Amazon is planning to release a pair of Alexa-enabled smartglasses as the latest addition to its range of voice-controlled devices, according to reports.
Unlike most previous smartglasses, such as the ill-fated Google Glass experiment and Snapchat’s Spectacles, the Amazon glasses won’t feature a camera in any form, bypassing the privacy concerns that have plagued the form-factor in the past.
Instead, they will focus on providing a link to Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled personal assistant, through a bone-conduction audio system, which transmits sounds into the wearer’s head by vibrating their skull, rather than through headphones inserted in their ear.
According to a report by the Financial Times, the glasses could be revealed at a product launch event expected to be held soon alongside a home security camera, designed to tie in with its Echo Show video screen. Other reports have suggested the company will shortly release a new version of the Fire TV, its streaming media set-top box, with an Echo-style speaker system built-in.
The leaks paint a picture of a company doubling down on its biggest tech success since the launch of the Kindle. The Amazon Echo now has a 76% share of the smart speaker market in the US, according to research firm CIRP, with 15m units in consumer’s homes. Google Home comes a distant second, with the remaining 24% of the market.
“Owners listen to music most on both Echo and Home, at least once a day or more often,” said Mike Levin, CIRPs co-founder. “They also use them frequently for information, like asking about the weather or sports scores, as well as setting timers and alarms.