• Market Crumbs

Amazon Unveils Update To Alexa-Powered Glasses


Image via Amazon

Just a few days after introducing Amazon Pharmacy, where consumers can get their prescription medicines delivered to their front door, Amazon made a much more interesting product announcement yesterday.


Amazon announced an upgraded model of its Alexa-powered glasses called the Echo Frames. Amazon also announced the Echo Frames would graduate from a "Day 1 Edition" used for testing and feedback to a product now available to everyone.


Amazon says the new Echo Frames have better audio quality, a 40% longer battery life and new colors. The glasses include a VIP Filter, which allows users to set which apps and contacts they want to receive notifications from.


The glasses cost $249.99 and will begin shipping on December 10. Customers who have the Day 1 Edition Echo Frames will be able to purchase the second-generation glasses for just $70.


"Nestled in the temples, open-ear audio directs sound toward your ears, so you can ask Alexa to make a phone call, listen to music, control your smart home, hear notifications, and more—all while keeping your ears uncovered," wrote Amazon's Director of Echo Frames Jean Wang. "It's the best of both worlds—personal audio with the magic of Alexa when you want it, while still being able to tune in to the world around you."


Echo Frames are shipped with non-corrective lenses and are compatible with most prescription lenses. Amazon says the glasses can be replaced with prescription lenses at any LensCrafters location or eyewear professional.


Amazon also announced another Day 1 Editions product—the Echo Loop, will not advance beyond the Day 1 Editions program. The Echo Loop, which is an Alexa-powered smart ring, was introduced last year alongside the Echo Frames as the first products in the program.


"With Echo Frames generally available, we have also decided that Echo Loop will not advance beyond the Day 1 Editions program, with production and sales ending," Wang wrote. "We learned a lot about how customers want to use Alexa for short, snackable content throughout the day, and we will take that with us as we continue to invent new customer experiences."


Amazon will continue to provide support and updates for the Echo Loop, enabling customers to continue to use it as they currently do.


With the market for smart glasses paling in comparison to other smart devices such as phones or home speakers, Amazon was encouraged with what it saw in testing and is confident in making the Echo Frames available to everyone.


Leftover Crumbs

  • Nasdaq to acquire Verafin. Nasdaq announced it has agreed to acquire anti-financial crime management solution provider Verafin for $2.75 billion in cash. According to the United Nations, $2 trillion in laundered money moves through the global financial system annually. "The intelligent technology solutions Verafin has created are second-to-none, and that is evident in the company's extraordinary growth and stellar client retention," Nasdaq president and CEO Adena Friedman said. "Together with Verafin's founders and employees, we look forward to building Nasdaq into a global leader in anti-financial crime management solutions."

  • Starbucks gives employees a raise. Starbucks announced all of its employees in the U.S. will receive at least a 10% raise effective December 14. Employees who have been with Starbucks for at least three years will receive an 11% raise. "For nearly 50 years, Starbucks has been a leader in providing relevant, industry-leading benefits and a total compensation approach that is best-in-class for both part and full-time employees," a Starbucks representative told Nation's Restaurant News.

  • GM ups EV bet. General Motors is increasing its spending on all-electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025 to $27 billion from $20 billion previously announced in March. GM is slated to release 30 new EVs across the globe by 2025. "We want to lead in this space. We don't just want to participate, we want to lead," GM executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain Doug Parks said. "Tesla's got a good jump and they've done great things. They're formidable competitors … and there's a lot of start-ups and everyone else invading this space. We're not going to subside leadership there."

  • Consumer Reports doesn't recommend a Tesla. Consumer Reports has removed the Tesla models S and Y from its list of "recommended" vehicles. Consumer Reports cited issues with air suspension and the main computer and touchscreen controls in the Model S and issues with the body hardware and paint on the Model Y. In its updated list of top rated car brands for 2021, Consumer Reports now has Tesla in the 25th spot out of 26 manufacturers.

  • Pizza Hut offers pan pizza blanket. Pizza Hut quickly sold out of a limited edition 72 inch Gravity Blanket that looks like a pan pizza. The Original Pan Weighted Blanket was on sale for $150, which was 25% cheaper than similar blankets from Gravity. "There's no better way to close out 2020 than eating a Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza while wrapped in the warmth and comfort of the Original Pan Weighted Blanket," Pizza Hut chief marketing officer George Felix said.