28 Oct 2018
These Alexa-powered smartglasses look normal, unlike Google Glasses
If you thought smart glasses couldn't be fancier, it is time to think again.
North, an Amazon-backed start-up, is bringing eyewear that looks normal (a little trendy, if you may) and does everything one expects from a smart set of eyeglasses.
Called Focals, these smart glasses come with built-in support for Alexa and will be hitting the shelves starting December.
They will be priced at $1,000.
Everything right on, in front of your eyes
Focals use a hidden holographic display to bring information ranging from texts and call alerts to reminders and weather updates right in front of your eyes.
The content shows up in a summarized form on the lens, keeping the wearer connected all the time.
In fact, they can even use Focals' voice-to-text capabilities to send immediate replies to a text message.
Alexa integration, turn-by-turn navigation
Apart from showcasing information in the line of sight, Focals offer built-in Alexa integration.
This way, you can call Alexa anytime to play music, hear news and weather updates, or control smart home appliances.
Also, with Focals' GPS capabilities, the wearer can book an Uber cab or get turn-by-turn directions to navigate accurately from one point to another.
How the whole thing is controlled?
Normally, one would expect touch or some sort of button-based control for a device like this.
But here, Focals are controlled with a 'Loop', which is a ring with a tiny four-way joystick.
It can be used to navigate options on the eyeglasses, and clicked to select them.
So, technically, you'd be using the smart eyeglasses, replying to texts, without actually lifting a finger.
Also, these glasses won't record what you see
North has not given a camera on Focals, which means you can rest assured that the device won't record anything that you see.
This is a major upgrade over Google Glass, which came with a 5MP shooter.
Yes, there is a microphone on the product, but North says it will be activated only when the user turns it on.
When these glasses will be available?
With a normal-looking design, North seems to be moving in the right direction with Focals.
However, the device won't come cheap, at least not anytime soon.
It has been priced at $1,000, which is nearly Rs. 75,000 in India.
There's also no word on India availability, but interested individuals in the US and Canada can visit the company's stores or reserve one online.
Focals will work with prescription or clear lenses
Custom-made for every buyer, Focals will work with prescription or clear glasses. They'll work with Android and iOS devices and will also come with a case for automatic charging.