Amazon is said to be developing a pair of smart glasses. Unlike the controversial Google Glass, they won’t involve cameras or screens and instead will simply be another way to use the Alexa personal assistant.
The idea seems to be to make it easier to use Alexa on a smartphone without needing to dig the phone out of your pocket. The glasses would have a built-in microphone but rather than having a speaker, they use bone conduction, sending vibrations through your facial bones into the inner ear.
As far as production goes, such glasses should be much cheaper and quicker to develop than more sophisticated gadgets like Google Glass, with longer battery life to boot.
It does feel a little as if Amazon is trying to find ways to solve a technical problem rather than meet an actual consumer need. As with Google Glass, you’re inherently ruling out purchases from anyone who doesn’t want to wear otherwise-useless spectacles, along with the sizable proportion of the population who already wear prescription glasses.
One possible use would be for cyclists to interact with a phone. While it’s certainly a worse situation than simply not using a device while cycling, using bone conduction can make it much easier to still hear ambient noise than when using traditional headphones.
The most likely explanation is that Amazon is simply trying out a relatively cheap way to discover if there really is demand for new ways to interact with Alexa when away from home.