue to provide “updates and support” for current customers, at least for now.