These earbuds had been among a handful of latest devices Amazon introduced only a few hours earlier on Wednesday through the company’s annual product launch event. While there were the standard updates to the Echo speaker line, this year introduced with it a new crop of on-the-go Alexa gear. These devices will allow Amazon’s voice assistant to stop being such a homebody and travel well past your front doors.
And so, that’s what exactly Amazon did, revealing the $130 Echo Buds wireless earbuds, the $180 Echo Frames smart glasses and the $130 Echo Loop ring. Added to that, Amazon includes General Motors as a brand new automotive partner, becoming a member of carmakers together with Ford and Toyota permitting it to combine Alexa into GMC, Cadillac and Chevrolet vehicles beginning next year.
The Buds will begin shipping in time for the holidays, while Loop and Frames shall be available by invite only as Amazon tests them under an experimental hardware program known as Day 1 Edition, which was additionally launched Wednesday. (Here’s the Echo Frames and Echo Buds fine print.)
The new devices represent the following significant step in Alexa’s development, going from a voice assistant that manages your smart home to a voice assistant that manages your life. It will allow Amazon to bring Alexa into more places than ever before and permit customers to maintain Alexa with them, if they want, at all times in their ears, on their faces or around their fingers.
The announcements build on work Amazon has been doing for the previous few years to break Alexa out of the home. Like Siri, Samsung’s Bixby and Google Assistant, Alexa is already available via the Alexa app on people’s phones. Amazon also began bringing Alexa into other businesses and hotels to provide people an opportunity to speak to the voice assistant while away from home. It introduced Alexa into cars using the Echo Auto device, in addition to partnerships with automakers. Amazon had previously sold the Amazon Tap, an Alexa-enabled mobile Bluetooth speaker; however, it was discontinued.