Vuzix targets mass market with new Blade AR glasses

Isaac Cain
January 10, 2018

Amazon is set to use CES 2018 to deliver commercial grade augmented-reality glasses with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant built in.

One of the most intriguing products to watch with Alexa will be the Vuzix Blade AR Smart Glasses that just might give life to a smart-glasses product category that -with Google Glass - garnered attention a few years back but has failed to get anywhere with consumers.

Vuzix also targets enterprise and industrial users for the glasses, promising a simple, comfortable form factor that can also accommodate prescription glasses.

We'll see Vuzix's AR glasses with Alexa support before the summer of 2018, at a price point around $1,000 Dollars. The company aims to bring the price down to under Dollars 500 by 2019.

Executives from Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant will be seeking new partners and other big technology companies, including Apple and Facebook Inc.'s Oculus division, will be at the show behind the scenes as they ramp up their virtual-reality and augmented-reality products.

Wearers, who must be Amazon customers or become Amazon customers to enable Alexa's capabilities, could for example ask the digital assistant to pull up a map or display sports scores on the glasses.

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But they contain a decent amount of tech that connects to a wearer's phone and effectively provides a wearable head-up display, a built-in camera, microphone and side-mounted touchpad to make the glasses a "smart" device.

"With the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit, [original equipment manufacturer] development teams no longer need to perform the bulk of the coding for their Alexa integration", Amazon's Gagan Luthra explained in the announcement.

To use the features of Vuzix's AR glasses, Amazon says owners should be an Amazon subscriber first. Hence, by the time Apple releases its AR glasses, Alexa-enabled glasses could have already established a market just like what happened to the Echo series and Apple's upcoming HomePod.

Depending on their quality, availability and price, these AR products could haunt, which has planned its own smart speaker and is working on augmented reality glasses.

A pair of Amazon Alexa-enabled digital glasses is debuting at CES this week.

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