Amazon announced a lot of devices this week, includingmore and new . But the new smart glasses ($ 1
These portable devices place Amazon & # 39; s digital Alexa assistant on your body in a way that is different from the more anticipated(although there are also for $ 130 or $ 130 (£ 120). By bringing Alexa Amazon may be trying to become more personal with the small voice in the device.
The Echo Frames and Echo Loop raise many questions about what they do, who they are, what kind of customization options there are and even how to buy them – it's not as easy as entering a store or adding them to your shopping cart on Amazon. This is what we know so far and what we don't know.
Why did Amazon make the Echo Loop and Echo Frames?
Wearables are a potentially huge technology sector, but so far only smartwatches and fitness trackers have really got off the ground. Several companies, in particular Google and even Amazon itself, have already brought smart glasses to the market (think), but they have hardly been mainstream.
With $ 180 and $ 130 respectively, the Echo Frames and Echo Loop offer you the ability to take Alexa and his extensive collection of skills with you everywhere, at a relatively cheap price. If successful, the new devices can increase Amazon & # 39; s influence outdoors, something that Google was able to do in phones with Google Assistant, but that Amazon has not yet achieved.
This is what the Echo Frames do
The Echo Frames are a pair of connected glasses that you can use to pronounce commands and hear Alexa's answers, hands-free. You can also use them to listen to audio streams. Imagine walking with full hands on the street and asking Alexa to turn on the air conditioning at home or play a podcast for you.
With 1.1 grams (31 grams), the Echo Frames are no heavier than regular glasses, although the temple pieces appear wider than average.
You can control some functions by swiping the earphones. Microphones, which can be turned off by double-tapping an action button on the temple, listening to commands, and then four beam-forming speakers directed at your ears let you – and only you – hear the reaction of Alexa.
The Echo Frames currently only works with Android phones
Amazon also uses the Echo Frames as an accessory for your Android phone, so you can hear warnings and communicate with Google Assistant through your glasses. The Echo Frames have a VIP filter setting, with which you can choose what kind of notifications you want to pass on, so that you don't get every last thing, bing and chirp in your ears.
Echo Frames currently lacks iOS support and Amazon is keeping its mouth open whether or not they will work with iPhones in the future ($ 699 for Amazon) .
You can use prescription lenses in the Echo Frames
During the launch presentation, Dave Limp, senior vice president of devices and services from Amazon, noted that his demonstration pair was equipped with his prescription lenses.
According to Amazon, your optometrist will be able to fit lenses to your Echo Frames and adjust their fit, just like any other prescription glasses. Amazon even has a printable card with information to help your eye doctor.
If you have visual insurance with coverage outside the network, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Amazon has more information about reimbursements on its website.
The Echo Frames do not have a head-up display
Unlike Google Glass, the Echo Frames do not function as a personal HUD. That is, they do not project information such as turn-by-turn navigation or AR interlays on the world around you on the lenses in front of your eyes. They are only there to pair with your phone and talk to Alexa.
This is what the Echo Loop is all about
The Echo Loop is the first smart ring with Alexa. It has an action button that you use to activate the device with one click, two microphones to listen to your commands and an almost microscopic speaker for answers. The ring also has a vibrating haptic engine for notifications. There is no display, but you can follow notifications and the rest via a corresponding smartphone app.
The Echo Loop connects to your phone's Alexa app via Bluetooth and uses your existing data plan. Unlike Frames, Loop is compatible with both Android phones and iPhones. You can call up Google Assistant or Siri by long pressing the action button of the Loop.
The Echo Loop is water resistant
Amazon says it is water resistant and that you can safely wash your hands while the Loop is on. "However, showering and swimming are not recommended."
The Echo Frames and Loop will call
Both the Frames and the Loop allow you to call anyone in your contacts, and with the Loop you can program one (and only one) speed dial number that you call by double-clicking the action button.
When calling on the loop, your ring finger is clumsily shaken between your ear to listen and your mouth to talk, which is probably why Amazon says they are only good for & # 39; short & # 39; phone calls.
The Echo Frames and Loop do not have any cameras.
Neither the Echo Frames nor Echo Loop have a camera on anything, so you do not have to worry about people taking photos or videos. ; s make you.
You need Amazon chargers to charge the Frames and Loop
The Frames fully charge in about 75 minutes via a proprietary USB to four-pin connector. Amazon says that Frames & # 39; all day & # 39; should last when fully charged with & # 39; intermittent use & # 39 ;, which Amazon defines as 40 Alexa interactions, 45 minutes of audio playback, 20 minutes of phone calls and 90 notifications over a 14-hour period at 60% volume. If binge listening is something for you, Amazon expects you to get about 3 hours of continuous audio playback at 60% volume.
Amazon says that Echo Loop takes 90 minutes to charge on the corresponding charging standard and that a full charge should last a full day of "intermittent use", and notes that the battery life varies per user.
Here's how the devices listen to you
Because you call Alexa on the Echo Loop by pressing a button, he only listens when you say it.
However, Echo Frames work around the same other Amazon Echo ($ 70 with Amazon) devices, in the sense that Alexa always listens to the wake word (usually "Alexa" but can also be set to " Computer ", http://www.cnet.com /" Echo "or" Amazon "). Once activated, Frames start recording your voice and then send that audio to Amazon servers, where it is processed into a command that is sent back to Frames.
How to Know When Frames or Loop Are Recording
When Alexa is activated on Echo Frames, you hear a bell and see a small blue status light in the Frames indicating that Alexa is listening.
Alexa on Echo Loop is activated by pressing a button. There is no outward indication beyond that point that Alexa is listening.
What we know about saving copies of those recordings by Amazon
As with other Amazon Echo devices, Amazon saves all your interactions with Alexa, including audio recordings. According to Amazon, "a tiny fraction of voice recordings is reviewed manually," which means that people sometimes listen to it for product development.
In an era of increasing consumer privacy controversies Amazon has tried to stay ahead of customer concerns by creating a portal for Alexa users to determine how their personal information is collected, stored and used. There you can choose not to let Amazon collect or check your data, or you can set recordings to be deleted automatically after three or 18 months.
You must request an invitation to purchase the Echo Frames and Loop
Amazon has not shared all details, such as shipping dates or holiday availability, but we do know that you need an invitation that you can ask for the Echo here Frames and the Echo Loop. (This is also how the company manages the rollout of its Amazon Echo Auto device for cars.)
After you have received your e-mail invitation, you will receive a code that is valid for 30 days and that you need to complete your order with Amazon. We also know that the Echo Frames and Echo Loop will be sold in limited quantities.
Here is how to know if they fit.
At this moment the Echo Frames are only available in one color – black with turtle tips – and one size: 54 by 18 by 145 mm. Amazon has a handy little pop-up on the Echo Frames product page to help customers determine if Frames fit their faces.
The Echo Loop comes in just one finish – black titanium – and four size options: small, medium, large and extra large. Those sizes correspond to 9, 10, 11 and 12 in ring size respectively. Even if you know your ring size, Amazon still recommends ordering a free "fit kit" to ensure the right fit after an invitation to buy the Loop. Amazon keeps your place in line while sending you a set of four dummy rings to fit.
You could expect more devices like this
Part of the reason for the invitation system is that the wearables fall into a new class of products that Amazon Day 1 Editions calls. These are finished products, but with limited availability. These will not be generally available in stores. However, Amazon emphasized that these are not beta releases, but fully developed, ready-to-use gadgets.
Follow other Amazon announcements, including a newa and the designed in collaboration with Bose. It unveiled a and debuted a . Here is the as well as all new .
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