Amazon’s smart glasses are getting their first significant update in more than two years, the company announced during its annual fall event on Wednesday. The latest version of the Echo Frames will ship with a longer battery life and redesigned audio experience, along with several new colors and styles.
The new Echo Frames can squeeze up to six hours of media playback on one charge. They also come in seven new styles for both glasses and sunglasses, including two new looks from eyewear maker Carrera (the Carrera styles will be sold as “Carrera Smart Glasses.”) In addition to the new frames, people can opt for sunglasses, prescription lenses or blue-light lenses. All versions are IPX4 water resistant and scratch resistant.
The frames should also be noticeably less bulky than the previous generation of smart glasses. Amazon moved much of the internal wiring from the front of the glasses to the temples, resulting in a set of frames that's 15 percent slimmer. That improvement could help the Echo Frames look and feel a bit more like typical glasses than a tech-infused wearable.
The Alexa-enabled glasses will also come with better audio than their predecessors. Amazon says the new frames have “more balanced sound, better audio clarity, and less distortion,” thank to a new speaker driver and "open-ear audio architecture." The glasses also come with better onboard speech processing so the glasses can more reliably detect the wake word in varied conditions, like wind and noisy rooms.
The new frames come with other software upgrades as well. The new Echo Frames support pairing of up to two devices, so wearers can more easily switch between multiple audio sources, like a phone and a laptop. There's also a new notification-filtering ability called VIP Filter, that prioritizes only the most "important" alerts. Echo Frames owners will also have the ability to more easily find a lost pair of glasses, thanks to Alexa by asking the assistant to “find my smart glasses.”
The new Echo Frames start at $270, the Carrera Smart Glasses will cost $390. The company didn’t say when they would go on sale, but those interested in getting their hands on a pair can sign up for notifications about pre-orders.
Amazon Echo Frames (3rd gen)
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