Today, at Amazon’s 2019 product event, the company launched a boatload of new Alexa-enabled Echo products, two of which you’ll be wearing 24/7.
While the new Echo Buds are a wearable response to Apple AirPods, Amazon has gotten even more ambitious with its wearables. The company also introduced a ring and pair of glass frames, both of which have Alexa built in.
These two new products are part of Amazon’s Day 1 Editions program, which aims to put new, ambitious products on the market quickly. The products will be available to customers through invitation only, and Amazon will seek feedback from users. This blends the line between customer and tester.
Echo Loop is Alexa for your fingers
The Echo Loop is Amazon’s smart ring. It has a titanium frame that houses two microphones, a tiny speaker, and a piezo haptic driver to provide vibrations.
Given all the hardware pack inside, Amazon plans for it to be a highly capable device and not just an Alexa trigger. A small button on the bottom of the Echo Loop activates it, so it can be used to interact with Alexa. But, you can also use it for phone calls and to receive notifications from your phone. The ring will have an all-day battery life and charge fully in 90 minutes.
That’s all well and good, but a simple button on a ring may prove to be the ultimate tool for placing accidental phone calls. And, that’s only if it works. In the on-stage demonstration, the button failed to work.
The Echo Loop will cost $129 (no international pricing has been announced yet) and will come in four sizes. But, that is a special price for the invitation period.
Echo Frames adds Alexa to your glasses
The Echo Frames are similar in idea but different in form: They, too, will have speakers and microphones built in, allowing you to interact with Alexa as usual.
They also can discreetly play podcasts, deliver phone notifications and more using beam-forming speakers. A touch-sensitive section on the frame near your temple activates the glasses.
The Echo Frames weigh 31 grams, and they can fit prescription lenses. They’ll cost $179 during the invitation period, but again, no international pricing has been announced.
The good/bad news? Despite being considered ‘smart glasses’ they won’t have any cameras to draw out the ire of your fellow humans like Google Glass did.