Amazon has announced an upgraded model of its Echo Frames smart glasses, adding better sound quality, longer battery life, and new colors. Furthermore, the new Echo Frames are now available for anyone to buy, as the company transitions the Alexa-equipped glasses from a “Day One Edition” invitation-only device to a full-fledged product.
The second-generation Echo Frames will cost $249.99 — a $70 price increase over the original models, which sold for $179.99. (Existing Day One Edition Echo Frames customers will be able to upgrade their pair to the new model for $70, however.)
Amazon Echo Frames preview: trying on the Alexa smart glasses
Like the original model, the new Echo Frames are designed to offer a simple, discreet way to use Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant during your everyday outings. Visually, the new models look pretty similar to the old pair, with a design that looks more or less like a regular pair of thick-framed glasses, albeit with thicker-than-usual stems on the side (where all of the hardware is). The new model adds two new colors to the standard black, with blue and tortoiseshell options. Amazon is also partnering with LensCrafters to make it even easier for customers who use prescription lenses to get lenses on the smart glasses (although it also offers a guide for any optician).
The glasses themselves function somewhere between a smart accessory and a pair of strange Bluetooth headphones. You’re able to pair them to an iOS or Android phone using the microphone and speaker to connect to the Alexa app and take advantage of Amazon’s smart assistant features, similar to the Echo Buds. But you’ll also be able to use them for standard Bluetooth “headphone” tasks, like listening to music and using your device’s own assistant (like Siri or Google Assistant).
While Amazon is elevating the Echo Frames to “real” product status, the company also announced that its other Day One wearable device — the Amazon Echo Loop ring — won’t continue. While the company will stop production and sales of the Echo Loop ring, it does promise that it’ll continue to offer “updates and support” for existing customers, at least for now.
The new Echo Frames are available to preorder now, ahead of a December 10th release.