Vuzix Making Alexa-Enabled Smart Glasses, to Debut at CES 2018


The Drive reached out to Toyota regarding which cars will receive Alexa integration first, the possibility of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-equipped Toyotas, and recommendations for drivers less than thrilled with the idea of an always-on microphone embedded in their new vehicle.

A local company is showing off new technology that could eventually help you get additional uses out of your Amazon Alexa app. The mixed reception has taught startups and manufacturers what pitfalls to avoid and how to make a smart glasses product that has the potential to be both mainstream and useful for productivity fans.

AR hardware company Vuzix designed a pair of smart sunglasses that are compatible with Amazon's Alexa. Current users won't be missing out on Alexa, as they have promised that Alexa will be made available on select devices through updates. In theory, introducing Alexa to the Windows 10 environment presents an element of competition - consumers could opt to use Amazon's service over Microsoft's own. Amazon would generate revenue from its Alexa service, while Vuzix's smart glasses would easily appeal to the smart assistant's following.

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The augmented reality glasses with Alexa from Vuzix is expected to be unveiled for a quick experience during the CES 2018.

Michael Dobbs, a vice president at 360i, believes one reason Amazon continues to dominate smart-speaker sales despite Alexa's relatively poor technical performance is because of the company's two-year head start. Three separate reports in 2017 placed Amazon's U.S. market share of smart speakers between 70% and 76%. While it's a "high price point", he said, "the ultimate goal is to have it under $500, and we'll be able to do that" by 2019.

In the future, however, Dobbs thinks Amazon's first-to-market advantage will fade and the gap between the Echo and Google Home will close.