Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) Alexa software is going where no other voice assistant has gone before: Your glasses.
The internet giant is partnering with wearables maker Vuzix Corp. (VUZI) to release a pair of augmented-reality smartglasses that respond to commands from Alexa. The glasses will be debuted at at CES 2018 next week, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
While the glasses will be on display at CES, Vuzix said they won't become available until the fiscal second quarter. The $1,000 glasses are targeted to enterprise and "prosumer users," the company said. The glasses, dubbed the Vuzix Blade, can display certain information, like maps or sports scores, via voice command through Alexa. The Vuzix Blade can also receive phone calls and have a built-in camera, microphone and touchpad mounted to on the side of the glasses.
Consumers have to be Amazon customers in order to use the Alexa function while wearing the Vuzix glasses, Bloomberg noted.
Vuzix, founded in 1997, has been building smartglasses and other wearables over the past several years, forging enterprise partnerships with companies like Airbus, DHL and HP (HPQ) , among others. Vuzix's prior smartglasses models have looked similar to Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL) now failed wearable, Google Glass.
Following the announcement, shares of Vuzix climbed 18.6% to $7.65 on Friday, while Amazon's stock rose 1.6% to $1,229.14.
Last year, several reports indicated that Amazon was considering releasing some kind of wearable device, such as smartglasses, that would respond to Alexa voice commands. Other Silicon Valley giants are expected to enter the wearables market, including Apple Inc. (AAPL) , while Facebook Inc.'s (FB) Oculus has already released several virtual reality headsets. Alphabet was one of the first to explore the smart eyeglass market, releasing the Google Glass in 2012.
In time, Amazon may release their own goggles or smart glasses, said Patrick Moorhead, president of tech research firm Moor Insights & Strategy.
"Amazon likely has one in the labs," Moorhead explained. "Voice, like Alexa, is a good user interface for goggles vs. hand gestures, particularly given the use cases Vuzix is targeting."
Vuzix primarily works in the business-to-business sector, Moorhead said, so if Amazon decides to release its own glasses, they'd likely be targeted to consumers, not businesses.
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