Echo Frames and Echo Loop: Amazon’s First Set of Alexa Wearables
Amazon’s annual hardware extravaganza has just wrapped up in Seattle where the company announced 15 new products including the Echo Buds truly wireless earphones. Alongside the Echo Buds, Amazon also announced two new wearable products – the Echo Frames and the Echo Loop, which are part of the Day 1 edition program designed to bring innovative ideas to customers faster.
Echo Frames, as the name suggests, is a pair of all-day glasses with hands-free access to Alexa. These are prescription-ready glasses with Alexa support and you can just ask to make phone calls, set a reminder to pick up the dry cleaning when you leave work, add call the mechanic to your to-do list, listen to your favorite podcast, or control compatible smart home devices. With the VIP filter, you can control and hear only the notifications which matter the most. When an alert comes through, simply swipe on the temple to listen.
Echo Frames is designed to look like normal glasses and doesn’t have any cameras or displays. At 31g, it’s pretty light for what it packs. The frames have four beamforming micro speakers that use Amazon open-ear audio technology to direct sound towards your ears while minimizing the sound heard by those around you.
Interestingly, Amazon is letting users access Google Assistant with Echo Frames in addition to Alexa by simply long-pressing on the temple. One can also turn off the microphones by tapping the temple if required.
This is a new Alexa-enabled smart ring aimed to make you stay on top of your day. Echo Loop can be used for short phone calls — just set a top contact and double click the action button to give them a call. When done speaking to Alexa or the person on the other end of the call, hold Echo Loop up to your ear to hear your phone call or Alexa’s response.
Echo Loop has two microphones and a small speaker, and a piezo haptic that vibrates discreetly when you receive notifications or an incoming call, or to signal the button has been pressed and Alexa is streaming your request to the cloud. Echo Loop can last for an entire day of use with one charge, and the included charging cradle recharges it completely in 90 minutes. Echo Loop is scratch-resistant and water-resistant—meaning it can handle hand-washing and splashing. It connects to Alexa through the Alexa app on your smartphone and uses your existing device’s data plan.
Like the Echo Frames, the Echo Loop can be used to access your phone’s native voice services — Siri or Google Assistant by just pressing and holding the action button for one second. Echo Loop will be available in a black titanium finish and comes in a range of sizes – S, M, L, and XL.
While the Echo Frames looks and feels natural, it will be interesting to see how people would accept the Echo Loop.
Price and Availability
Being part of the Day 1 edition program, the Echo Frames and Echo Loop are invitation-only. They are available for pre-order starting today and will start shipping later this year. You can request an invitation starting today for Echo Loop and Echo Frames, the first two Day 1 Edition programs. Customers who are selected will start receiving invites later this year.
The Echo Frames is priced at $179.99 and the Echo Loop is priced at $129.99. Both are US-only and no plans to be sold outside anytime soon.