Wearables Week In Review

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Week In Review

Razer expands wearables portfolio

After announcing a smart mask at CES, Razer has now added “smart” glasses to its product line. The new Anzu smart glasses have speakers embedded in the arms, and offers touch controls via a panel on the side. This allows you to manage music playback, accept and reject calls, activate your phone’s assistant and turn on “gaming mode” (of course, based on Razor’s heritage). The device comes in both round and rectangular shapes and includes blue filter lenses for all that screen time.

The NPD Take:

  • We consider this type of devices – as well as Amazon’s Echo Frames – an incremental step towards truly “smart” glasses. Music playback, etc., is hardly a new concept (Oakley and Motorola developed a similar product nearly 15 years ago) and “true” smart glasses will include a display capability in the lens. Having said that, we do expect these devices to gain a loyal following.

Bionic hearing

Alphabet’s moonshot team is reportedly working on a wearable device that can augment your hearing, allowing the wearer to isolate a specific voice in a crowed room. The project – Wolverine – is, according to a report from Insider is still some way from being complete as the current prototypes cover the entire ear (due to the number of microphones in use). But we can expect the concept to evolve rapidly. Indeed, Whisper, a start-up company, launched a similar concept late last year, focused on the hearing aid market. Both products use AI to learn and adjust to different hearing situations such as a noisy location or watching TV.

The NPD Take:

  • In some ways, these devices offer some of the greatest potential in the wearables market as they address a “real” need (poor hearing) rather than trying to convince consumers of a potential need that no one previously realized they required. With most of the consumer base now adopting true wireless devices, the added benefit of a device that can improve hearing, as well as supporting music and smart assistants, could have strong market potential.
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